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Méribel, France
Great ski-in, ski-out base for the wonderful Three Valleys.
Méribel, France: Beautiful ski-in/ski-out resort in the midst of the Three Valleys

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· France Ski Trips from $1,660
For keen slope-bashers who dislike tacky purpose-built resorts, Méribel is difficult to beat. It is slap in the middle of the Three Valleys - the biggest inter-linked winter sports area in the world. With 200 lifts and 600 km of slopes, and endless off-slope possibilities, it is difficult to be bored in a fortnight here. Fans of Courchevel and Val-Thorens sniff at Méribel's local slopes, but since Mont Vallon and the top of the valley were opened up some years ago, Méribel can stand comparison on most counts.

Méribel is built entirely in tasteful chalet-style, with wood siding everywhere. And the center is very pleasant with raised walkways by the shops above the one-way road. The village has grown rapidly in recent years and now spreads widely over the mountainside. It is very popular with British visitors, many of whom own chalets here. And English can be more commonly heard than French on the slopes and in the bars. It remains decidedly upscale and it's not cheap. But regular visitors love it and wouldn't be seen anywhere else.

Trail map
Town map
click on images for full-size view

What's Great
What's Not-So-Great

+ In the center of the biggest linked slope network in the world - ideal for intermediates who love covering the miles, but plenty for experts, too

+ Modern, constantly improved lift system means little waiting and rapid access to all slopes

+ Good slope grooming and snowmaking

+ Village purpose-built in pleasing chalet-style architecture

Main village spread out, straggling along a long, winding road, with much of the accommodation well away from the slopes

Expensive

Méribel-Mottaret satellite is rather lifeless

Not the place to go for any sensation of being a traveler in France

Not the best snow in the Three Valleys, and trails can get crowded

 

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