France at its best: Meribel and Tignes
Posted on - Mon 15th October 2012
For most, the main choice you make when deciding which ski resort to book is whether to go for a traditional, often quiet village packed with character; or whether you choose a larger, more modern resort that makes up in ski area and facilities for what it may lack in traditional character. Not so in France, where large resorts like Meribel and Tignes are able to offer both. Like other large French resorts, they are made up of a collection of inter-connected villages, giving you a choice of places to stay.
These are both real ‘skiers’ (or boarders’!) resorts – there’s certainly raucous nightlife to be found for those who want it, but there are also quieter areas for those who don’t want a hangover when there’s the 8.30am lift to catch and fresh tracks to be made. Both Tignes and Meribel suit families and groups looking for a chalet holiday with extensive skiing and reliable snow.
Tignes is part of the Espace Killy ski area, thought of by many as Europe’s best. It is huge, offering an impressive 154 runs, including 50 juicy blacks. The Sache black run is the world’s second longest at 10 km, with a tree-lined mogul field towards the end. There are also extensive off-piste opportunities, and a dedicated freestyle area. Tignes pioneered snowboarding in Europe, and so is justifiably popular with boarders. There is a dedicated snowboard area, Tignes Snowspace, which draws snowboarders of all levels. In fact, this is a great place to try your hand at boarding if you’re generally a dedicated skier, as the facilities and opportunities to learn are unrivalled.
Tignes Le Lac is the main resort centre, with the villages of Val Claret and La Lavachet nearby. It’s possible to stay in one and socialise in another at night, so you aren’t limited just to the village you choose to stay in. We have a great choice of options for a chalet holiday in Tignes, most of which are ski-in, ski-out. Stay in Le Lac if you want a lively nightlife.
Meribel is part of the even larger Three Valleys ski area, with nearly 500 pistes. You could stay all season and never get bored, so a week long chalet holiday here is certainly not going to disappoint! Unsurprisingly, that makes it the largest ski area in the world, so regardless of your group ski level, you’ll be able to find the slopes to suit everyone. Immediately around Meribel are a couple of runs that were used in Olympic competition in 1992 and the La Face run, a relatively gentle black that’s perfect for those looking to make the step up. On top of this, there’s seemingly limitless off-piste for the adventurous.
The resort is made up of the villages of Meribel Centre, Meribel Mottaret and Meribel Village. Stay in Meribel Centre if you want nightlife – there are plenty of bars and clubs to keep you going until the early hours if you want. The other villages are generally quiet, and great if you want a group ski chalet holiday, with evenings spent with good friends and family in your own space. Facilities such as saunas and cinemas are often included.