The name Meribel is thought to be derived from the Latin word ‘mirare’ which means ‘to look at’ or bel, meaning beautiful.
Sep 18, 2015
The name Meribel is thought to be derived from the Latin word ‘mirare’ which means ‘to look at’ or bel, meaning beautiful. The Tarentaise Valley in the French Alps houses three neighbouring villages that are part of a national park with an interlinked ski system. The village of Meribel was founded by a Scotsman, Colonel Peter Lindsay who was searching fora site to host winter sports other than Austria and Germany due to the increasing political closeness of the two countries.
He visited the town of Les Allues in 1936, built a property company in order to develop the finance needed to build the resort and in 1938 the first ski lift was placed in Les Allues, an undeveloped valley with a perfect altitude and orientation. However war broke out and the development temporarily ceased, becoming a centre for the resistance and occupied by German forces. After the war in 1945 Lindsay returned and continued working on the resort. He worked with a team of architects who stuck to strict building guidelines that incorporated the use of local materials such as wood, slate and stone.
By the mid 1950’s Meribel consisted of 40 chalets, 17 hotels and four ski lifts, with one of the early chalet owners being Brigitte Bardot. Skiing as a sport and recreational activity grew dramatically in the 60’s, the pistes multiplied and the Three Valleys ski area was created. The resort has stayed true to its developers building code, the traditional chalet style isused. Meribels strict adherence to this has meant that traditional charm has been maintained. In 1992, Meribel famously hosted the Women’s Alpine ski events and the ice hockey tournament for the Olympic Games. This in turn resulted in modernisation with new hotels and sports centres being built. The modern infrastructure and traditional charm has meant that this area attracts a cosmopolitan and faithful crowd year in year out.