Ruined for après-ski after La Folie Douce opening party

18th December 2013, by Abi Butcher

La Folie Douce ADH opened on Saturday with DJ, live singers and cabaret dancers

La Folie Douce ADH opened on Saturday with DJ, live singers and cabaret dancers

Alpe d’Huez is never going to be the same again, and neither am I. Last weekend, La Folie Douce opened its fourth venue in the French Alps and quite frankly ruined me for any other après-ski.

I’ve partied with the best of them at the Mooserwirt and Krazy Kangaruh in St Anton, Farinet and Le Rouge in Verbier, Dick’s Tea Bar in Val d’Isère and Le Rond Point in Meribel (among others – detect a running theme here?), but until Saturday I had never experienced the unique après vibe of La Folie Douce.

Sitting atop the stunning Plat de Marmottes at 2,300m, this high-octane, open-air, high-altitude club was rammed on its opening day, Saturday 14 December. With a 3pm cabaret, followed by DJ until the lifts close at 4.30pm, this place is one of a kind. I shamelessly admit to dancing (in ski boots) on the stage, on tables and then (lucky me) in the VIP area until I could dance no more. I had to be dragged away.

Provence in the mountains: the gourmet La Fruitière. Photo: Laurent Salino

But it’s not all about the clubbing. A stage for the cabaret dancers and live singers separates the sun terrace with La Fruitière, the chain’s gourmet restaurant, with open-air and indoor seating, and a menu styled by double Michelin-starred French chef Christophe Aribert and produced under the direction of award-winning Yann Tanneau.

Prices for a three-course lunch start from around £36 (€43) and on Saturday we were treated to home-smoked trout with crème fraiche and homemade blinis, St Jacques scallops with creamed Jerusalem artichokes and parsnips, followed by a trio of desserts that included a mini lemon meringue pie and a divine chocolate mousse. God job then, that I danced it off. If you’re not in the market for a fine-dining experience, the self-service Le Nuvo Self offers snacks and meals of the same quality with lower prices — spag bol at €13, soup €8 and a charcuterie plate €12.

There was even an Alpe d’Huez fly-past. Photo: Laurent Salino

The fact that La Folie Douce pulled off their opening day with such aplomb is no mean feat — but if anyone else caught sight of the owner and manager running about with ear pieces, or knew that the cabaret dancers had been picked at a Paris casting from all over Europe before being trained for a month in a castle in France, they might have had some idea of what this team managed to orchestrate. And they pulled it off almost seamlessly. Slight delays in food delivery and a small women’s loo malfunction were small-fry considering what they were dealing with and I suspect today’s service is 100% slick.

Web ed Abi hard at work at La Folie Douce. Photo courtesy of Rob Freeman

You can take the Marmotte-1 chair down after partying, or ski /snowboard (carefully, please) down the wide, cruisey greens back to the village centre. Last weekend, despite Alpe d’Huez needing more snow like the rest of the Alps, the pistes were still in great condition thanks to an army of snow guns and high-altitude pistes on its Glacier de Serenne. The resort is expecting big things from the arrival of La Folie Douce and it has every right to: this is a very different offering to anything else in Alpe d’Huez.

We were lucky enough to be staying in VIP SKI’s Club Chateau, which sits in a ski-in, ski-out location at the top of the village. The amazing staff were nothing but welcoming to a bunch of “lively” revellers that descended on them for tea post-après. I’ve not particularly enjoyed staying in a catered chalet before but VIP, like La Folie Douce, has raised the bar for me. Fine wine, finer dining and genuine, professional staff. This trip has been so memorable — and I can’t wait to get back on that Folie Douce sun terrace again. If not in Alpe d’Huez then one of its other venues — Meribel, Val Thorens or the original, Val d’Isère.

For more information on VIP SKI visit Any WTSS readers who book a VIP SKI holiday before 14 Jan will receive a free bottle of bubbly in their room to get the party started. Just quote WTSS on booking.

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