Haute Savoie / France
With its traditional Savoyard architecture and its majestic mountains, the beautiful resort of Meribel is the perfect backdrop for your Instagram holiday pics. There are plenty of luxury chalets to choose from, both in the centre of the resort and in Meribel village, which is a little quieter and a great choice for family holidays.
As well as being the most picturesque resort in the Trois Vallées, Meribel is also one of the best places to make the most of the area’s great mountain sports. But the resort has plenty of other activities to offer. Relax in a spa, go bowling, try a snow-mobile safari... you’ll have no time to be bored.
Meribel is also well-known for its great apres-ski and nightlife - try Le Rond Point just above Meribel centre, with its busy sun terrace, live music and daily happy hour, or La Folie Douce, where every day is showtime.
There’s plenty of choice when it comes to eating out too, whether you’re looking for a family-friendly pizza place or something a bit more sophisticated for a special celebration. Many of the restaurants do takeaways, but there are several small supermarkets in and around the resort, as well as popular butchers, bakers and shops selling delicious local produce, so if you're staying in a self-catered chalet, you'll have plenty of choice.
As you would expect from a ski resort, many of the shops focus on ski hire and sports wear - from the highly technical to high fashion, but you’ll find enough variety to meet most of your needs.
Meribel’s location right in the heart of the Trois Vallées skiing area means visitors have easy access to some great skiing. Take the Saulire gondola for skiing into Courchevel, or the Tougnete lift, and head to Les Menuires. There’s access to 600km of pistes across the Trois Vallées, with six glaciers and 15 snowsure summits over 2,500m.
Whether you are looking for pristine pistes or untracked valleys, there’s plenty of choice. Those seeking a little more challenge should head for the red Combe Vallon piste, from the top of the Mont du Vallon gondola, or the Face run, from the top of the Roc de Fer, which was created for the women’s downhill races in the 1992 Olympics. Beginners can enjoy the Altiport in the Meribel valley - a long, sheltered green run - and the Yeti park around Mottaret, which discourages the more adventurous skiers and leaves beginners space to gain confidence.
The Meribel snow parks are a great starting point for freestylers - beginners will love the boardercross and fun cross at the Elements Park, which is served by the Arpasson drag lift. Video cameras activated by your ski pass will record your run, which you can download and share, to show your friends what they are missing! The newer Plattieres park is 1200m long and accessed by two lifts. It has a fun boardercross run, two half-pipes (one for intermediates and one for experts) and a competition standard pipe for top level free-styling events.
If you want to explore a little further afield, you can ski over to Val Thorens - the high altitude makes it a great choice later in the season.
The snow may linger on the summits in the summer, but the rest of the mountains are transformed into a huge playground for walkers, hikers and cyclists - there’s so much to explore from your luxury Meribel chalet.
The lifts are still available, and are adapted to take bikes, so you can arrive at the top of your trail with fresh legs. On your way back down, keep an eye out for the local wildlife - you could spot ibex, marmottes, chamois and eagles.
There’s an 18-hole golf course in Meribel, as well as tennis courts, a leisure centre with a swimming pool, ice rink and spa. If you’re looking for adventure, try glacier walking at La Grande Casse, white water rafting or canyoning on the Isere river, or perhaps via ferrata - traverse the mountains on wire walkways!
But holidays are for relaxing too, and Meribel has a great choice of spas and wellness centres, where you can enjoy a luxury treatment or two. Or you could just while away a relaxing day in the outdoor hot tub or sauna at your luxury chalet.
Skiing and boarding are the main activities that bring guests to Meribel in the winter, and in the summer, hiking, biking and climbing are the most popular. But when you stay at an OVO Network property, there is so much more to see and do.
Here are some of our favourite things to do in Meribel - you’ll find the details below.
Summer or winter, the Parc Olympique is a great day out, especially if the weather is bad. The 25m swimming pool is open from 2.30-7pm every day, and there’s also a fitness centre and gym, indoor climbing and an ice rink. If you’re looking for something more relaxing, the centre also has a spa area with a sauna and steam room. Treatments are available too.
This 18-hole, 71-par course is a popular destination in summer - at 1565m and over, the high altitude means the ball flies further, and the views are pretty good too! Expect narrow fairways and some steep walks. The course is open from June to September, and private lessons are available. Prices vary, according to the season.
There are several options for tennis players in Meribel. There are 10 all-weather courts in the Bois D’Arbin, and when you’ve worked up a thirst, you can enjoy a drink in the club house before heading back to your Meribel chalet. There are two more courts in Méribel-Mottaret, near the tourist office. There is also a hard court available free of charge in Les Allues.
Kids over the age of six (and 1m10 in height) can swing through the trees at this adventure park, which has courses of various difficulties. Safety training is given, and the courses are monitored at all times. Open seven days a week, except in bad weather.
As the snow melts in the Alps the Isère river becomes a cascading torrent, perfect for white water rafting, canyoning, hydrospeed and much more. Various packages, some suitable for children from the age of eight, are available from May to October.
A cross between hiking and mountain climbing, via ferrata is a great way for the whole family to explore the mountains. You’ll follow wire walkways, to which you are safely attached, and courses range in difficulty. Equipment such as helmets and harnesses are provided, but you’ll need suitable footwear, and perhaps a pair of gloves.
Whether or not you’re skiing, an afternoon at La Folie Douce is a real experience. Dancers, singers and music at max volume are guaranteed at this wild outdoor party. Meals and snacks are available too, at La Fruitière or La Petite Cuisine. Non-skiers can join their skiing friends by taking the Saulire Express 1 gondola.
Combine skiing and equestrian fun with ski-joering - skiing harnessed to a horse! Once you’ve got the hang of the basics you can head into the forest, or even try slalom or jumps. Younger children may prefer to sit on a sledge behind the horse.
Whether you want to learn how to paraglide, or simply sit back and enjoy the view with a tandem flight, Meribel is the perfect place to start flying
If you are looking for an adrenaline-filled ride or simply want to explore with the family, a snowmobile trip is a lot of fun. There are even mini snowmobiles for children aged between four and 12.
Summer or winter, there’s a lot to see at Tueda Nature reserve. Choose from an easy stroll around the lake with a lunch stop at the Lac de Tueda restaurant, or hike up into the hills for a meal at a mountain refuge. You can fish in the lake, or buy Beaufort cheese straight from the farm
Although heliskiing and heliboarding have been banned in France, you can still take to the skies for an exhilarating sight-seeing trip. Choose from a 15-minute tour of the Trois Vallees, a 30-minute look at the Haute Tarentaise, or an hour exploring the Mont Blanc Massif. For a really special day out, why not combine your flight with a meal at one of the area’s top restaurants?
Download the Explor app on your phone and join a crafty bird and a mischievous marmot to find the Heart of Meribel … Teams of up to eight can play the game, based at the Tueda Nature reserve and with little ones looking for markers and others solving the clues, it’s a real family day out. Wear suitable footwear and clothing for the weather, and take a spare phone battery just in case!
Le Close-Up (route du Centre 1er Étage Galerie Des Cimes, 73550 Meribel, tel +33 4 79 00 74 69) Great food, great service and table magic make a trip to this family-friendly restaurant a real experience. The menu includes local specialities such as fondue and tartiflette as well as burgers and French classics. Vegan and veggie options are available, and there’s a children’s menu too.
Chalet Tonia (Les combes Mottaret, 73550 Meribel, tel +33 4 79 00 45 11)This mountain restaurant at the top of the Combes chairlift serves great local food as well as family favourites such as pastas, burgers and great fries - a great lunch stop for skiers. In cold weather there’s a great log fire, and when the sun’s shining you can sit on the terrace and enjoy the fabulous views
Tsaretta Spice (route de Morel Immeuble La Saulire, 73550 Meribel, tel +33 4 79 08 51 26) Fancy a change from tartiflette and fondue? This popular Indian restaurant offers a great selection of starters and classic curries as well as some more unusual dishes. Vegan, vegetarian and gluten free food is available, and there’s a takeaway service. It’s not cheap, but you are in Meribel after all...
L’Igloo (Galerie des Cimes, 73550 Meribel, tel +33 4 79 08 07 84) For great burgers, pasta, salads and delicious pizzas, head to this lively restaurant in the centre of Meribel. Kids will love eating in an igloo, but if you want to make sure of your table, book in advance.
Le Cepe (route du Plateau Le Plateau - Direction Altiport, 73550 Meribel, tel +33 4 79 22 46 08) This Michelin-recommended restaurant is a great choice for a special meal. Classic French cuisine is done well, in a cosy welcoming atmosphere. Try the mushroom cappuccino and the house burger - actually a filet mignon topped with crispy potatoes and foie gras. Desserts won’t disappoint either. Make sure you book well ahead.
As you would expect from a ski resort, shopping in Meribel is dominated by sports shops, ski hire and high fashion. However, there’s a good selection of general shops as well as some wonderful delicatessens, high street names such as White Stuff, and gift shops.
There’s a market on Tuesdays and Fridays, where you can pick up local produce, confectionery and clothing - a great place to browse.
Fashionistas head to Coco boutique or Sport Boutique for brands such as Dolce & Gabbana, Prada and Longchamp, and there are several clothing shops catering specifically for children.
Pick up delicious cakes, pastries and chocolates from Les Glaciers and Le Village des Pains and take home local cheese, charcuterie and wine from the specialist food stores.
Meribel is just 180km from Geneva airport, but if you’d rather not fly, you could drive, take a coach or a train.
Train SNCF runs services between Paris and Moutiers, about 45 minutes from Meribel.
Coach SnowExpress runs regular services from London to Meribel in season. You’ll travel by coach to Moutiers before transferring to a regular bus service.
Altibus offers transfers from Geneva airport (in the winter) and Moutiers station.
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