Nestled at the heart of the largest ski area in the world, Méribel is one of the most popular ski resorts in Europe. Thousands of Brits flock to the picturesque ski village each year, attracted by its combination of traditional chalet architecture, unparalleled skiing and lively après-ski scene.
Méribel has been a popular ski resort among Brits ever since a Scotsman discovered this picturesque, mountain village in the 1930s. This cosmopolitan resort has facilities for the whole family from chic boutiques and chalet-style restaurants to ten-pin bowling and heli-skiing, while there is round-the-clock entertainment for the party crowd.
With its enviable location in the centre of the Trois Vallées near Courchevel and Val Thorens, Méribel connects into the world’s largest ski region with over 600km of ski slopes supported by 183 ski lifts and over 2,000 snow cannons. Nearby are the beautiful Lake Tuéda and the Vanoise National Park.
The Trois Vallées Ski Area
Connected by gondola to all six resorts of the Trois Vallées, Méribel offers excellent skiing for all levels and boasts stunning panoramic vistas over Mont Blanc. Home to several British ski schools including the renowned Oxygene, Méribel is an excellent ski area for beginners to learn and progress. Around the village, the Col de la Loze is the best area for beginners to practice and master their technique. For those looking to venture further afield, all of the villages in the Trois Vallées ski area are well connected with easy runs allowing novice skiers to explore the region with ease.
While Col de la Loze is ideal for beginners, other Méribel ski areas such as Mont de la Chambre, 3 Marches and Mont du Vallon offer extensive skiing for intermediate skiers. Advanced skiers will enjoy the Roc de Fer pistes, host to the women’s downhill ski races for the 1992 Winter Olympics and the 2013 Ski World Cup. You’ll glimpse a memorable view of Mont Blanc and the villages in the valley below on the way up by gondola to Tougnète.
Things to Do
A well-established ski resort, there is as much to do off the slopes in Méribel as there is on. From relaxing in luxurious spa facilities to paragliding above the mountain peaks, there is something to suit all tastes. There’s fun for the whole family at the Olympic Sports Centre housing a swimming pool, an ice-rink, ten-pin bowling and a climbing wall. Non-skiers can purchase a pedestrian lift pass to access mountain restaurants and feast on Alpine views. For a memorable experience take a tour of Méribel -Village forest on a dog sled with Traineau Evasion or go fishing for fario and rainbow trout in Lake Tuéda from June to October.
Adrenalin junkies can take their pick in Méribel from Heli-skiing to Icefall climbing and paragliding. Mountain guides are available for off-piste skiing and ski touring. Méribel even has a flying school where pilots can brush up their mountain flying skills, while tourists can check out the views on a scenic flight. Snow-shoe excursions and cross-country skiing provide the perfect way to explore Méribel’s Tuéda Nature Reserve and Altiport protected forest. There are 33km of cross-country tracks with blue and green tracks for beginners and red for confirmed nordic skiers.
If you’ve ever fancied zooming James Bond-style down the slopes, you should try out a snowmobile. Long-established Méribel company, Snow Biker rents snowmobiles for adults and kids from 4 years old. A more leisurely tour can be taken in a traditional horse sleigh, available from opposite the Piou Piou kindergarten at Châtelet Bridge in Méribel-Mottaret.
Eating and Drinking
Méribel has a selection of bars and restaurants which cater for a range of palettes and price ranges. Think cosy, wood-panelled, traditional chalet restaurants with wooden tables and bench seating all over Méribel serving local cuisine, crêpes and pizzas. Rich, cheese-based dishes such as raclette, fondue and tartiflette make up the traditional Savoyard menu. Raclette lovers should head to La Fromagerie, while Le Grain de Sel is popular with foodies for its gastronomic fare such as snails and foie gras. For lunches or snacks during the day, there are a number of mountain restaurants serving up a host of alpine delights to keep your energy levels up throughout the day.
By the time the last lift closes, the bars in and around Méribel are full with rosy faced skiers enjoying a well-earned après ski drink. On the mountain, the Folie Douce bar pumps out an electric beat across the mountain from 3pm while revellers dance on tables, lapping up the atmosphere. You’ll find it just below the mid-station of the Saulire Express. For pre-dinner drinks, there are a number of bars in Méribel where you can enjoy traditional French wines in a cosy, mountain setting.
Nightlife and Entertainment
The strong British influence in the town means that the nightlife also has a distinctive British feel with traditional English pubs and lively club nights. Méribel certainly lives up to its name as the British home of après-ski in the French Alps. As well as the popular Folie Douce, there are a number of bars offering lively après ski parties.
A classic place to end your day on the slopes with a drink is on the main Doron piste at Le Rond Point, known as The Ronnie, where toffee vodka is the order of the day and night. At the bottom of the piste, Jack’s Bar offers live entertainment with performances from musicians and comedians throughout the week, while neighbouring Evolution Bar & Café will tempt you with its Bad Boy burgers. Night owls flock to Dick’s Tea Bar after 11pm.
History of Méribel
Founded by Scotsman Colonel Peter Lindsay, the resort of Méribel was created in the 1930s. His first idea to attract the Brits was to build a lift with the help of Olympic skier Émile Allais. After WWII, development continued with the help of architects Paul Grillo (Prix de Rome 1937) and his partner Christian Durupt. Lindsay insisted upon wood-and-stone walls and slanted slate roofs to fit with the Savoyard style.
Méribel suits early risers with sun-filled slopes before noon, while many pistes are in afternoon shade and can be icy. To avoid the lift-pass kiosk queues, you can buy your ski pass through Mark Warner in the UK prior to departure, ready for collection on arrival at your chalet hotel. Don’t miss Moon Park with its ramps and jumps for skiers of all abilities. Younger skiers are also catered for with Le P’tit Moon with its banked turns designed for skiers from 7 to 12 years and Acticross with its tunnels and slaloms for kids from 6 years. Pistes in Méribel are sometimes trickier than their colour coding suggests: some blue runs feel like reds and some red runs could be blacks.
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Find out more about Méribel below
Find out what’s on in Méribel when you are there. With plenty of events throughout the season there is always something happening in this vibrant ski resort. For more information click here.
Find out all you need to know about skiing and snowboarding in Méribel. Our experiences page provides information about beginners skiing to off-piste areas and everything in between. Find out more here.
Take a closer look at the resort of Méribel and the ski area with our Méribel resort and piste map.
With a great après ski scene, cosy mountain bars and restaurants as well as lively night clubs, find out all you need to know about Méribel’s nightlife here.
Méribel has plenty to offer visitors both on and off the slopes. Keep the whole family busy at the leisure centre or try your hand at one of the action activities in the area. Find out more here.
Find out useful tourist information before heading to Méribel. From the best places to shop to travel information we have covered everything you need to know. Click here for more information.