An explanation of these two sister resorts by a long-term seasonnaire-become-local.
Carol explains in very few words why she has lived in Meribel for so long: “It’s an incredible setting”.
Carol arrived in Meribel in the year 2000, exactly 18 years ago and has spent 17 of those working for Magic in Motion ski school (now Oxygene) in Meribel. Like all young seasonnaires she lived her first few seasons enjoying the party scene and the pistes to the maximum. She made the most of every powder day on the slopes and hint of a party in the local bars and restaurants. She became a Meribel aficionado, enraptured by its charms. Today, Carol is giving us her perception of the two areas of the resort known collectively as the ‘Heart of the 3 Valleys’.
Meribel centre: Great for partying and for not wasting a second of your stay.
Despite the fact that Meribel Centre is popular amongst families for its friendly, bubbly atmosphere, the centre of the resort is also a mecca for those looking to party apres-ski-style.
From December to April, it is hard to find a day where calm is the order of the day in Meribel centre. With numerous bars on the slopes and in the town centre but also in the surrounding villages that make up the resort (such as Meribel Village and Les Allues), you will find live music gigs, themed nights and more. British skiers have made Meribel their home which is in evidence when you cross the thresholds of bars like Evolution, La Taverne, Jack’s Bar, Barometer or the Pub and Scott’s. If the atmosphere in these bars isn’t for you, head for a less British style establishment such as the Abreuvoir or the new, more relaxed tapas bar, Copina.
Meribel resort itself doesn’t hold back either, putting on lots of events for adults as well as children, particularly on the snowfront where you can catch firework displays, torchlight descents, music groups, mime artists and more. Meribel is also home to a wide range of gastronomic restaurants to suit a range of budgets. And whilst in Meribel why not discover the Altiport area where you can find beautifully groomed cross-country and snow-shoeing tracks that wind their way through the forest. It is a beautiful area to explore amongst friends or with your loved ones.
Generally speaking however, if you are looking for a more relaxed family atmosphere Carol’s advice is to head to Meribel Mottaret.
Meribel Mottaret: where you can take the time to savour every moment
The accommodation in Mottaret is geared more towards families with plenty of self-catered apartments and family-friendly hotels. In Mottaret, the clientele is more often French and the atmosphere is generally calmer than in Meribel centre. There are several gastronomic restaurants but there are also more affordable options where you can order some of the specialities of the region.
Mottaret is great for kids having one of the best beginner areas in the resort – the Yeti Park – where kids can learn to ski on a long but gentle green piste with lots of little attractions to make learning fun including little whoops, bells to hit with their ski poles, mini slalom sections etc. Getting to the beginner zone is easy with the covered magic carpet and as they progress they can take the chairlift to the higher section of the slope.
The peak of Mottaret’s tranquility can be found away from the centre of resort and its slopes. Carol recommends you take an afternoon off your skis to cruise around the Tueda lake either on snow-shoes or on cross-country skis. “It is another way to make the most of the sense of calm the mountains have to offer and take in the stillness of the beautiful landscapes” says Carol.
Although Mottaret is generally calmer there are a couple of night clubs where the seasonnaires and holiday-makers can dance along to the latest hits mixed by local DJs.
Carol – in a few words, can you tell us why people should choose to come to Meribel?
- Geographically Meribel is located in the central valley of the 3 Valleys ski area meaning that every day of your stay you can ski into a different resort, discover what there is to offer and make it back to Meribel in time to make the most of the apres-ski entertainment and the great restaurants. The proximity of the other resorts within the 3 Valleys is a huge selling point.
- Families are really welcomed to Meribel and children always leave their lessons smiling from ear to ear, proud to receive their achievement medal at the end of week medal ceremony after their ski lessons with Oxygene.
- Meribel is known as the ‘sunny resort’ with the sun hitting most of the slopes most of the day. From March spring skiing in Meribel is a real treat.
After 18 years in Meribel are you still making the most of the slopes and the activities on offer?
Of course! It is true to say that I spend less time at apres-ski than I used to but I do go to the bars like the Folie Douce from time to time and whenever I have time off work I ski or head to the swimming pool and I always make the most of the beautiful views, which despite not having changed much in 18 years, still look incredible and always bring a smile to my face.