One of France’s famous ski resorts, few know that Meribel was actually founded by a collaboration between a British man, Peter Lindsay, who teamed up with legendary ski star Emile Allais and created the resort above the village of Les Allues in the late 1930s.
With strict rules on building height, the village resorts of Meribel are low rise and populated by small apartment blocks and chocolate-box chalets, which adds to its huge appeal among visitors.
The Meribel Villages
A 30 minute gondola ride from Brides-les-Bains means you can avoid the mountain roads if you stay in this good value part of the Meribel valley, located at 600m altitude. Heading further up the main road into the valley, the next village resort is Meribel Les Allues at 1100m which has a lovely Savoyard feel. It’s possible to ski back via a long red during most weeks of the season. Meribel Village lies at 1400m and has a relaxing atmosphere and has good links to the beginner pistes at the Altiport area via a chairlift.
Meribel Centre is the main hub of the ski resort, with links out of both side of the valley as well as a huge array of shops, bars and restaurants as well as hotels. It spreads out up towards the altiport and you’ll find chalet accommodation galore throughout the resort. Meribel is famed for its friendly vibe and apres-ski scene, and is holiday home to a mix of mostly French and British skiers. Meribel Mottaret was built more recently in the 1970s and has low-rise apartment blocks meaning lots of self-catered accommodation which is often ski in, ski out.
Skiing in Meribel
The ‘Heart of the Three Valleys’ due to its central location, it’s easy to see why the resort is popular for keen skiers who enjoy racking up hundreds of kilometres of skiing during their holiday.
The Altiport is where beginner lessons often start, with lovely gentle slopes suitable for children and adult first-timers. Children also enjoy the Yeti Park and the animal safari which the resort provides as part of its family friendly status. There’s sledging once the lifts have shut and the ‘Chaudanne’ is a nice place to enjoy a hot chocolate after skiing.
More advanced intermediate and expert skiers will enjoy Mont Vallon with its long reds and stunning views. There are two parks: DC AREA 43 and the Moon Park.
The various villages of the Meribel Valley are linked by free buses which run regularly, so its easy to access the lower resorts or to return to your accommodation once lifts have shut.
Well-being and spas
The Parc Olympique has lovely spa facilities open to the public (over 16s only) called Cinq Mondes Spa and is a great place to relax after skiing. There is an indoor swimming pool, steam room, sauna, jacuzzi and relaxation room with herbal tea bar.
For a luxurious treat, there’s a new 5 star Hotel ‘Le Kaila’ in Meribel with pool, hammam, sauna, hydromassage jets. Treatments include beauty, massage and facials for couples, mother-daughter as well as for children.
The large Parc Olympique centre in Meribel Chaudanne has an ice rink, climbing wall, public swimming pool and bowling and means you can enjoy some post-ski activities with children or just for a change! To make the most of the mountain scenery at a slower pace, take a walk around Lac Tueda above Mottaret, or even try Cross Country skiing for the ultimate workout!