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Sunday, 12 February 2017

Meribel French Alps January 2017

This has got to go down as one of the best few days we've had anywhere. Everything just seemed to fall into place and could not of been any better if it was planned to precision. The relaxation, the weather, the views, our base and of course seeing our son out there. This break was all about going to see our son who is working the skiing season in MERIBEL, the major ski resort in the THREE VALLEES area of the French Alps region. We aren't skiers, in fact I have only ever been skiing the once way back when I was at school sometime in the early 1970's while Jill has never been anywhere near a ski so this was to be very new territory for us and wasn't quite sure what to expect. A lot did depend on the weather while we were there and the weeks leading up to it we were constantly checking the weather reports and the WEBCAMS around the area. Being a ski resort, they do need snow, lots of it, and a few weeks before we were due out there it did snow quite heavy for a time which made the locals and the skiers quite happy and also the organizers of the world cup skiing competition that was being held during the week that we were there. It also made the place like a Christmas card scene as the decorations seem to stay up all through the ski season making it a proper winter wonderland feel good factor. We stayed right in the heart of Meribel at a place called LE ROC and was no surprise when we went to our room that we had ear plugs, as well as towels, as this place is on top of one of the busy bars that is open till about 2am each night!!! To be fair, we weren't really disturbed by any excessive noise as our room was right above the front porch and not at the back over the music area :-) We did join in with the night life as we had no itinerary to follow so didn't have to up at the crack of dawn.  The only traveling we did was on the many ski lifts that go all over the three valley's, there is also a free bus service that runs between the villages and resorts so getting about is very easy. We were there from January 21st-26th and the weather couldn't of been any better, with blue skies and sun for the time we were there. It was also quite warm despite the snow and altitude and lazing about on deckchairs at nearly 10,000 feet, just below the summit of Mont Du Vallon will stay with me for a very long time :-)
All photo's are off my phone, GoPro and camera.

Our base in the heart of Meribel

Ear plugs!!
Meribel main street
View from our room
The ski run for the World Cup that was taking part during the week
Saulire summit @ 2,738metres
Mont Blanc takes centre stage from Saulire summit
Mont Blanc @ 4,808 m (15,774 ft)
Some of the artwork that's around some of the ski lift area's
Roc-des-Trois-Marches culminates at 2704 meters above sea level! This is one of the main summits of Meribel. In winter, you have to go by the Plattières gondola from Le Mottaret. A beautiful climb to seize a view of the glaciers of the Vanoise and the fabulous Meije.
Mont Du Vallon (The Mont du Vallon is one of the main summits of Méribel . Located at an altitude of 2950 meters, it is accessed by the gondola Mont-Vallon. Once again, it is the panorama that motivates this race, it is magnificent, a horizon of massifs.)
Mont Du Vallon rest area
Me and some old guy
Mont Du Vallon rest area
Statue at Mont Du Vallon
Mont Du Vallon ski lift platform

View across to a distant Mont Blanc
Blue sky and sun :-)
Cloud inversion going on over the village of Les Allues
The high points we managed to get to had some great vistas all round and the weather certainly played it's part. There was only one point where the wind picked up all the time we were there and that was at Plattieres. The spindrift was quite bad and stinging when it hit your face but thankfully it didn't last long. We also paid a visit to a few of the lower resorts of Les Allues, COURCHEVEL and SAINT MARTIN DE BELLEVILE
with Courchevel being the most extravagant of the lot!! A real eye opener and somewhere to stay if money is of no object with it's array of 5* chalets, hotels, restaurants and all the very best in designer clothes and jewellery. There are shops and cafes that do cater for the rest of us and it is a nice place. Les Allues was just a very quick visit to pass a bit of time while Saint Martin is quite a popular village with a lot of skiers with a good choice of accommodation and places to eat.
View down on to a mountain restaurant from the ski lift on the way to Courchevel
K2  @ Courchevel Real luxury and at a real luxury price!!
Tougnete @ 2434metres
Looking down on Saint Martin De Belleville from Tougnete

Tougnete summit view
On the ski lift to Saint Martin De Belleville
Saint Martin De Belleville
Another place we visited for a laugh was the party on the piste bar, LA FOLIE DOUCE 
Quite an experience getting down with the skiers & boarders as the thumping music and Champagne showered the crowd while dancing on the tables and chairs in the sun. The things you get up to eh :-)
La Folie Douce
La Folie Douce
La Folie Douce
We did get a short walk in while we were there, in fact we did it just about every day as there is a 5km walk from MOTTARET back down the valley to Meribel. A pleasant walk that takes about an hour from the ski lifts back to our base and was always a good way to finish the day. The last ski lifts were abut 4.30ish so as long as we were down by then we had a bit of a wander. Another short walk we did was again from Mottaret that took us round LAC TUEDA, which was frozen over and covered in snow, and was another good end to the day. There are lots of walks around the area, low level where we were and of course around the high summits. We could of done a bit more high walking but as there was hundreds of skiers everywhere and not knowing where all the paths were we played it safe and stuck to the lifts :-) A walkers paradise in the summer months when its a lot more quieter but a bit of a pain to get to and stay as 90% of the place shuts down.
Walking around Lac Tueda
Walk around Lac Tueda
Frozen & snow covered Lac Tueda
Snow Angel @ Lac Tueda
Lac Tueda
The walk back to Meribel
View back to Mottaret
Frozen waterfall
Entering Meribel

Video of the views from the high area's and ski lifts

A video of fun in the sun
So there we have it, a most amazing time in a most amazing place. Of course, like most places, the weather needs to be right for what we did and boy was it just!! Absolutely superb with almost unbroken sunshine during the day and cold and clear throughout the night making this one holiday that won't be forgotten in a hurry. I'd certainly recommend doing this if you're not a skier and you love looking round the mountains. It's made so easy with the pedestrian ski pass and the free buses that run all day and evening and if the weather is kind, well, enjoy :-)

Thanks for looking :-)

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