The Meribel Valley has much to see and do, not only for the skiers amongst us. If skis or boards are not for you, or you just fancy a day off the mountain then there is plenty on offer here.
Built for the 1992 Albertville Olympics, this centre has been developed into a swimming pool, new spa and gym complex, ten-pin bowling, ice-skating and even a climbing wall. Well worth a visit especially with the family. The ice-rink and pool are free for children under 5yrs.
With a good pair of boots with a grip, you can walk to some of the most beautiful places in the Three Valleys. There are 25km of excellent pedestrian trails in and around Meribel. As a non-skier you can purchase a ‘walker’s pass’ which enables you to enjoy some of Meribel’s finest walks higher up, to take the bubble to the very top to admire the view across the Three Valleys, to take the lifts to Courchevel and to join the rest of your group for a spot of lunch on the mountain. Do ask your chalet staff for a booklet of recommended walks; here are some of our favourite:
The Altiport is easily accessed from our chalets in Meribel Village – you can take the walker’s path that goes from the top of the village, get the bus from Meribel centre or ask our driver to take you up there in the morning. The Altiport is a beautiful spot with walks through the trees and over-looking the valley. Why not end your walk with a drink on the terrace of the Blanchot or soak up the sun in a deckchair at the Altiport Hotel.
Lac Tueda is just beyond Mottaret in the heart of the Tueda Reserve which lies within the Vanoise National Park, http://www.parcnational-vanoise.fr. The reserve is easily reached from Mottaret, only a few minutes’ walk from the bus stop. The reserve is home to a rare and protected evergreen, the Cembro pine, and offers walkers beautiful, untouched scenery. Look out for Marmottes in the later months of the season. There is a small refuge there where you can stop for a Vin Chaud, a cup of coffee or a platter of Savoyard cheese and ham.
The first Alpine settlement you see on your way up to Meribel from Moutiers, Les Allues is a lovely original Savoyard village with narrow streets, beautiful old barns (many converted into luxurious accommodation) and home to the Mairie of the Meribel Valley. There is a path that runs from Le Raffort all the way to Les Allues, and when the snow is not too abundant, this makes a beautiful walk. Ask a member of our team to show you the route! Once there, look out for the old bread oven in the heart of the village; the museum and the beautiful Church are worth a visit.
St Martin de Belleville
At the Chaudanne, buy a walker’s pass from Meribel Alpina and head up on the Tougnete bubble. You can then ‘down load’ on the St Martin chairlift and bubble and will find yourself in the heart of the village of St Martin de Belleville. This pretty village in the Val Thorens valley is well worth visiting with several of our favourite restaurants.
Courchevel is easily accessed with a walker’s pass as well. Take the brand new Saulire Express bubble to the top; see the AMAZING panoramic views from the top before hopping on the ‘James Bond’ cable car down in to Courchevel 1850. Once there, wander round the expensive boutiques or sit and have a café enjoying the ultimate people watching!
If you wanted to be a bit more adventurous with your walking, then this is a great way to experience what the area has to offer. A half-day excursion starts from €21.50 with the ESF, but we also have a couple of pairs available at the chalets. Snowshoeing is relaxing and peaceful way to explore the valleys.
There is also a twice-weekly Meribel market on Tuesdays and Fridays with many stalls displaying a selection of cheeses, cured meats, confectionary, array of sweets that makes the eyes boggle and the occasional clothing bargain.