At the heart of the world’s finest ski region, the wooded valley and chalet-style buildings of Méribel are an enduring favourite with wintersports enthusiasts and investors – particularly the British.
It’s a textbook resort development success story: founded 80 years ago by an astute Scottish skier-entrepreneur, Colonel Peter Lindsay, as an alternative to the German and Austrian resorts. He formed a development company to raise the finances and installed the first ski lift above Les Allues in 1938.
When development continued after the war, a rigorous commitment to traditional Savoyard building materials and pitched slate roofs has created networks of attractive chalets set amongst the trees along the cluster of villages, which makes the resort far more attractive than its glamorous neighbours Courchevel and Val d’Isère. Lindsay’s family continue to hold a financial stake in the resort.
The gondola linking Méribel to the parallel valley opened in 1950, making way for what has become the largest combined ski area in the world, with 600km of groomed pistes in the Trois Vallèes. (Now expanded to four valleys, but retaining the famous branding.)
Back in 2008 actor Emma Watson invested her Harry Potter earnings in a £1m chalet. In 2015 it was valued at €3-4m.
The four main neighbourhoods of the valley are Les Allues, towards the foot, 7km from Méribel Centre but linked by fast gondola to La Chaudanne lift station; Méribel Village en route to La Tania and Courchevel; and Méribel-Mottaret at the head of the valley.
The main road from Les Allues passes through attractive villages and hamlets which all offer opportunities for development, from Le Villaret, Chandon, Nantgerel and Le Raffort, up to Musillon – entrance to the resort-proper.
Traditionally Méribel’s accommodation has been in luxury chalets rather than 5-star hotels. The most desirable chalet developments now extend high up the west-facing slope, above the villages of Morel and Altitude 1600 and party-central Rond Point, to Le Belvédère, built for the 1992 Olympic Games.
Recent investment in Méribel include:
Méribel and Courchevel will jointly host the 2023 Alpine Ski World Championship.
Knight Frank’s Ski Property Report shows Méribel has seen similar levels of growth as Courchevel, at around 1% (affected by a weak pound, Brexit, and a French election). This is in contrast to a decline in Swiss alpine property values over a similar period.
Property and land prices are lower in Méribel than in the Courchevel valley to the east, but it’s still one of France’s most exclusive – and expensive – ski resorts. Chalets start at about €5 million for ski-in, ski-out in Méribel.
It may be possible to find better returns in Les Menuires, a smaller village in the parallel valley of Belleville to the west, where newbuild properties are half the price of Méribel.
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