Bazaar’s guide to Méribel ski resort

Caroline Lewis
Photo credit: The view from Le Coucou © Jérôme Galland

From Harper's BAZAAR

Since it’s in the middle of France’s expansive Les Trois Vallées in Savoie, Méribel is the perfect place to explore the biggest combined piste area in the world. Its advantageous position between Courchevel and Val Thorens extends to the fact you’ll also get the most sunshine (thank you, mountains) – and it’s also one of the liveliest resorts in the Alps, with buzzy bars and slope-side restaurants for your next fondue fix. We bring you the best of merry Méribel…

Photo credit: Le Coucou © Jérôme Galland

Where to stay

Fresh from refurbishing Crillon le Brave in Provence and opening Lou Pinet in St Tropez, Maisons Pariente has brought Le Coucou to the slopes (literally) of Méribel this season. The French fashion family who gave us Naf Naf have turned their attention to hotels, with a little help from star designer Pierre Yovanovitch. The modern take on a classic Alpine chalet has irreverent design details throughout, including snowflakes on the carpets, teddy-shaped armchairs, cuckoo clocks in the Beefbar restaurant, grandfather clocks with shoes on and strokeable sheepskin chairs. Terracotta is Yovanovitch’s paint colour of choice, and it works surprisingly well. The ski-room has charming, strapping staff who’ll help you get in and out of your boots gracefully (harder than it sounds) – its ski-straight-out location at 1,650 metres and right on the piste is unbeatable. And even if you don’t want to hit the powder, the view from your terrace, out onto the mountains and chair lifts, will keep you in on the action. There are self-contained chalets within the hotel, with doors that open straight onto the piste.

Photo credit: A bedroom at Le Coucou © Jérôme Galland

Après-ski activities at Le Coucou have been perfectly contemplated: afternoon tea is served in the bar every day from 4pm, with a row of baked treats taking over the counter and a pancake trolley that gets wheeled over to your table for staff to whip up whatever crêpe you fancy (you may as well take advantage of the extra cals skiing justifies). There’s also a Tata Harper spa offering rescuing facials for snow-ravaged skin, soothing Hawaiian massage techniques for sore limbs and an outdoor pool for dips in warm water amid icy mountain air. Other unwinding opportunities come at the two restaurants, Beefbar and Bianca Neve, in the William Morris-wallpapered fumoir and on the terrace in your room.

Le Coucou, from about £370 a room a night B&B (lecoucoumeribel.com).

Photo credit: Beefbar © Jérôme Galland

Where to eat

If you don’t fancy donning your moon boots to take to the snowy streets, fear not: Le Coucou has two restaurants that are worth staying in for. The first is an outpost of Beefbar, which has outposts everywhere from Mykonos to Monaco, and, unsurprisingly, specialises in bovine ingredients, whether it’s Argentine Angus, Japanese Kobe or Australian Wagyu. There are also some local favourites such as fondue on the menu, and the secret ingredient: mashed potato with a butter-to-potato ratio of 50:50 (it’s as good as it sounds). On sunny days, sit out in the terrace with the majestic mountains right up close in front of you. Bianca Neve serves Italian food with shavings of truffle generously scattered over almost everything, huge mounds of fresh pasta and squares of focaccia (we said to keep loading those calories).

Ski up (or hop on the horse-drawn sleigh) to Le Clos Bernard near the altiport for some vin chaud on the deckchairs outside, or warm up indoors with tartiflette, tuna tataki and meats grilled on the open fire. If you’ve made it as far as Courchevel within the Trois Vallées runs, stop for refuelling at La Cave des Creux; or ski down from Le Coucou to Adray Télébar next-door, which serves a creamy veal and mushroom signature dish, enormous omelettes and huge vats of chips for every table.

Photo credit: A bedroom terrace at Le Coucou © Jérôme Galland

Where to après

If you’re more about the après than the ski, you’ll be pleased to hear that Méribel has its very own La Folie Douce, which has been facilitating rosé raves in ski boots for more than 50 years now. There are various bars in town and on the slopes, including Jacks, which has live music, a piste-facing terrace and milkshakes if you want to avoid the hard stuff. And if you haven’t passed out from your 4pm party and want to keep going into the night, head to L’Abreuvoir in the centre of town (near the tourist office) for some excellent après après-ski.

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