Nestled among the Allues Valley in the picturesque French Alps is the idyllic resort of Meribel. More than a ski resort, Meribel is a friendly and welcoming area with stunning scenery. The name Meribel comes from the Latin 'mirare bellum', which means ‘the point where the view is beautiful’. The magical and elegant landscape is mostly heavy wooded areas and beautiful crisp white snowscapes.
With views of the iconic Mont Blanc and villages with authentic chalets and lodges tucked between the fir trees, it is not hard to see why this picture-postcard part of the world is a favourite with the masses of Brits who visit each winter, causing it to be dubbed ‘Little England upon the Alps’.
During the upcoming winter season, running from December 2018 right through to April 2019, Meribel will be celebrating 80 years as a ski resort. This makes the upcoming season the perfect time to look into buying a property in Meribel. Chalets and apartments in Meribel tend to sell for anything between €800,000 and €1,500,000, and there are a plethora of recently renovated modern apartment complexes, as well as internal investment, making Meribel the ideal location to buy a property.
Living in Meribel and things to do
There are currently around 2,000 permanent inhabitants living in Meribel. Winter season runs from December through to April each year, when you’ll find the resort is busiest with tourists and holidaymakers making the most of the snowy landscape and excellent winter sporting facilities. Once the snow has melted, there are still plenty of things to do for all ages, such as horseback riding and pony lead walks which are ideal for young children. Plus, the well-established Vanoise National park and nature reserve is open throughout the year and offers free entry. Currently, there are 120 pairs of breeding birds and 20 golden eagles among the park's residents.
If nature isn’t your cup of tea there is also a cinema, a bowling alley and a variety of sporting facilities offering everything from swimming pools and saunas to yoga and exercise classes. There are a number of children's play areas and even an impressive climbing wall listed in the Meribel resort guide.
The villages of Meribel also have thriving shopping areas consisting of designer boutiques, sporting goods stores and places to enjoy a bite to eat.
Medical facilities are also located within the resort consisting of the Meribel Mottaret medical centre, the Albertville Moutiers hospital and even an optician. Everything you could possibly need is located here: a launderette, convenience food stores and cash points.
Winter season begins each December. The resort is located between 1,600 to 1,700 metres high in altitude, and according to an annual snow report, Meribel residents experience an average snowfall of approximately 469cm over 33 days. So, a busy season is guaranteed!
Offering a generous 67 ski runs (the longest being 1.2km) and a total of 45 lifts, many enjoying new investment, you can see why this is such a popular resort for skiing, snowboarding and cross-country skiing. If winter sports aren’t for you, you can see the magical landscape by a horse-drawn sleigh ride, perfect over the festive season.
Meribel and culture
Meribel offers so much more than just winter sports. With residents living there throughout the year, it really is an area of cultural interest.
The local museum located in Meribel traces the history and heritage of the area. From a glance at how life was prior to becoming a ski resort when Meribel was mostly farmland through to a collection of photographs depicting its transformation into a thriving ski resort.
In the neighbouring village of Les Allues lies the St Martin church featuring an exquisite altarpiece and curly columns with stunning artwork throughout. This is an important addition to the area and is open Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Meribel is home to artists and art lovers alike. The neighbouring resort of Courchevel holds an exhibition called 'Art on the mountain top' which features sculptures situated around the resort.
Investment potential In Meribel
Meribel is thriving and continually updates its facilities. A key area of investment in Meribel is property, including a mixture of lodges, luxury ski apartments and hotels, with much being let out during the peak winter season (Dec-April) when accommodation is in high demand. However, Meribel is a beautiful place year-round, so there is potential for returns throughout the summer too. As a village with permanent residents, there is also the option of investing in retail and culinary outlets.
Beyond property, €15 million is currently being invested into a programme of facelifts, including two new high-speed chairlifts in the Roc de Fer area. These encompass a replacement of the Cherferie draglift which speeds skiers to the summit in just four minutes, plus a premium chairlift replacement at La Chaudanne which includes shields and thermal seating.
The investment also extends to a refurbished eight-seater Mont Vallon gondola and an extension of the piste de l’ours, or nature piste, which is a draw for wildlife lovers. A new eating area with luxury details is set to open at the summit of Roc de Tougne at Trappers Cabin, with captivating views of Mont Blanc.
The fruits of past investment can be seen across Meribel, including new ski lifts at New Roc de Tougnete and for beginners at Rond-Point, as well as huge expansions to the Altiport reservoir that allow more snow canons to be distributed throughout Alpina’s slopes. The latest activities include the Mission Black Forest 3.4 km toboggan run, which is open seven days a week, the expansion of the family-friendly Inuit Village and Elements Park, as well as a host of free family events which run throughout the season.
Transport to Meribel
Getting to the resort is easy. The closest airport is Lyon (France) which is 1hr 45 minutes away. Lyon airport has an excellent public bus service directly from the airport to Meribel via Moutiers. A regular train service also runs between Lyon and Moutiers, which is just 20 minutes away.
For those who intend on getting a coach, it is easier to fly to Geneva airport where a regular bus service runs, provided by Altibus. Alternatively, many wish to hire a car for their trip, in which case Chambery airport is recommended as it is then a short drive to Meribel.
By rail, both the Eurostar and TGV train service run to Moutiers, where travellers can then catch a bus for the short journey to Meribel.
Many people choose to drive the entire journey themselves, especially if transporting heavy ski sporting equipment. In which case, Meribel is accessed via the A43 Motorway which is a 45-minute drive from the resort. It is worth noting during the winter season that the roads through the Alps are known to be treacherous, so a 4-wheel drive is the safest option (or snow chains at the very least).
With good transport links, a thriving community and a plethora of sporting facilities, plus the annual winter season ski facilities, it is as clear to see why buying property in Meribel is the perfect investment.