Rapael Derly, owner of one of Aspen’s most popular restaurants, La Crêperie du Village, believes the Colorado town nestled in the Rocky Mountains offers the best of two worlds: spectacular outdoor recreation and scenery plus cultural attractions that rival cosmopolitan capitals. Almost any day of the year, Derly can escape to one of many nearby hiking, mountain biking, and ski trails to enjoy alpine beauty, solitude, and exercise. Or he can stay in town and hit Aspen’s top-notch restaurants, galleries, and shops.
The beauty of Aspen’s four nearby mountains coupled with a passion for the “mountain lifestyle” convinced Derly to trade Los Angeles and Pastis, the successful bistro and celebrity hotspot he owned there for 15 years, for this alpine paradise. To the former competitive skier who grew up in Aix-en-Provence, France, and regularly visited his family’s Swiss ski chalet, Aspen represents home. His French alpine bistro, opened in 2011, is a rustic, cozy, funky blend where fondues, truffles, and crepes are menu staples and quotes from Red Hot Chili Peppers songs adorn the walls. “I love Aspen because it has so much to offer,” Derly says.
—By Greg Dutter
“If you want to be rock ‘n’ roll, we have a lot of happening restaurants, art galleries, fancy hotels, private jets, and rooftop bars. But you can also do the down-to-earth, mountain-lifestyle scene,” Derly says. “The hiking and ski trails are endless. There are beautiful lakes and rivers for paddle boating and rafting. Even in the high season, you can find good restaurants that aren’t very expensive where you can enjoy a nice glass of wine by a fireplace with friends after a day of skiing.”
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