Meribel , France
When Colonel Peter Lindsay came across Meribel in 1938 he vowed to return and create a ski resort. After the Second World War he duly returned and along with architect Christian Durupt he built the first chalets in Meribel.
Strict building guidelines were established from the outset and these made sure that any new building followed the local Savoyard style. As a result all the principal buildings and luxury chalets of Meribel have been built using the local stone, slate and wood. There is none of the concrete block architecture found in other purpose built French resorts which were developing at much the same time as Meribel. This has made Meribel the prettiest of the Three Valley ski resorts and with the afternoon sun shining on the Burgin side of the valley you can't beat it.
As Meribel developed in a slightly piecemeal manner, chalet by chalet, it was never laid as a purpose built ski resort in the same way that Flaine, Tignes, Les Arcs and Val Thorens were. Whereas this has created a ski resort of considerable charm it does mean that there are only a few ski in ski out chalets in Meribel.
Apart from fantastic accommodation options in Meribel there are great ski schools, lots of apres ski options and further activities to do off the slopes. With around 200 generally queue-free modern lifts accessing over 600km of prepared pistes Meribel is very difficult to beat.
Pros & Cons
- With a great range of hotels and ski chalets, Meribel has plenty of Alpine charm
- Apres-ski and nightlife
- Ease of access to the whole of the 3 Valleys ski domain
- Varied terrain for all levels of skiers and snowboarders
- There is a vibrant music scene with live bands performing
- Not many ski in / ski out properties
- Full of British
- Resort spread out
- Slushy spring conditions in April on the lower home pistes
Meribel has a good selection of restaurants but you won't find better than the fine dining at the hotels. Some of the best hotel restaurants include the Grand Coeur, Allodis and Kouisena (in the Eterlou hotel). La Taverne restaurant downstairs has a diverse menu. Le Refuge offers local specialities as well as pizzas and steaks. The Tsaretta in Les Allues is very popular with the locals. For a cheap option head to either Scott's or La Taverne.
A welcome addition to the slopes of Meribel has been the Folie Douce. The self-service Folie Douce has had good reviews with wide selections of Savoyard dishes at reasonable prices. Fruitiere is their table service restaurant, with a delicious menu and exclusive dining experience with first class entertainment and cabaret. Le Rok at the mid-station of the Pas du Lac gondola is a restaurant with excellent food especially popular for their steak tartare prepared at the table. Le Rond Point, just above the resort, is not only a great après ski venue but also serves excellent a la carte meals at lunchtime. Cretes on the Tougnete ridge is perfectly position with stunning views, and although a limited menu it has amazing food. Further afield, just above Mottaret, Les Rotisseurs du Mottaret is a great place to visit known for its meat specialities. At resort level, there a three popular slope side hotel terraces - the Adray Telebar and the Allodis are excellent and definitely worth a look.
The après bar rivalling the hot spot for mountain bars is the new Folie Douce by the mid station of the Saulire gondola. Packed and electric by 4pm this après bar with live entertainment and cabaret has knocked Le Rond-Point off the top spot, making it a must to visit. If you've heard of/ or visited other Folie Douce venues around France this one won't disappoint with people drinking and dancing on tables in ski boots. L'Arpasson hut is also an up and coming après place to try opposite the Tougnete 1 lift. For something a bit different and sophisticated L'Abreuvoir injects a cool French vibe into the après scene in this stylish and funky bar.
Around the main town Meribel has a great choice of bars and clubs to carry on partying into the night. Barometer is a great place to try the local Mutzig beer or have chilled drinks in Scotts. L'Abreuvoir offers a more sophisticated venue to drink at. For nightclubs the Brewer's Den (the bar) and O'Sullivans (the night club below - formerly known as Dick's Tea Bar) are open late and are very popular place with the British located a short walk from the main centre. Meribel's Les Saints Peres, by the Olympic centre, is a great nightclub if you are looking for something with more French style and clientele.
- Cable Car
- Chair lift
- Drag lift