Cross Country:33km in the Meribel Valley
10 March 2018 (7 nights)
7 nights | Guide prices per person
When Meribel was first created, the Dallery family arrived and secured one of the original hotels in a prime position in the resort. The Chaudanne was the first of their three hotels and remains the most comfortable. Their sister hotels, L’Eterlou and Le Tremplin, were added in the 90's and all are linked by passageways. There are also some popular self-catering apartments at both the Chaudanne and L’Eterlou.
The hotel has exellent wellness facilities including an outdoor swimming pool, hot tub, sauna, hammam and fitness room. Other perks of La Chaudanne include concierge, porters and 19hr room service.
Located next to the main Chaudanne lift station at the foot of the pistes, it is only a short walk up the street to the centre of the village.
There are 64 rooms and suites in La Chaudanne. Bedrooms are on the small side, some with a sloping ceilings, but they are prettily decorated and well designed. Rooms with balcony are larger and there are also some family suites available.
Meribel is an attractive chalet-style purpose-built ski resort situated right at the heart of the world’s largest ski area.
The Meribel valley is the middle one of the three that make up the massive Trois Vallées ski area. Depending on how you classify things, it comprises five different settlements. The first and lowest is Brides-les-Bains which lies at an altitude of just 650m. Frankly it is hard to think of Brides-les-Bains as a ski resort, since it was originally a spa resort and it is on treatments in thermal waters and suchlike that much of its economy still depends. However it is linked to Meribel itself by a three-stage telecabine and so is a base from which one can ski the Trois Vallées area. But the days when one can return to Brides-les-Bains on skis via the off-piste itineraire are the exception rather than the rule and there is not much in the way of après-ski life down here. Nevertheless, for a combination of cheap accommodation and access to a world class ski region this place is hard to beat.
Next comes Les Allues, a sleepy old Savoyarde village with one modest hotel and a handful of privately run catered chalets. A little further up the hill lies Meribel-Village (1,340m), a tiny old village that has grown in size thanks to the ‘Les Fermes de Meribel-Village’ development of chalet-style apartment blocks. Nowadays Meribel-Village links into the main Meribel ski area via a four-seater chair-lift.
The principal Meribel settlement is simply called Meribel and sprawls up a west-facing hillside from 1,400m to 1,750m. The key parts of Meribel proper, which are linked by a free shuttle bus service, are, in ascending order, Centre, Altitude 1600, Plateau de Morel and Belvedere. (Another separate group of buildings is clustered around the Altiport at 1,700m.) This is the place that most people think of when they talk about Meribel ski holidays and it is arguably the prettiest post-war purpose-built resort in Europe, largely thanks to its Scottish founder, Colonel Peter Lindsay. Before World War Two Lindsay had skied extensively in the Austrian Tyrol and had been much impressed by the pretty wooden chalets he found there. Consequently, when he became involved in the early development of Meribel, he modelled much of it on what he had seen in Austria. So while other new French resorts were being built in rather unattractive raw concrete, Meribel began as a collection of wooden chalets and it is to this style of architecture that it has fortunately remained faithful right up to the present day.
Visitors to this main cluster of Meribel settlements, however, do need to bear in mind that they are situated one above the other on a mountainside. Getting between them all during the day using skis and lifts is not too hard, but by night you can face a lot of steep walking unless you use your car (but parking is hard to find) or the shuttle bus service (never quite frequent enough). By contrast Meribel is an ideal place for those who prefer to remain in a chalet of an evening and make their own entertainment.
At the end of the road up the Meribel valley, past the pretty little village of La Rosiere, lies Meribel-Mottaret, or simply Mottaret, as it is more usually referred to these days. It is at an altitude of 1,700m, which means it gets better natural snow-cover than Meribel itself, but it is architecturally much less distinguished, being a collection of large hotels and apartment blocks.
Most chalet holidays and hotel holidays packaged by operators other than ourselves include in the price return charter flights and coach transfers to the resort. Many regional departure airports are also available. Please enquire for details. Additionally, many tour operators offer the option of rail travel to French resorts either by daytime or overnight Eurostar or overnight Snowtrain.
For clients travelling on tailor-made holidays with Ski Solutions A La Carte we are able to offer a wide range of scheduled flights from a variety of UK airports to suit personal preferences with such carriers as:
Swiss for Geneva or Zurich British Airways for Lyons, Geneva, Zurich, Salzburg, Turin or Venice There are several low-cost carriers which have widened the choice of departure points and destinations in particular from Birmingham, Bristol and Edinburgh which we are happy to book on your behalf as well as other scheduled airlines.
Easyjet for Geneva, Basle, Zurich, Innsbruck, Salzburg, Lyons, Grenoble, Turin, Milan or Venice Ryanair for Salzburg, Friedrichschafen, Basle, Grenoble or Turin as well as Globespan , flybmi and Flybe.
Onward transfers to resorts are by hire car, taxi, train (Switzerland and Austria) or scheduled bus service as appropriate. For French resorts we are able to offer the popular daytime Eurostar service which runs weekly on Saturdays.
|Lower Depth:||32 cm||Piste Conditions:||Great skiing thanks to the recent snowfalls|
|Upper Depth:||170 cm||Runs to Resort:||Excellent|
|Fresh snow depth:||20 cm||Off-Piste:||Tracked|
|Best Snowfall week||29-Dec-2014||01-Feb-2016||26-Dec-2016 (8%)|
|Best Base week||02-Mar-2015||07-Mar-2016||20-Feb-2017 (8%)|
Cross Country:33km in the Meribel Valley
The Trois Vallees offers some of the best skiing in the world served by fast, modern lifts.
The constantly improving lift system here, which incorporates many high-speed detachable quad chair-lifts and the six-seater high-speed detachable chair-lift whichreplaced the old Adretchair-lift (which runs from below the Rond Point des Pistes area up towell above the mid-station of the Burgin-Sauliretelecabine) - works like a dream and queues are pretty rare. Nowadays good Meribel-based skiers can be at the farthest extents either of the Courchevel ski area, on one side of them, or of the Val Thorens area, on the other side of them, in an hour or so.
The standard of piste maintenance in the Trois Vallees is arguably the best in Europe and most of the key slopes in the Meribel valley are equipped with snow-making systems. The area offers world class cruising terrain that is ideal for intermediates upwards, but there are also plenty of challenges for expert skiers. The size of this area means that you can get a real sense of satisfaction at having travelled a long distance on skis.
Highlights of the Meribel valley include the 1,000 vertical metres red (almost black) Combe du Vallon run down from the 2,950m top of the Mont Vallon telecabine, the red runs under the Cote Brune chairlift and the La Face piste which was the Women's Downhill course in the 1992 Winter Olympics. (A fast six-seater chairlift at Plan des Mains, from the bottom of Mont Vallon up to the Plattieres telecabin makes getting back to Meribel or Courchevel from Mont Vallon or Val Thorens much easier and faster.)
The Burgin telecabine runs up to the Saulire summit (2,739m) from where there is easy access to the Combe de la Saulire in the Courchevel sector, where the snow is almost always in perfect condition. On the other side of the Meribel valley the Tougnete telecabine takes you up to 2,434m, from where you can ski either towards Les Menuires and Val Thorens or towards the pretty old village of Saint Martin de Belleville, which is an ideal lunch spot.
Althoughthe full Trois Vallees connections are not always guaranteed outside the main season, thanks to its superior altitude Meribel-Mottaret is a better option for earlier in December or later in April, as are Courchevel or Val dIsere.
Notes on skiing in the belleville valley.
The biggest attraction of the skiing in the Val Thorens area of the Belleville valley is its altitude. There is a huge variety of pistes for all levels of skier between 2,000m and 3,200m. The height of these runs means that virtually throughout the whole season skiers and boarders can usually be guaranteed magnificent user-friendly snow, with very few problems from slush and ice. The most famous and spectacular runs at Val Thorens are the red and the black pistes that lie beneath the massive Cime de Caron cable car. However there is also some very good skiing to be had in the Peclet area, which is served by a very efficient jumbo telecabine. The Moraine chair-lift gives access to some pleasant blue cruising runs. The Plein Sud chairlift, which is crucial in providing access to the Meribel valley, is now a new high-speed detachable six-seater chairlift. Nowadays Val Thorenss ski area is linked up to the Maurienne valley, which is sometimes referred to as the fourth valley. A chairlift runs from Plan Bouclet (2,300m) up to the Col de Rosael, close to the Cime de Caron and there are both red and blue runs down to its base.
Not a huge selection: many of the best mountain eating places lie in adjacent valleys.
The Meribel valley is surprisingly short of good mountain restaurants, although there are plenty in the Trois Vallees as a whole. The Roc Tania is a good newish little restaurant on the Col de la Loze ridge between Meribel and Courchevel, while Le Bouc Blanc is a decent establishment at the top of the La Tania telecabin that does a fine steak tartare and a very good Genepi digestif. Les Cretes at the top of the Tougnete telecabin is a friendly little mountaintop restaurant that serves the best Tartiflette in the region. Le Chalet de Togniat, at the top of the Combes chair lift above Mottaret, is good, as is the Adray Telebar, on the edge of the piste just below the Rond Point. Les Rhododendrons does a very good hot chocolate and offers good views of the slopes for skier watching with the added bonus of being close to the Rhodos bubble in case you have one too many vins chauds. The Chardonnet, at the mid-station of the Pas du Lac gondola is a great choice if your main priority is getting a good suntan.
Hotel restaurants are another lunchtime option, albeit a more expensive one. The Hotel Allodis, on the edge of the piste at Belvedere, is a good choice either indoors or out on the terrace, while the Altiport Hotel does a good buffet on its terrace and also serves an excellent steak tartare. Other hotel options include La Marie Blanche, Le Yeti and Le Grand Coeur.
NOTES ON MOUNTAIN RESTAURANTS IN THE BELLEVILLE VALLEY
Up at Val Thorens, the Bar de la Marine on the Cascade piste is a good service restaurant with an amusing nautical theme. The Chalet de Genepi below the Moraine chair-lift has an open fire inside and good views from its sunny terrace. Les Chalets du Thorens has a huge terrace and is one of the best-value eating places in the area, while over in the fourth valley, the Plan Bouchet refuge has a great ambience and its sheltered terrace gets the sun all day long. Several of the hotels in Val Thorens itself serve lunches on their terraces.
Saint-Martin de Belleville is a good destination for lunch and most of the hotels here have terraces. For a fairly French atmosphere try the tiny Le Lachenal, just by the church, or the Etoile des Neiges with its attractive terrace. For a more anglophone experience try Brewskis. On the slopes, Les Corbeleys, close to the top of the first chair-lift is a rustic farm that serves classic Savoyarde dishes. For a truly gastronomic Michelin-starred lunch take the off-piste route down to the hamlet of Saint-Marcel and head for La Bouitte - the restaurant will send a minibus to pick you up from the roadside at Saint-Martin if conditions are not good enough to ski to the door.
A rather limited choice.
Since most Meribel visitors tend to eat in their chalets or hotels, the resort is relatively short of good restaurants, although the Tourist Office lists almost 50 establishments. Chez Kiki is a resort institution, has a rustic ambience, does excellent grilled meats and stays open until the early hours during busy periods.
Les Enfants Terribles is on the site of the old Jardin d'Hiver. British-run, it offers an eclectic menu of modern French dishes that make an interesting change from all the usual Savoyarde fare. La Cava up at the Rond Point is good for fondues and other cheese dishes. Les Tremplins in the centre of town does very good pizzas and great vin chaud while Kouisena does wonderful food in abundance in a traditional Savoyard atmosphere with oak beams and fire places - for chalet holiday makers this restaurant is a good option for the night that the chalet staff have off. The popular old favourite, Le Plantin has been completely rebuilt and is now run by new owners and feedback is good. Cro-Magnon is worth a try for typical regional cuisine, as is the Croix Jean-Claude down in Les Allues. La Tsaretta, also in Les Allues, is an agreeable bar/restaurant under new British management and featuring a team who spend the summer running a restaurant in Skiathos. For those who just want a good, simple snack, Le Saint Amour is a very agreeable railway carriage-style wine bar that serves good simple snacks of dried sausage and cheese. Some of the hotels also open their dining rooms to non-residents, of course. If all else fails, theres always a branch of Pizza Express in the Moussillon area of the resort where you can get a reliable American Hot.
You will find yourself with more than a little choice for a good night out when the sun goes down. Meribel has a great variety of pubs and clubs to keep those who still have the energy after a day on the slope entertained well into the night.
Meribar, which is located right by the Chaudanne lifts is ideal for when you have finished skiing for the day and serves reasonable priced drinks and has live music and comedy.
Taverne bar is one of Meribel's oldest bars and is situated in the heart of Meribel. You can enjoy live music at apres ski, happy hour and sport shown on the big screen. Le Pub, which is opposite Taverne and open till 2am each night offers live music performance on most nights and is popular especially among the seasonnaires and younger visitors to the resort.
In Meribel, The Dicks Tea Bar bar Discotheque has become O'Sullivans, but its still a very popular place with the younger set, and often has famous DJ's appearing. It is open till 5.30am and it gets very lively, esecially after Le Pub closes.
Jacks Bar has been home to some of the biggest and most memorable apres ski parties in town for over 15 years. It's famous for its welcoming staff, great service and a friendly atmosphere. You can dig into jugs of beer, live music, pizzas, cocktails, free pool table, live sport and stand up comedy. Next to Jack's is Evos which has a similar feel, but is a smaller venue, often used for intimate music performances of up and coming musicians.
These are onyl a few samples of the fantastic nightlife on offer in Meribel. It certainly seems that no-one will be short on entertainment when visiting Meribel.