Hello from Meribel if you hadn’t guessed already. I’ve been out here since the start of December and will be through until the end of April working in a ski chalet.
I’m a chalet host which means I do all of the serving of breakfast and dinner to guests as well as the daily cleaning and upkeep of the chalet alongside my manager and chef. The company I work for is solely based in Méribel. I thought I’d chat about what it’s like to live in Méribel, other than just the awesome skiing of the Three Valleys (the linked ski area of Meribel, Courchevel & Val Thorens).
One of the biggest factors for many seasonaires has to be NIGHTLIFE. Meribel nightlife is pretty good, you can find a band and DJs on somewhere in town nearly every night of the week all season. Whether you want a cosy casual pub feel or your equivalent to spoons in the alps there are options. New to Méribel this year is the cocktail bar Copina if you’re feeling a little more civilised and wanting to splash the cash further than your €5 seasonaire discount G&T.
Which leads me on to Seasonaire Cards, for €10 you get a card which is discount for La Taverne (Tav), Rond Point (Ronnies), Sullys (the nightclub) and Brewers Den. It reduces a G&T from 7.50 to €5 which is money well saved! This is also for 40ml spirit instead of 25ml which you get back in England!
There is also a card for Scott’s Bar & Doron Pub aka Pub, this is €5 or €10 and you get points for your spending which you can redeem in drinks at the end of the season.
For me, I’d choose apres over a night out any day, afternoon drinking and still be in bed by 8 pm, THE DREAM! You’ve got 3 places for apres, the famous La Folie Douce, The Rond Point (Ronnies) or Lodge Du Village (LDV).
Folie is definitely filled with punters more than seasonaires, it has a show twice a day with a Dj and musicians, dancers in costumes and live singers, it’s a full-on performance! If you want to dance on tables in the sunshine then you need to go Folie! It’s situated right in the middle of the mountain so it’s a great sun trap with insane mountain views. It’s typically busy from 3 until 5 pm when it closes. It’s also next door to the Saulire Gondola so you can get a lift up and down, ideal if you aren’t a skier!
Ronnies is the popular seasonaire apres spot, it’s typically busy from 4:30 until 7, people tend to Folie and then head to Ronnies when it closes. Ronnies has live bands most days, drinks are a lot cheaper than Folie and it’s much more relaxed and casual but still occasional dancing on the tables. The one thing people always come away talking about it the slide to the toilets, you can find it next to the outdoor stage. After Ronnies, you can either ski down or very conveniently get the bus or taxi from just outside if you’re a little bit too tiddled by then to safely make the descent down the mountain.
Lodge Du Village – aka LDV is also pretty big for apres, located down in Meribel Village you can either ski to it or get the free ski bus A. LDV is pretty cosy and has an outside and inside bar with bands and DJs. Drinks are really reasonable and they do a special of €15 for 1KG of chicken wings.
Shopping, or should I say what shopping?
Méribel is not the place for shopping, so I’ve you need or want something I recommend shopping online. Méribel is renowned for being overpriced (as most ski resorts are). In the town centre, there are plenty of ski hire shops selling ski gear and touristy tatt, but if you’re needing anything not mountain related you won’t find it.
There are 2 spar supermarkets in Méribel so you can get any toiletries you need but be warned the prices are steep for what you’re getting. A 50ml Nivea moisturiser will set you back €7 which is beyond a rip off! So plan ahead and stock up in advance!
The shops are aimed at wealthy tourists or silly ones that have forgotten something and have no other option. My advice would stay clear of the town centre shops and go online.
I’ve found it handy using ASOS or Selfridges as you can pay £10 for unlimited express delivery for a year, anywhere in Europe! So the one-off payment enables you to get what you need at normal prices!
But what if I don’t want to Ski? Just because you’re living in a ski resort doesn’t mean you’ll want to ski every day. I’ve had plenty of days when the weather hasn’t been ideal if you just don’t feel like getting up the mountain so I’ve been searching for other things to do.
Idea 1. Swim or Gym. The Olympic centre in Méribel has a gym, pool and spa.
The prices are as follows.
€4.50 for Adult pool entry.
€12 for gym entry.
€14 for gym and pool entry.
€6 for Adult spa entry (pool, sauna & steam rooms) Treatments are available.
Idea 2. Méribel Mottaret Lake, just 5 minutes from Méribel Centre is Mottaret. It’s like a village where there are plenty of places to eat or have coffee be also a lake.
It’s the perfect place to go for a long walk, there are signposted organised walking routes/trails that are all different lengths depending on what you want. It’s also a great place for taking a picnic or your book for a bit of peace and quiet. Plus is beautiful. From Meribel centre, you can get a free bus to Mottaret.
Idea 3. Courchevel.
Using just 3 lifts you can get into Courchevel on food and yes without skis. Courchevel has a far bigger shop selection than Méribel and as you get off the lift and next to the piste in Courchevel 1850 you’ll walk past Louis Vuitton, Moncler, Fendi, Dior and further down the street you’ll reach Prada, Valentino and Laudree. Even just for a browse, it’s nice to stroll around the calm pretty streets and have a hot choc in the sunshine on the snow. As a food passenger, it’ll cost you €10 for a day lift pass.
Take the Saulire Gondola from La Chaudanne to the top, then get into the Saulire to Courchevel Gondola down the mountain, and then when you exit that lift station, get the gondola to your left. That gets you to 1850.
Idea 4. Sledging. Whatever your age sledging can be fun, Méribel has a couple of designated sledging areas because heading down the piste with the skiers could be terrifying and dangerous!
Mission Black Forest the sledge run begins at the top of the Tougnette 1 Gondola from La Chaudanne. It costs €12 for one person decent which includes a sledge or if you’re in a group of 4 it will cost you €9 pp.
Food & Beverage.
Meribel has some great options for what you eat so I thought I’d list my favourite places.
In the centre a popular spot is Arctic Cafe, specialising in tasty healthy light lunches, smoothies and juices. Whenever I feel like I’m low on vitamins or need some fruit and veg in my life it’s where I go. My favourite smoothie is ‘The ultimate Iron Man’ and ‘Get Sexy’ is a great juice.
Afternoon tea is a big favourite of mine back at home, I drink gallons of tea each day and any excuse for cake is right up my street. Tom & I recently went to The Kaila Hotel for Afternoon Tea, it’s €24 for a hot drink and whatever you pick from the Kart of delicious pastries and sweet things or €42 for a glass of champagne, a hot drink and your choice from the kart. The bar lounge is so comfortable and a great way to kill a few hours with the best cakes!
Another firm favourite is the famous Méribel slope side spot of Le Clos Bernard. It’s tucked away in the trees just off of the Altiport Runs it’s the cute quaint restaurant. Serving traditional French food from the region and meats on the grill it’s a big favourite of everyone who goes. If you just want a drink you can sit by the fire outside with a great mountain view.
I went to Clos for Christmas Day lunch and Valentine’s Day dinner (last night) and it was really delicious and memorable, if you go in the evening you can get a horse-drawn sleigh or walk up through the trees lit by lanterns. It’s so cute and due to the being no light pollution you could see the moon and stars so clearly, it was so picturesque.
Chez Bif aka Mountain Burger. Meribel Mottaret.
Most mountainside restaurants do burgers, I’m not talking about them. Chez Bif does the burger of all burgers, inside half a huge loaf of bread you get the tastiest burger (choose between chicken or beef) for €10 including a drink for seasonaires. So if you’re wanting a filling but casual lunch head to Chez Bif. They don’t have any seating but there’s plenty of space near to sit on the snow so pick a sunny day and its the dream.
I hope this has been a little insight into Méribel life, I’ve not talked about the skiing at all but you should know already that the Three Valleys is an awesome ski area and I’d 100% recommend doing a season in Meribel.