One of the pearls of French Savoy for skiing holidays is certainly Méribel, a ski resort that is part of the 3 Valleys area. In this guide, we will discover what to do and what to see in Méribel, in the magnificent Tarentaise valley.
Visit Méribel: tourist guide
Meribel is a renowned ski resort in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes department in French Savoie. Characterized by the typical chalets of Mountain and wonderful natural landscapes, this place is part of the ski area Les 3 Vallées, which, thanks to its 600 km of slopes, is the largest ski area in France and one of the largest in the world.
Meribel is an upscale destination, known worldwide for its luxury, modern services, wide availability of hotel amenities and entertainment for holidays winter and summer, between locals after skievents, sports and its many trails that cross the Vanoise National Park.
The story of Meribel begins just before World War II when Scottish Colonel and ski enthusiast Peter Lindsay sets out to find a new winter resort to abandon German and Austrian ski resorts, due to the rise of Nazism in those countries . In 1936, he visited for the first time Les Allues and began to imagine it as a ski station. He then decided to create a real estate company in order to develop his idea of transforming the site into a winter sports resort.
In 1938, the first ski lift was installed above the village of Les Allues. A year later, he began to build the first Hotel and chalets at a place called Meribel. The Second World War blocked the development of the station but after the conflict the project resumed. Lindsay uses specialist architects to create buildings and structures in harmony with the Savoyard style.
Meribel: attractions and places of interest
Today Meribel enjoys an exceptional reputation, the site has been awarded many times for its services and the characteristics of its villages. Indeed, under the generic name of Méribel, several scattered villages and hamlets are grouped together and located at different altitudes: Les Allues, Méribel Village, Méribel Center and Méribel Mottaret, a name with which it is also customary to indicate its ski area.
After this quick introductory note, let’s now discover in detail what to do and what to see in Méribel, its attractions and sites of interest not to be missed under any circumstances.
Méribel ski area: ski slopes and ski lifts
The locality of Meribel offers privileged and quick access to all the ski slopes of the Domain of the 3 Valleys. From fun areas to snowparks, from ski mountaineering to snowshoeing in an incredible wooded and snowy setting. Méribel is linked to the bottom of the valley and to Brides les Bains by a long cable car. The other hamlets in the Allues valley are accessible by the ski slopes.
The 50 state-of-the-art ski lifts connect 8 green, 27 blue, 24 red and 7 black runs for a total of 150 km of runs. There are also routes for this ski cross-country and freeride skiing, snowboard slopes, ski areas for the disabled and for the little ones for a truly complete and attractive tourist offer for athletes of all levels. The perfect snow cover allows skiing from the first days of December until the end of spring.
Les Allues is the capital of Méribel and rises in the shadow of the Vanoise massif. It is an authentic Savoyard village with its traditional architecture, bread oven, old barns and narrow streets. The municipality itself is made up of children villages scattered, jewels of traditional mountain architecture with slate roofs, old wood and stone and which one crosses before arriving in the most recent and modern districts of the valley.
To visit in Les Allues la St. Martin’s Church which retains a 12th century altarpiece and interior decorations in the Baroque style, the museum on the history and traditions of the valley installed in the Maison Bonnevie, one of the main historic buildings of the village, the sawmill and the mill of Raffort, located on the edge of the Doron des Allues below the village of Raffort. Do not miss the local gastronomy since many cheeses are produced here, including Beaufor.
Meribel-Village is a traditional village, located at 1,400 meters above sea level, on the road to La Tania. Its development dates back to the late 1990s when it was still an old town made up of sheepfolds. Today the town has become the setting for a picturesque village witness to the purest Savoyard tradition, with its renovated chalets and barns, its chapel, its shops, its sunny terraces.
Organized around the central square, Meribel-Village it is served by the Golf chairlift which gives access to all ski area from Méribel and the 3 Valleys. When the day is done, with the ski that you can return to the heart of the city in complete safety via the blue Rabbit run. In the evening, a free shuttle takes nightlife lovers to Méribel-Centre in a few minutes.
Meribel-Center it is the most important town in the region and the most frequented by tourists. Geographical heart, center of entertainment and services in the valley, Méribel-Centre is the meeting point for those who like to have everything close at hand, day and night: tourist office, cinema, swimming pool, wellness area. be, shops, bars, Restaurantsolympic park, discosevents.
But not only because the atmosphere is unique thanks to the splendid chalets covered with light wood and local stones, with double-pitched roofs. So the town it fits perfectly into a heavily wooded landscape and offers harmonious and authentic architecture. Many state-of-the-art ski lifts depart from the town and provide quick and easy access to the ski area of the Méribel valley and the 3 Valleys. Thanks to the free shuttles that cross Méribel-Centre, you can quickly reach the slopes, without having to take the car.
Located at 1,750 meters above sea level, the hamlet of Mottaret o Meribel-Mottaret occupies the upstream part of the valley. The station houses most of the residences built from 1972 by the architects who wanted to provide the locality with better and faster access to other places and ski slopes of the 3 Valleys.
In fact, a Meribel-Mottaret it is possible to leave your accommodation on skis and already be on the slopes, like the modern residences of Mountain are located directly at their feet. Méribel-Mottaret offers a breathtaking view of the majestic Mont Vallon which culminates at nearly 3,000 meters. The village is surrounded by fir forests and the Tuéda nature reserve with its lake surrounded by umbrella pines, on the edge of the Vanoise national park.
Excursions in Méribel: three natural sites
The Tueda Nature Reserve it extends from the lake of the same name to the Gébroulaz glacier, is part of Méribel-Mottaret and is located at the entrance to the Vanoise National Park. Its umbrella pines form one of the most beautiful pine forests in all the Alps and its territory offers various and numerous activities trails indicated as the “Comfort” promenade along the entire lake, the botanical path, particularly interesting in summer and the glaciological path to discover the river of ice. At the Maison de la Réserve Naturelle, a permanent exhibition is devoted to the cembro pine.
L’aerodrome it is located on the heights of Méribel at 1700 meters above sea level and offers a breathtaking view of the locality. Surrounded by an exceptional natural environment, there is a large forest of fir trees, ski slopes and trails for excursions with snowshoes. The milking it is an area of very old pastures, totally immersed in uncontaminated nature. It is located at an altitude of 1600 meters above Les Allues and offers a panoramic view of the neighboring peaks, including Mont Blanc.