I’ve just returned from the most amazing ski trip to Méribel in the French Alps. My very dear friend Alexandra and I decided to get away together for a fun break interspersed with a little planning for her forthcoming wedding as I am a bridesmaid and chief cake maker. I really want to share our experiences with you as we had such a super trip.
Méribel is simply the most perfect ski resort – friendly, fun and picture perfect, being a traditional chalet resort. We love France as we both lived there a few years ago – funnily enough at the same time, although we didn’t know each other then. We flew to Geneva from Gatwick and were collected at the airport and driven up to the chalet through beautiful Annecy and up the winding alpine roads, climbing high into the mountains. Our driver Mark brought us a packed lunch for the journey, which was such a welcome touch after a long morning of travelling.
We stayed at Chalet du Vallon, which was the best possible base we could have had for our stay and we would very highly recommend it. Owned by Avery Crest who run a two luxury chalets in Méribel, it is managed by Annie Corcoran, who is the most delightful and helpful hostess and really helped us to get the most out of our stay. The chalet was set over three floors, with our sauna and heated boot room downstairs, a large, open-plan sitting room, kitchen and dining room on the middle floor, and bedrooms upstairs. As you might expect, the views were incredible from every room and we loved waking up to the spectacular views of the mountains in the morning, and sitting down to enjoy a glass of champagne next to the log fire looking out across the village after a day on the slopes.
We were lucky enough to have our own chef in the chalet, Adam Jowett, who is a very accomplished chef having worked in a number of top restaurants back in the UK, and Jess who was there to look after us very well, so we immediately felt very relaxed and in full holiday mode, as really, there was nothing for us to do but ski and enjoy ourselves.
Adam and Annie knew that I was interested in trying some local food, so they went to great efforts to source some fantastic local charcuterie, meat and cheese for us to try, all from the Savoie region. We had some delicious local venison one evening, and a selection of superb local cheeses every night after dinner, including local Beaufort Hiver, Abondance, Tarentaise & St Marcellin. Our breakfasts came fresh from the amazing local bakery; Le Village des Pains (more on that later) which were extraordinarily good, as did our lunch, when we wanted to eat at the chalet. We enjoyed some fantastic homemade quiches made with local cheese and salad, and naturally, everything was washed down with some fantastic French wines, and of course, plenty of champagne. I don’t think I’ve eaten better for so many consecutive days – it was wonderful.
All this merriment was balanced out with plenty of time on the slopes, however. Alexandra and I had an instructor with us the whole time from the École du Ski Français, Claire Radecka, who was the best instructor we could have asked for. We both made huge amounts of progress with her and she was so much fun to be with.
To break up the day, we all stopped (instructors, too) for lunch at Le Blanchot on the slopes which is a great alpine restaurant serving traditional French food and plenty of Savoie specialities in enormous portions in cosy surroundings. Unfortunately, the wine and Génépi were not, for me, conducive to a successful afternoon’s skiing afterwards, but were very enjoyable all the same.
There is something wonderful about the routine of a ski holiday. Every part of the day is so lovely, and my only regret is that we didn’t have more time to relax in the Chalet, use the sauna and just chill, as it was such a lovely base. There simply were not enough hours in the day and we spent all the time we could on the slopes. Fortunately, we didn’t need to spend any time travelling around whilst we were in Méribel though, as the ski lift was just a few steps from the chalet.
There are some great shops, restaurants and bars in Méribel, although we only managed to pop in once to go to a fantastic bar called La Maison. Run by a chic French married couple, it has a wonderfully vintage look to it, which is rare to find in France. They served am excellent selection of delicious Savoyard wines and charcuterie. The bakery in Méribel Village is outstandingly good. Le Village des Pains is run by a lovely couple, and we were lucky enough to have a tour on the last day. A traditional wood-fired oven is still used to bake hundreds on baguettes and patisserie every day. We learnt how so many bakeries have had to make compromises on quality due to cost pressures, but they haven’t, and my goodness, you can taste the difference.
If you love to ski and haven’t been to Méribel, we’d highly recommend it. It’s luxurious and fun yet discreet, and Chalet du Vallon is such a perfect place to relax and unwind.
I’m now sat writing this at my desk reminiscing about a fantastic trip, one that was so good, it sends you back down to earth with a real bump when you return home. I’m already looking forward to returning to Chalet du Vallon next year.