About Meribel & its Surroundings
Méribel lies in the Les Allues Valley at the centre of the world’s largest ski area, les Trois Vallees, giving access to over 600km of piste and unlimited off-piste. As well as the two main resorts, Méribel and Méribel-Mottaret, the valley also includes a number of traditional villages. Together they form one of the most popular destinations for British skiers (the resort was, in fact, founded by a British Colonel, Peter Lindsay, in 1938). The resort’s perennial popularity is due not only to its extensive skiing, but also to the attractive chalet-style architecture. Unlike many purpose-built ski resort Méribel has retained its Alpine charm and consists entirely of chalet-style wood and stone buildings.
Méribel is the largest of the villages and is home to the main shopping area and the greatest selection of après-ski bars and restaurants. The bi-weekly street market adds charm and sense of tradition to the town centre. Stretching from 1450m up to 1700m, it offers some ski in / ski out accommodation and excellent access to the ski area via the superb lift system. There are a number of different quartiers that make up Méribel that offer alternatives to the lively centre of town. The original hamlet of Mussillon (shown) is about a 10 minute walk downhill from the centre and 5 minute bus ride from the slopes. It may not have ski in / ski out accommodation but it is home to the infamous Dicks Tea Bar (and is therefore, popular with Brits!). Belvedere (more upmarket), Altiport (tranquil woodland area), the Rond-Point, Le Plateau, Altitude 1600, and Morel, all lie further up the hill from Méribel Centre, and are a short bus ride away. There are however, a range of shops and restaurants in these areas, and you also have a greater chance of securing ski in / ski out accommodation in these areas.
Further up the valley, about 4 km from Méribel, lies Mottaret (1700 to 1800m). This village was developed in the early 1970s, and therefore has a more modern (but still attractive) look. It is quieter than Méribel, but still has a good selection of shops and bars, and the added bonus of ski in / ski out accommodation. It has its own lift pass office (you can buy a Mottaret area only lift pass, as an alternative to a Méribel Valley or 3 Valleys pass) and is perfectly positioned for exploring the whole 3 Valleys area. Méribel is a short ski away down an easy green piste and there is also a free bus service that runs to and from Méribel, although it can get crowded at peak times.
Méribel-Village lies at 1400m and is approximately 2 km from Méribel on the road to La Tania and Courchevel. This tiny hamlet provides peaceful accommodation; making it popular with families and beginners and has a supermarket, a baker and a couple of restaurants. It has its own chair lift that runs up to the Altiport area (which is good for beginners).
Les Allues is a charming village at 1100m that has a more traditional feel to it. The village is served by the Olympe gondola that whisks you up to the Chaudanne in the heart of Méribel’s ski area. Les Allues has a supermarket, a ski hire shop and several restaurants. If you want to head up to Méribel, there is a public bus service – the journey time is around 15 – 20 minutes, alternatively you can take the gondola lift, or you can easily hire a local taxi.
The resort is best known for its chalet accommodation, with dozens of tour operators offering all-inclusive holidays, but there are also hotels, residences and self-catering apartments for all budgets. The winter season normally runs from the second week in December until the end of April, with New Year and February/March being the busiest times.
Méribel’s lift system is modern and continually being improved, with 15 gondola lifts and 19 chairlifts. The neighbouring resorts of Courchevel, la Tania, Val Thorens and Les Menuires can all be reached quickly, making Méribel the ideal base from which the explore the vast Trois Vallées.
In summer the resort opens during July and August when mountain biking, walking, golf, children’s clubs and dozens of other activities are on offer.