Méribel's central position in the heart of the huge Les 3 Vallées ski area, combined with a vast array of catered chalets, has made it enduring popular. Both on and off slope, there's plenty going on here.
Founded in 1938 by British skier Peter Lindsay, Méribel has grown into a flourishing resort with a loyal following.
British clients make up about 40% of the clientele, coming time and time again for the ambience, après ski, resort life and of course the epic terrain.
There are a a myriad of slopes that suit all levels, with plenty of wooded runs that make it a good place to ski in any weather.
There are several villages that make up the resort, the main hub being Méribel Centre where the majority of bars and restaurants are.
Nearby is Méribel Village, with its clusters of independent chalets, village vibe and quick access to quiet slopes.
There is also Mottaret, with more apartments, and the smart Altiport area. Down the valley from Méribel Centre by a 15-minute gondola ride is the village of Les Allues, with rustic Savoyard buildings and a very friendly ambience.
The local slopes in Méribel alone comprise a respectable 150km and the resort sits in the middle of the 600km Les 3 Vallées ski area, giving you options to explore whichever way you point your skis.
On one side is Courchevel, on the other side Val Thorens and Les Menuires. For a rollercoaster, snow-sure piste, try the Mont du Vallon-to-Mottaret red run, encompassing a 1,200m vertical descent. Or for steeper gradient, the Roc de Fer-to-Méribel black piste.
For a more leisurely cruise, the Sitelle blue run down to Mottaret is ideal.
Méribel has plenty of gentle local slopes for children to start out on, including a huge snow garden in the Chaudanne area and a 300m green run accessed by the Altiport chairlift.
The resort also has independent nanny services, such as Jelly & Ice Cream and Merinannies. Méribel Tourist Office has also introduced a special entertainment program for children too, and the resort was awarded the Famille Plus label in 2013.
There are lots of activities in Méribel apart from the skiing. You can learn to control a team of huskies to take you through the forest, or try ice climbing. Parq Olympique in Méribel Centre is a massive sports centre with a pool, gym and spa. At the ice rink you can skate and also watch professional ice-hockey matches. And for a winter walk, the resort has a fabulous network of groomed trails.
At the top of the Tougnette lift, Les Cretes has a large sun terrace for warmer days and a chalet-style rustic interior when you want to be in cosy surrounds.
At the mid-station of the Saulire cable car La Fruitière uses fine organic ingredients and the creativity of head chef Franck Mischler to reinvent Savoyard classics.
The Hotel Altiport has an expansive sun deck, while down in Méribel centre, Aux Petits Onions always has a good value menu du jour and in the evenings a lively bar which you can switch to after dinner.
Apres ski and nightlife
Méribel is one of the big hitters for après ski in the French Alps, with legendary favourites like the Rond Pont being joined in recent years by La Folie Douce, situated further up the slopes.
At Le Coeur de Cristal a more cosmopolitan crowd dances on tables with DJs on the balcony. In town, the infamous Dick's Tea Bar draws a young crowd.
For something quieter but still lively, try Le Poste, Le Taverne or nightclub Le Privelege. The resort is also home to the Altitude Comedy festival every March.
Méribel has one of the largest collections of catered chalet accommodation anywhere in the Alps – which is one of the reasons for its popularity with the British market.
You can also find a range of good hotels, such as the plush-but-affordable 4-star Grande Coeur or the 3-star Merilys, which combines a B&B hotel with apartments.
There are also high-quality residences, such as the Les Fermes du Méribel, Les Crêts and Les Sentiers du Tueda in Mottaret.
From Moutiers station
- By bus: around 25 - 45 minutes; Adult 12€, Youth (U26) 9.50€ (www.altibus.com)
- By taxi:around 20 - 35 minutes; about 80€ for an 8-seater taxi.