In 1938 Scottish Solider Peter Lindsey came upon Meribel and recognised its potential immediately.
Returning in 1946, aided by architect Christian Durupt he accomplished that foresight and Meribel was built, he would be proud of the established ski haven, Meribel it is today. To ensure that Meribel village still retains it's Savoyard style and charm, strict guidelines were adhered to, and even today Meribel chalets are built from local stone, slate and wood. The Meribel Chalets will also remain being built this way.
In Meribel you will find something for everyone, although maintaining a village atmosphere Meribel has developed into a cosmopolitan and friendly resort, with many fine bars and a couple of nightclubs please see our Apres-ski, shopping, indoor and outdoor activities. You will also find a variety of live music; however look no further than here for detailed information on what night life can be found in Meribel.
There are a number of great restaurants ranging for something as simple as pizza to Michelin Starred. Again, something lively can be found or even romantic and charming, you will also find traditional Savoyard cuisine in many of the restaurants.
Meribel boasts an indoor swimming pool, climbing wall, Ice rink, karting on ice, fitness centre with various hotels and bowling. Outdoor activities include a sightseeing flights from the Altiport area, try taking off on a plane with ski's, snow-mobiling, snow-shoe excursions - a lot of fun taking in the wildlife, paragliding, dog-sledging, hot-air ballooning and paintball (both limited times). See our Non Skiers Page.
Hitler's decision to annex Austria in 1938 many that British skiers no longer visited the slopes of Kitzbuhel and St. Anton. Consequently they sought out alternatives in France. Amongst them was a young Scot, Peter Lindsay. He immediately recognised the potential of this charming valley, and set up a company with a group of friends to develop a ski resort. The first lift, a 31-seated fixed-rope sled was installed in 1938 above the village of Les Allues. The first hotel and chalet construction started in 1939 at a place known locally as Meribel, from the Roman name "Mira Bellum" meaning beautiful view. The contribution of the locals cannot be overlooked. Many sold their land to make room for development of the resort. Others made deals, exchanging valuable lands and properties for concessions.
After the war he returned to finish the job he had started. He called in a young Parisian architect, Christian Durupt, who along with Paul Jacques Grillo began to develop the resort. They felt it essential to maintain the existing authenticity of the Savoyard resort. Only wood and stone were used for the main body of the structures and mountain slate for the sloping roofs. To this day Meribel owes its beauty and charm to such foresight, and it is this above all that sets it aside from the majority of purpose built resorts. At the ripe old age of 87, Christian is still active in the continuing growth of Meribel.
1950 saw the opening of the link with Courchevel, via the Burgin Saulire Telecabine and 10 years later the Tougnete Telecabine was opened to complete the link into the three valleys. In 1972 Mottaret was first opened. Built on what was originally marshland, the rationale behind this annex was to maintain the style of Meribel, albeit via a rather more modern interpretation, but to allow visitors to ski and ski from their door.
During the 1992 Albertville Games, Meribel hosted 52 of 122 events. Visitors now benefit from the improved facilities this huge investment has made. The venue for the ice hockey competition, Le Patinoire, is now open for the public to use. New lifts were built including the Olympic bubble linking Brides-Les-Bains, and the Villages of Les Allues, Raffort and with a short walk Meribel Village, the La Chaudanne. New ski runs were also created such as the woman's downhill course, La Face, on the slopes of the Roc de Fer.
When Christian Durupt arrived in Meribel, on 1st March 1946, there was only one chalet, 60 years on there are over 40,000 beds in the valley. This development was slow, but constant. Construction had to follow strict technical specifications. The roofs had to be angled at 30, and only wood and stone were allowed as building materials. Even now the commune still adheres to strict application of these guidelines, first laid down by Peter Lindsay and Christian Durupt. This is why Meribel and the Meribel Chalets are such a striking resort in comparison to many others. Peter Lindsay spent 25 years striving to achieve his vision; reconciling his love of the area and his respect for Mother Nature.
Today the Meribel Valley alone boasts over 35,000 beds. The statistics speak for themselves. Were Peter Lindsay around today, he would surely afford himself a smile at a job well done.