Après ski is an opportunity to let your hair down and thoroughly enjoy yourself in the company of friends, loved ones and even complete strangers. It’s a time to unwind after all that physical and mental concentration on the slopes, to simply forget about everything else and experience the moment. Here are five venues in Val d’Isere where you can do just that. La Folie Douce “The La Folie Douce has been amazing (people) since 1980”, so they boast on their website. Hyperbole or fact? Well a little of both. I dare say they’ve had their off days, who hasn’t, but it is a fact that in Val d’Isere especially and in several other French ski resorts the La Folie Douce reputation is well earned. The La Folie Douce mission statement and core values are for originality, freedom and an undying thirst to “keep it real” with the aim of communicating their message, giving maximum pleasure, developing a lifestyle and sharing the experience. I can vouch for some of that. The La Folie Douce restaurant and bar on the slopes in Val d’Isere has a living backdrop of dancers, divas, DJ’s and fun-seekers of all ages and I’ve been swept up more than once in the intoxicating ambience. It’s a heady mix of high-quality cuisine and high-altitude clubbing. Well into their third decade the La Folie Douce brand is thriving and still going strong and now they plan to expand into the hotel industry. The first phase is well underway with an establishment in Chamonix that was opened in time for the start of the 2018/19 ski season. Cocorico Just beside the main lift in the town, Cocorico gets jammed packed very early and from start to finish its buzzing. Full to capacity with happy smiling people, young and old alike. The party is in the open air, so ski there and join the fun. Always a crush but always seems to be good spirited as people hassle for space. Dancing on tables seems to be essential and is encouraged. The legendary après sessions at Cocorico are not to be missed! They’ve got an even bigger and better outdoor terrace and bar for you to party on this winter, along with a huge sound system. A mixture of live music and Dj’s with lots of classic anthems that has everybody joining in. It’s a bonus that you are already back in town and can stay much longer without worrying about having to ski home with wobbly legs. Cocorico is open from 2pm until 8pm every day. Petit Danois A lively bar with great live music and professional DJs that works for any age group! You could find yourself going for one drink and ending up staying most of the night. I was there a couple of weeks ago when a great, if slightly inept duo were entertaining the crowd. Karen and Andreas had everyone dancing and singing along. I suppose you have to be in the mood but then that’s what après ski is all about. You get a toffee vodka shot with every drink, for free, and 2 for 1 drinks from 4pm to 5pm. The food was very good and the bar and restaurant staff were very friendly and helpful. It seems a really well run venue with a good team. I hear it is very lively after 11 with the younger crowd. A great vibe. As in my past posts, Trip Advisor raises it’s ugly head again. This place has had some shocking reviews. Seemingly a lot of people have taken issue with the curry. I honestly couldn’t complain though, I had a good time there but I swerved the curry, just in case. Bananas Great location, right next to the main ski lifts and on the edge of the nursery slopes at Bellevarde. Run by the ever-welcoming and super-friendly Ricky who is born and bred in Val d’Isere and also one of the best skiers there. A small and cosy bar but with some super-sunny seats outside on a small terrace. Bananas is made up of two separate bars – one for beer and one for spirits. A clever incentive, if ever I saw one, not to mix your drinks! There’s a great atmosphere inside, with a cocktail menu that champions pint-sized mixtures such as the Titanic, a lethal blend of curacao and vodka. Bananas is a massive hit with the locals and the ski bums, so book to avoid disappointment. It is also a great place for an après ski beer or an evening drink. The food is also a reason to stop by, with a fusion of Tex Mex and Indian dishes making up the mouthwatering menu. They also serve burgers and a range of other bar food and snacks. If you’re lucky enough to be in Val d’Isere, make sure you pop into Bananas. Bananas is one of the best places to come for an après-ski beer or three. The Blue Note Bar The Blue Note Bar is situated opposite the ESF Ski School on the snow front next to the Hotel Omelune. This hidden gem of a bar is a great place for après. Full of many seasonnaires and locals come down and enjoy The Blue Notes happy hour from 3pm – 6pm with beer and vin chaud on offer along with a delicious plate of homemade hummus, saucisson and olives, The Blue Notes’ famous nibbles! Lou and Matt have ran The Blue Note for many years and have made this bar very welcoming for all customers be it locals, seassonnaires or holiday makers. Their warm and friendly personalities are what make the bar. They serve a variety of drinks from beers, new ales, a selection of wines and spirits. They also do amazing alcoholic hot chocolates that are perfect after a big day up the mountain. In the evening The Blue Note is a great place to meet friends and enjoy a few drinks whilst listening to their jazz and funk playlist. There is also a pool table, table football and live sports on the TV to keep you entertained throughout the night. Danny Frith is Director at SkiBoutique. SkiBoutique is a luxury ski chalet agency based in Switzerland. 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