Two experiences that summarise La Folie Douce
Guest writer Victoria Seabrook regales you with stories and news on mountain chain La Folie Douce.
There are two memories in particular from La Folie Douce that have always stuck in my mind, and I think sum up the Folie experience rather well.
The first experience is from 2011, on a university ski trip to Val Thorens, France. It consisted of ice-cold beer (plenty of which was spilt all over me), partying the sun down on the terrace (while wiping snow from my eyelashes) and Champagne showers. Bliss. (As a student, the champagne bit is the closest you come to luxury on a ski trip; there were four of us crammed into a 25m² “apartment”/shoebox.)
I remember feeling particularly pleased with myself that I’d managed to clock up some serious freshies all day, and could still party the evening in in style, thanks to Folie being open later than most places on the mountain.
Fast forward two years and I am in Val d’Isère, working as a rep for Skiworld. It’s early afternoon and I am being treated to a lavish lunch at La Fruitiere by some very generous clients. We’d done a few token runs in pretence of working up an appetite for some divine steak tartare, veal (I had to try it just once) and lashings of red wine. Also bliss.
It’s hard to imagine that these two different experiences were courtesy of the same establishment, but this is exactly Folie’s formula for success. As they put it: “gourmet cuisine by day with high-altitude après-ski by night.” I’ll give it to them: it has become a bit of an institution.
So it’s not surprising that this upmarket bar and restaurant chain are extending their services into Alpe d’Huez.
As at their existing three premises in Val d’Isère (the original) Meribel and Val Thorens, the new building will have two restaurants. The Nuvoself self-service is one easier on the purse strings. La Frutiere is a more formal, sit down affair for people who can afford to forget about purse strings. At the latter, prices for a three course lunch start from around £36. Both new menu styles have been designed by double Michelin-starred French chef Christophe Aribert.
There will of course be their characteristic lively après too, featuring live music that they describe as “a distinct blend of live soul-electro”. The quality of this music, and of the various singers, can be questionable I have to say. However, watching a beautiful blonde girl called Lettice play an electric fiddle, and on a snowy bar top, and in some kind of corset, is something I certainly haven’t seen anywhere else.
La Folie Douce Alpe d’Huez is located on the Plat des Marmottes at the top of the Marmottes 1 chairlift, and can be accessed by pedestrians as well as skiers. It is due to open this Saturday, 14th December, for the opening party. Click here for more information.