Saturday, February 11, 2012

Desperately Seeking After-Ski

A morning view from our hotel room at Les Arcs

I have been spoiled. After visiting La Folie Douce, other after-ski places feel inadequate. But here I am, in Les Arcs, just a few tens of kilometers away and having a hard time finding some after-ski.

Les Arcs 1800

Red Hot Saloon

The most widely recommended place in Les Arcs is the Les Arcs 1800 village and the Red Hot Saloon bar. Even with typical party goers dancing with not one but two beer jugs in their hands, it is still not as crazy as La Folie Douce was. And it is half-empty right after a ski day, it is completely empty around 6PM, and only comes full later in the evening. Still, when it is full it seems to be a fun place. Not necessarily my type of music or crowds, however, and since I had already tested my camera for beer-proofness, I really didn't need to be around those dancing beer jugs. Time to move along...

Crowds in the Red Hot Saloon

Entrance to the Red Hot Saloon

Warm and inviting -20C terrace at the Red Hot Saloon.

Ambiente Cafe

Ambiente Cafe

I was depressed, alone and ready to hit the bed, walking towards my hotel when I saw the Ambiente Cafe. This cafe is near the Transarc ski lift station, the premier ski lift at Les Arcs. This cafe is a small place that I had just bypassed on my way to the rest of the restaurant area around Villards.

This bar was not full of crowds, either. But they had live music. Music that I liked - rock. I went wild and drank several Coke Zeros, ended up staying in the place quite a while. Recommended!

Live music at Ambiente Cafe

Other Options

I found that the resort worker's guide has the best information on Les Arcs, be it about Off-Piste or After-Ski. Consult it for further bar recommendations. I also tried the bar at our hotel, Le Grand Paradiso. They too had live music, a different band every night. But for the life of me, I can't stand very loud jazz music for more than a song or two. Ok for a quick drink, not OK for discussion, and since it was not my music I didn't want to hang out just to listen.

But our hotel also had saunas! Unfortunately these are not always available in every place that I go, but a sauna is a must for us Finns and also makes your muscles relax after a hard day of skiing. The hotel was otherwise very nice, albeit expensive. It did not matter for us so much, as we were there just for a couple of nights. But I did meet several other people who had chosen to stay in the Le Grand Hotel Paradiso for a few nights rather than in some other place for a full week.

Jazz band at Le Grand Hotel Paradiso


Snails. More snails. The "Snails on its few leaves" appetizer.

I am either playing the violin, or climbing the north ridge of Aigulle Grive

Spotted on the way to the ski area. No comment... and no, we didn't stop.

Photo and video credits (c) 2012 by Jari Arkko

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