Ports of Call
Meribel Travel Guide
Paris, France © Benh Lieu Song
Meribel is in the centre of the Trois Vallées, which also incorporates the holiday resorts of Courchevel and Val Thorens. Together they form the largest ski area in the world. Unlike most French holiday ski resorts, Meribel has retained an atmosphere of the traditional skiing village, despite having grown enormously in recent years. Meribel-Mottaret is situated two miles (4km) up the valley and is better suited for the skiing, but not the nightlife. The resort was founded by the English early in the last century and is still very popular with British holidaymakers.
The Trois Vallées ski area is one of the best and most extensive in the world (10 times larger than Vail, the largest ski resort in the States), and Meribel is in the middle, between Courchevel and Val Thorens. Meribel has a vast choice for beginner and intermediate skiers, but those with more experience will want to test out the slopes in Courchevel and Val Thorens. Snowboarders will find lots of challenging slopes and couloirs and when the snow is good there is some great off-piste.
Meribel is stuffed with lots of good-value ski shops for holidaymakers to enjoy browsing through. Those with more expensive taste can ski over to Courchevel 1850. There are plenty of mini-supermarkets for self-caterers as well as a fine selection of bakeries and delicatessens.
There are some seriously good restaurants for holidaymakers to enjoy in Meribel; get local advice on arrival and book early for the best. There's more choice for those happy with a simple fondue and nice bottle of red, but it is still worth booking.
The nightlife in Meribel is not as wild as in some holiday ski resorts, but there's still plenty going on. Dick's Tea Bar is the best-known nightclub and the queues can be long. Meribel-Mottaret has few choices and closes up for the night earlier.
Paragliding can be organised and is a great option for holidaymakers wanting to get down to Meribel when the snow's not so good. For whiteout days there's a cinema, bowling, ice-skating, a gym and a swimming pool. Some of the smarter hotels offer spa treatments.
Meribel is quite spread out and much of the accommodation is far from the slopes. The resort is quite low and it is often not possible to ski to the main village.