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History of Meribel
Meribel was founded by a Scotsman, Colonel Peter Lindsay who set his sights on somewhere to build a new ski resort away from the Nazi regime that plagued Austria and Germany. He first visited Les Allues in 1936 and planned how he could transform the small town into a fully functional ski resort. He moved quickly, with the help of French skier Emile Allais with the first ski lift being built just 2 years later and the first chalets a year after this.
The name Meribel is said to come from the Latin word ‘Mirare’ meaning ‘to look at’ and ‘bel’ meaning ‘beautiful’; beauty of which Lindsay strived to present across his resort. He used specialised architects to capture the Savoyard style he envisaged using slate roofs, stone and wooden walls. The Second World War hindered the building of the resort, but continued promptly after the war finished and in 1950, Meribel was connected by ski lift to Courchevel and by the mid 50s Meribel consisted of 40 chalets and 17 hotels and continued to grow throughout the 1960s.
In 1992, Meribel hosted the women’s alpine skiing events and ice hockey in the Albertville Winter Olympics and up until 2011 was the home of the well known Altitude Festival.
Meribel is made up of several sub villages, Meribel Centre, Meribel Village and Meribel-Mottaret all connected with either ski lifts or buses. Meribel-Mottaret, built in the 1970s is situated 4km up the hill from Meribel Centre and is quieter and more modern than its neighbouring Meribel – similar to the peaceful Meribel Village, a small hamlet 2km away from Meribel. Meribel is vast, but there is something for everyone here and all hamlets are very well connected.