The outskirts are dreary, but as you approach the centre, the buildings become much more attractive (chalet-style, clad in wood and stone) and the central Val Village complex is traffic-free. Many first-time visitors find the resort much nicer than they expected but reporters this year complain of 'loud arrogant Brits' spoiling the place.

For families

Many people prefer to use the facilities of UK tour operators such as family specialist Esprit Ski. But there's a 'children's village' for children from 18 months to 13 years, with supervised indoor and outdoor activities on the village nursery slopes. And Petit Poucet takes children from age three and will pick them up and take them home at any time during the day.

Apres Ski

There are lots of bars, many with happy hours and then music and dancing later on.

The Folie Douce, at the top of the La Daille gondola, has become an institution: live bands, DJs, cabarets, packed crowds and dancing on tables on the terrace every afternoon; you can ride the gondola down. It has now been replicated in four other resorts. But a local tells us that Cocorico, by the piste just above the Solaise lift, 'is fast taking over. All the live music, DJs and atmosphere without being as pretentious. Great set up.'

The Moris pub (live music at teatime and later) and Saloon (under hotel Brussel's) fill up as the slopes close. The 'friendly' Blue Note (opposite the ESF) has a 'great low-key atmosphere'. Cafe; Face is popular, with loud music. Boubou and Bar Jacques are popular with locals. Alexandra is 'atmospheric'. The Pacific Bar has sport on big-screen TVs. Baraque is a 'very trendy' wine bar with 'a great vibe, live music, with good food'. Bananas is 'fun'. The basement Taverne d'Alsace is quiet and relaxing, as are Bar XV, the first-floor bar of the hotel Blizzard, and Wine Not (er, a wine bar). The coffee shop in the Quiksilver store serves fresh smoothies. The 'great fun' Grand Marnier serves 'tempting cocktails'.

Later on, Dick's Tea Bar is the main disco (go early evening for Val's 'best-value drinking', says a reporter). Doudoune is 'more expensive but nicer'. Graal is 'usually good'. If you've any stamina left the new Bunker is open until 6am.

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