For lively après-ski in Cauterets, there's a choice of around 40 bars, most of which double up as restaurants or cafés.
Among the best offerings is Le St-Trop (tel: +33 562 925 702), a pub that does great cocktails, and Le Ski Bar (tel: +33 562 925 385; www.hotel-leboisjoli.com), a lively offering where a friendly crowd gather on a terrace overlooking the mountains – when the weather allows. Le Ski Bar also serves tasty crêpes for those feeling peckish.
For late nighters there is a good selection of nightclubs including the popular Yeti-Club (tel: +33 562 925 214), which keeps the music pumping until 0500 on the weekend.
There is a large selection of restaurants in Cauterets and its environs, offering a great range of cuisine. Among these are several crêperies, pizzerias and Alpine specialists serving fondue and raclette.
La Sierra (tel: +33 683 571 806) on rue de Vardun serves garbure, a local soup speciality made with meat and vegetables certain to warm the cockles, while Les Trois Couronnes (tel: +33 562 920 214; www.lestroiscouronnes.com) is one of the most highly regarded restaurants here – despite its less than illustrious location in a shopping arcade – and cooks up dishes using locally sourced produce.
For a gourmet meal try L'Abri du Benquès (tel: +33 562 925 015; www.benques.com) with head chef Julien Canton, or the intimate La Cabane du Bois Joli for typical and delicious local French cuisine.
Beyond the slopes
The old spa town has a range of recreational facilities, including extensive shopping, a cinema, nine spa baths and a casino. For sporty types, there are indoor tennis courts and an ice rink; while for something a little more 'French', visitors can take part in a traditional game of boules.
Away from the village, excursions are organised to the religious pilgrimage site of Lourdes. The town is home to the Grotto of Massabielle in the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes, the site of a bubbling spring where the water is thought to have healing qualities. Day visits to other areas of the Pyrenees National Park are also an option from the resort.
On the snow, there are cleared winter hiking routes, as well as snowshoeing excursions organised in the Pont d'Espagne sector, a few kilometres from the village. This area also has its own small downhill ski centre and extensive cross-country ski tracks.
There is plenty on offer for families in Cauterets. On the mountain, the ski area is compact and unintimidating with large, efficient and easy to use lifts, making it a safe place to ski as a family. Families of four or more can purchase discounted lift tickets (if purchased at the same time for the same duration).
Baby facilities such as changing mats are available to hire from the Tourist Information Office (tel: +33 562 925 050). Children from two months to four years can join Les Marmottes day nursery (tel: +33 562 925 701), whilst older children aged up to seven can join the Cirque de Lys ski school, which offers fun learning and activities on the slopes.
Activities for young children include supervised play at Aux 4 Vents (tel: +33 562 451 042) indoor activity centre on avenue Mamelon Vert, which welcomes three to 12 year-olds. The resort's cinema, ice rink, thermal pools and merry-go-round are also a draw for families.
One of the major retail centres of the French Pyrenees, Cauterets has more than 90 shops desperately vying for the attention of tourists.
Many of these are long-established, family businesses. L'Harfang des Neiges (6 rue Richelieu), for example, sells local arts and crafts, including a local speciality: chalet shoes.
Another popular local product is boiled sweets, first made in the 19th century to take away the sulphurous taste of the spa water. Several shops demonstrate the production of such treats, including Confiserie Marinette (tel: +33 562 925 307).
Take a mud bath with a difference at Les Bains du Rocher Spa (tel: +33 562 921 420;www.bains-rocher.fr), which offers a mud wrap using specially imported mud from the Dead Sea. The treatment cleans, refines and purifies the skin and eases nervous or muscular tension that has been worked up both on and off the slopes.
The village has predominantly apartment-based accommodation but there are also a dozen hotels in Cauterets, most of them family-run traditional establishments in the 1- to 3-star category.
Hôtel-Résidence Le Lys
An attractive 2-star renowned for its wellbeing services (including Taï Chi Qi Gong, traditional Thai massage and Korean relaxation), Hôtel-Résidence Le Lys has a cosy lounge area with an open fireplace, and a games room.Address: , Rue de la Féria et Boulevard Latapie Flurin, Cauterets, 65100
Telephone: +33 562 921 111
The comfortable and modern 3-star, Balnéo Aladin is one of the best hotels in Cauterets village. Guests here are granted free access to the balneotherapy centre and its five pools, and they can dine at the on-site restaurant that serves a delicious buffet dinner.Address: , 11 Avenue du Gén Leclerc, Cauterets, 65100
Telephone: +33 562 926 000
You couldn't ask for a better location than the Edelweiss hotel, which is just a short walk from the ski lifts in the very centre of the village. The hotel, with adjoining restaurant, is well presented with wooden walls and rustic mountain décor. The popular on-site restaurant specialises in traditional French cuisine.Address: , 7 Boulevard Latapie-Flurin, Cauterets, 65110
Telephone: +33 562 925 275
Le Bois Joli
The Le Bois Joli is a friendly and centrally located 15-room establishment that's beautifully decorated to a traditional French design. As well as the spacious rooms, the hotel features a popular bar and a pleasant restaurant serving regional cuisine.Address: , 1, place du Maréchal-Foch, Cauterets, 65100
Telephone: +33 562 925 385
Hotel Pas de l'Ours
This friendly budget hotel in central Cauterets has been renovated from a traditional building and houses a small but popular restaurant.Address: , 21 Rue de la Raillère, Cauterets, 65100
Telephone: +33 562 925 807
Hôtel le Lion d’or
The brainchild of two local sisters, the Hôtel le Lion d'or is a centrally located 3-star establishment that was once the owners' family home. Despite the renovations, the hotel has managed to retain its homely, welcoming vibe and serves excellent food. There are a dozen bedrooms and six suites in total.Address: , 21 Rue Richelieu, Cauterets, 65100
Telephone: +33 562 925 287