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The magical ski resort of Méribel remains as popular as ever


Thinking of skiing in France? Chances are locations such as Meribel, Val d’Isere and Courcheval will be right up there amongst your shortlist of possible ski destinations. Meribel like the other top ski resorts in France has been growing in popularity each year as it not only becomes more accessible with daily cheap flights from the UK to nearby Chambery or Grenoble but also because it is a resort that is constantly improving itself.

Each year a vast budget is put aside to create new ski runs in the area and improve the runs and ski lifts that already exist meaning that its visitors not only get the very best snow conditions that its location brings but also the best service. The resort is also very eco-conscious and have made sure that all development to do with infrastructure of the village is done with high regard for the environment. They even go so far as to make the chairlift cables more visible to birds to prevent them flying into them and erecting the pylons in the natural rock as supposed to creating huge concrete bases for them- they are little things but they all count. When you visit this village you also notice that all architecture is in the same “Savoyard” style so that every building you see is built from stone and wood, neatly blending into its natural surroundings.

The village of Meribel itself is at 1450m but the resort extends to as high as 1750m at the Meribel-Mottaret end and its ski lifts take you to a height of 3000m which pretty much guarantees you great skiing throughout the season. Meribel forms part of the famous “Trois vallees” ski area linking Meribel with Val Thorens, Courcheval and Les Menuires creating 600km of fantastic skiing with something for every level. A healthy amount of snowfall is achieved each year and so keen are the tourists that come here that after a good snowfall they will queue up to get special tickets allowing them access to the fresh powder snow as early as 8am!

A thriving après ski scene with an abundance of shops, restaurants and bars give this village a lively feel both at night and during the day and its many sport and social clubs keep everyone entertained whether you are a non-skier or just need to relax and do something different. Meribel is also very popular during the summer and from late May onwards the countryside becomes awash with colour with walkways leading you from gentle woodland to rugged mountains passing a show of stunning scenery along the way. Plenty of other activities available during this period including golf on its 18 hole golf course as well as mountain biking, riding, tennis, white water rafting, rock climbing, canyoning and clay pigeon shooting.

Just like the popular areas of central London, very limited new building is allowed which means that property prices in Meribel continue to increase by a good 10% per annum as demand for property far outstrips supply and land prices continue to soar. There are no new developments in Meribel and none are planned so to get the best locations in the resort your best bet is to go for totally renovated apartment blocks in central locations. Look for descent sized apartments of at least one bedroom as these will be the most popular and will generally bring in the most consistent rental income as they cater not only for families but also for groups of friends.

Renovation projects in areas like Meribel and Val d’Isere from high quality developers in the area which once finished are often worth more than you paid for them. For instance a current renovation project being carried out in Merribel- Mottaret will produce spacious one bed to three bedroom apartments starting at around 320,000 Euros but which once completed a year later could easily sell for around 350,000 Euros. Alternatively you could of course opt for a cheaper apartment in one of the new or the lesser known ski areas of the Southern Alps or in Hautes-Alpes which are developed to try and alleviate the pressure on resorts such as Meribel. However far smaller ski zones and less consistent ski quality means that the famous resorts are still the best and most sought after by buyers and tourists alike.