London lifestyle & travels with kids and babies
Home of “snow bistronomy”, Val Thorens did not just spoil us with impeccable mid April skiing and sunshine, but some serios fine dining, from warm and cosy savoyarde cuisine, slope gourmet lunches and sushi, to Michelin star treats. Some of the best Val Thorens restaurants in here, a week is too short to exhaust sampling them all, we counted over 60!
After a good ski session, what could be better than lunch on the slopes? Val Thorens 11 slopeside chalets and restaurants have it all: from friendly and relaxed gourmet sandwiches and waffles, to traditional French mountain cuisine, to creative and buzzing afternoons.
Once again my favourite on the slopes has to be La Fruitiere: Chef Damien de Valukoff and his team come up with some amazing dishes with a twist and fresh local produce. The trout with ravioli were superb, the oysters fab, the kids menu with steak hache and chocolate mousse out of this world the kids confessed.
A little bit lower altitude, Fahrenheit 7’s La Rotisserie makes a great spot for lunches by the slopes or dinners, overlooking the pistes and serving an eclectic mix of traditional French dishes with a twist, pasta and poké bowls. We adored the tuna tartar and spaghetti with seafood, the kids are in love from Fahrenheit 7 Courchevel with their poke bowls. We found the afternoons on Fahrenheit 7’s terrace also cool and buzzy, DJ and a funky fun loving crowd.
Another piste option is Chalet du Thorens, fast lunch at the cafeteria, Italian pizzas prepared on the spot, snacks, sushi, wok, seafood. We loved the live music, the kids loved the waffles, we need to return and test the sushi properly as well as the dancefloor!
Last but not least for lunching Marielle’s terrace conveniently located by ESF’s jardin d’hiver has casual options or proper dining, as well as aperols and rose! We celebrated in here the kids ESF medals: 1ere etoile for the 6 years old and etoile de bronze for the 8 years old after a week of various attempts including ESF competition (too repetitive, same black slope over and over he said after the first day!) and Free riders (too young and tete dans la lune for the hors piste ESF said!).
Dining wise we had to start the ski week with cosy Savoyarde cuisine at La Petite Ferme opposite to Marielle : fondue, raclette and pierrade, family friendly and with kids menus including steaks and pizza.
For dining our kids vote in Val Thorens is once again Fahrenheit 7‘s, between their games rooms, the terrace, the live DJ and their nutella pizza they were lost with excitement. And we fully aprove their votes, seeing the sun setting at 8pm from La Rotiserie over dinner was magic! If you are after chilling apres dinner, La Cheminée offers a quieter place to relax after a day on the slopes with coloured sofas, fluffy cushions and a fireplace.
For some serious Michelin treats one can head to Pashmina for Les Explorateurs. Pick up in Pashmina’s coolest vintage car was much appreciated after days of skiing, apres skiing and dead legs!
Designed as a luxury refuge, Les Explorateurs has some great surprises up its sleeve: sustainable ingredients meet a cosmopolitan cuisine, the decor is eclectic and fun. My fish was exquisite, the seasonal menu a tour de force and cheese was divine.
And after all that skiing, one is in for a treat with Val Thorens apres ski scene ! Led by the infamous Folie Douce and the Alps biggest underground nightclub, Le Malaysia, Val Thorens has plenty of spots to keep you partying ! From live music to slopeside parties, here are our favourite spots after 1 week of extensive due diligence!
An institution we got to love over the years from Courchevel and Val d’Isere, La Folie Douce is one of the hottest après spots in Val Thorens and effectively claims to be the highest open-air club in Europe. The party starts daily from 1pm, with DJs and live musicians playing on the balcony, whilst we danced the afternoon away on the terrace. Champagne and beers flow freely, I’d also rave about their aperols and of course coud not resist dancing on the table / chairs with the coolest house music and live saxophon. I certainly loved my traditional lunches at La Fruitiere and as 2pm arrives head to the terrace for dancing or VIP area if the legs have given up on you, soak in music and vibes from comfy pillows whilst enjoying some bubbles. La Folie Douce is certainly NOT to be missed!
Another hot spot in Val Thorens, this time for sushi and fusion dinners, Jackie has very eclectic funky vibes! Expect very international staff, funky tunes with live DJs and a fun crowd. On the main bar street of Val Thorens, Rue de Gébroulaz, the bar stays open until the early hours so if you haven’t worn yourself out skiing all day (like we did!!!), you can party the night away into the wee hours.
Best spring skiing Europe? Look no further, here’s to Val Thorens mid April fabulous snow and 12 hours of uniterrupted sunshine! We stayed at Marielle’s on this occassion and whilst the hotel has been nicely renovated in 2022, we found the family rooms meanly sized, the kids bunk beds actually in the hall. Also the ski room was terribly ventilated (read very smelly) but we have to admit the location is great for kids going to ESF jardin d’hiver, 1 minute drop off and pick up mornings, lunch and dinner time. There’s lots of great books by Marielle’s reception as well as a sun terrace perfect for sunbathing and we were smitted by April skiing with sunshine and very long days !
And if you are like me with dead legs after 3 days of skiing, warmly recommending booking a spa day, Pashmina has my votes again! Mid April skiing is hard work with slushy snow in the afternoon, so if you find it tough to keep up with the kids (like us!), luckily ESF can keep them entertained with black slopes and parents can grab a drink at La Folie and chill at Pashmina spa and terrace.
For more inspiration on European ski breaks, check our article with our highlights over 20 years in here. For more French skiing, great food and cool apres skiing, check our Courchevel articles, Chamonix or Tignes. All Covid restrictions in France have been lifted on March 14th 2022 other than wearing masks on public transport and in certain public places such as clinics and hospitals. Therefore, if you meet the travel entry requirements there are no further restrictions on your holiday, hurray and fingers crossed it stays this way!
PS: Many thanks to Fahrenheit 7 for the dinner treats, we had a blast apres skiing on their terrace, mid April snow and sunshine does not get better than this!