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Méribel Family Holidays & Breaks

Boys snowboarding Boys snowboarding © MERIBEL TOURISME - Jean-Maurice GOUEDARD
Hiking in summerHiking in summer© MERIBEL TOURISME - Jean-Maurice GOUEDARD
Ski schoolSki schoolDavid Andre
The Rond Point, meeting point of several runsThe Rond Point, meeting point of several runs© MERIBEL TOURISME - Jean-Maurice GOUEDARD
Flying Time 1.75hrs
Carbon Footprint 0.72 CO2
Timezone GMT +1
Currency Euro

Today

Overview

Slap-bang in the heart of the Three Valleys along with Courchevel, Val Thorens and Les Menuires, Méribel is connected to its neighbours by a vast network of ski-lifts giving access to more than 600km of piste, which means there’s something for everyone, from pros to families with absolute beginners. And year on year, Méribel is becoming more child-friendly, as the growing number of those returning here for family holidays testifies. 

The skiing is superb (you can easily ski all three valleys), the resort is constantly updating its facilities, and the après-ski is pretty good too, with plenty of bars and restaurants where you can treat the kids to a hot chocolate in a room with a view. 

But don’t ignore Meribel outside of the ski season – once the snow melts, there’s arguably even more to do than in winter. 

Things to do with kids in Meribel

Ski. Of 275 runs in this vast area, 101 are easy, 146 intermediate and 28 difficult. Beginners have a choice of gentle slopes close to Méribel itself, while intermediate and advanced skiers can look forward to an extensive and challenging network of slopes, including some very long runs such as the 5km Combe du Vallon. Snowboarders and cross-country skiers are well catered for, too.

Go snow-shoeing, parasailing, snow-biking or take a scenic helicopter flight over the mountains. There’s also an Olympic ice-skating rink, a huge swimming pool and a bowling alley. For something postcard-picturesque, take kids for a spin in a horse-drawn sleigh.

Have a mooch around cosmopolitan Méribel with its boutiques, cafés, bars and restaurants. The twice-weekly market has a fabulous array of cheeses, cured meats and gifts. 

In summer, head for the adventure park in the Bois d’Arbin, with four circuits of varying difficulty and a mini-course for over-2s, and try out archery at the school in La Chaudanne. With over-8s, try canyoning or hydrospeed. There are also tennis courts (some kid-sized) and indoor and outdoor rock-climbing.

With hikes to suit everyone (pick up a booklet of recommended circuits from the tourist office), pack a picnic and head out. Or hire mountain-bikes and set out with a trail map covering all three valleys (also from the tourist office).

Take over-5s to horse-ride at the Club Hippique du Bois d’Arbin. Or leap in a hot-air balloon, with flights lasting 1–2hrs depending on the wind (dress warmly). Kids need to be tall enough to see over the edge of the basket.

Eat

If you're staying in a chalet or hotel, dinner is usually included and child-friendly. If you want a change, or are self catering, there are about 70 restaurants and bars in town, plus about 40 more on the slopes. Food is generally hearty and warming, but it's never cheap, whether it’s mediocre or top-of-the-range. Expect plenty of cheese (fondue is popular, as is tartiflette – potatoes layered with cheese, cream and pieces of bacon), grills, casseroles and stews, plus delicious pastries. 

When to go to Meribel

Because of its high altitude, the Three Valleys offers good snow cover into spring – the ski season runs mid-Dec–mid-April. For family holidays with younger kids, consider January (cheaper, but very cold) or March (more expensive, but less cold). February half term is both busy and expensive.

Cost

Prices for family holidays in Méribel vary significantly depending on when in the ski season you plan to travel, with school holidays putting more pressure on budgets – during February half term, adults should not expect much change from £1,000 (and you can pay more for real luxury), with ski passes and equipment on top. At other times, prices can be half that.

By Rachelle Keyes

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