Apres Ski in Val Thorens
Val Thorens proudly boasts the highest après-ski in Europe and has a good selection of lively bars. The gastronomical gamut runs from pizza and pasta to award-winning haute cuisine.
Apres-Ski Bars in Val Thorens
Val Thorens proudly boasts the highest après-ski in Europe and has a good selection of lively bars. The Frog and Roastbeef has live bands and happy hour after skiing and the nearby Viking pub is a local favourite. Le Tango and the Ski Rock Cafe are also popular. The Red Fox specialises in afternoon karaoke and live music draws the late crowd to Malaysia.
There are lots of bars in the Croisette area of Les Menuires and a nightclub called New Pop. In Bruyeres the Taverne is a nice bar and there is also another club called Leeberty. Brewskis is the epicentre of all things après ski in St Martin.
Restaurants in Val Thorens
Le Blanchot is a good local restaurant in Val Thorens with a bumper wine cellar, specialising in local Savoie wines. For a more gastronomic treat try l’Oxalys restaurant where the chef has just won a distinguished award for “Young Chef of the Year”. The Fitz Roy Hotel and Bergarie restaurants are both higly recommended too. Try the Le Funitel and Le Scapin for pizza and pasta. El Gringo, a lively restaurant and bar, serves mexican food.
Val Thorens Village
Val Thorens is a compact, purpose-built resort with many smart modern buildings that maximise convenience whilst also trying to fit into their surroundings. Almost the entire resort is traffic-free and ski-in/ski-out. But at 2300m it can be a bleak place in a winter storm.
At the beginning of the 1960s the Belleville valley was still given over to agriculture. In 1967 the centre of the lower resort of Les Menuires was built, during the height of France’s crimes against alpine architecture, but many lessons had been learned by the time the attractively compact Val Thorens was added in 1973.
Val Thorens’ appearance is not universally liked, however. If you want traditional alpine charm, you’re in the wrong place and should head down the valley to St Martin de Belleville. Instead Val Thorens is proudly modern and purpose-built on a large scale. Many of the buildings have at least five storeys. If you rent a “chalet” in Val Thorens, it’s often just a part of a bigger complex. And yet somehow the overall effect works. The key components seem to be sloping roofs, snowy streets, plenty of wood cladding and making sure each building echoes the design of its neighbours to achieve a cohesive look.
But ultimately looks, even good looks, play a secondary role to convenience in Val Thorens. You don’t build a resort at 2300m for aesthetic reasons: you do it so almost every building can be ski-in/ski-out. In Val Thorens in the morning skiers and boarders don’t walk up to lifts but glide down to them on gentle slopes. (Some are rather too gentle and require a push or hop along a flat stretch at the end.) And those big buildings have their uses. Val Thorens is compact enough that you can walk or slide to almost anywhere in the resort you want to get to – something you could never say of Meribel or Val d’Isere, for instance. And the resort is almost entirely traffic-free. The five car parks are all sited around its edges or are underground (book your car parking at least a week before your arrival). For an extra price you can also have your car cleaned during your stay.
Val Thorens Other Activities
The range of other activities in Val Thorens has been improved and includes a sports centre in Val Thorens with new swimming pool, but apart from winter sports there’s not a great deal on offer for non-skiers.
Outside the immediate confines of the resort, there are several activities for those who like snow and mountains but don’t like skiing and boarding. The zip wire from Sommet des Pistes at the top of the Bouchet lift down to the Col de Thorens is great fun, as is the special sledging run for toboggans that comes down from the Funitel Peclet.
On a sunny day, taking the bubble then the cable car to Cime Caron enables even non-skiers to see one of the best views in the Alps. There is a bar and restaurant at the top if you think such beauty is best accompanied by food and drink. Non-skiers, novices and nervous intermediate skiers can avoid the black and red runs descents by riding the cable car down. determined non-skiers can then take the bubble from mid mountain all the way to the base station below Val Thorens, but the blue run alternative is very gentle and should be within the capability of most beginners after two or three days of lessons.
For those who prefer to let an engine do the work, there is ice driving, ice karting and skidoo riding after the pistes have closed. Ask at the tourist office for further details and times.
About five buses a day connect Val Thorens with Les Menuires and St Martin de Belleville. Les Menuires has more of the same type of activities as Val Thorens (swimming, indoor sports centre, wellness, sledging, skidoos etc) but there are some different ones as well such as cycling down the slopes on special fat bikes (“Roc ‘n’ Bike) or descending on a family-oriented bobseligh on rails (Speed Mountain).
The village atmosphere of St Martin offers a more cultural experience including some beautiful 17th century Baroque churches both in the village and along the road up the valley. Free concerts are held in Notre Dame de le Vie in St Martin. St Martin was also once the temporary home of the infamous Marquis de Sade and is allegedly the setting for his novel The 120 Days of Sodom, which some people might draw inspiration from.