Driving has always been a popular way to travel to the alps, with many of our guests having been driving to Meribel for many years. For those who haven’t, now may seem like the perfect time. So, here we have put together a short guide on the benefits of driving, things to consider and some useful information for anyone considering driving to Meribel for the first time.
Benefits of driving
In the corona virus era, driving is without a doubt the most effective way to remain as safe as possible on your journey. You’ll avoid crowded airport check-ins as well as, sitting in close proximity to others during transit. Particularly if you’re travelling via the Euro Tunnel. Where you’ll remain in your vehicle for the duration of the crossing.
Driving to Meribel grants you freedom to take the journey at your own pace. It also allows you to bring whatever you want with you. Meaning you will not be limited by baggage allowance. Nor will you be hit with additional baggage charges, which is a particular plus if you have your own equipment. You’ll also have the added convenience of having your car with you, should you wish to use it around resort.
Driving to Meribel may seem initially expensive when considering the cost of tolls, tunnel or ferry crossing, petrol and other additional costs. Although, this cost drops considerably when it’s split per person. This makes driving a great option for families and groups of friends as it’s inexpensive when compared to flying.
When compared to travelling via train or coach, the carbon footprint of driving is of course higher. However, the environmental impact of travelling with a group via road is considerably less than when flying.
Things to consider
It’s important not to underestimate the challenges that come with driving on the snow. Roads on route to resort can be narrow and winding. Meaning driving can be challenging, even if you’re experienced at driving in snowy conditions. Whilst snow clearance is frequent in and around Meribel, conditions can change quickly. So, it’s important to always have your snow chains easily accessible. It’s also useful to have a run through of taking your chains on and off prior to travelling.
Parking in Meribel
All of our chalets have adequate parking for at least one car, with many having space for more. There is also addition parking within close proximity to most chalets. If you require a number of spaces or would like more information on this, simply get in touch or ask your chalet manager. If you’re staying somewhere else within Meribel, it’s useful to ask your travel provider about parking facilities prior to travelling. There’re also 4 covered car parks in Meribel, where you can pay to park for up to 8 consecutive days. More information on tariffs and parking in and around Meribel, can be found here.
French road laws
Like any country, some requirements for driving on the road in France are different to the UK. So, it’s important to familiarise yourself with what’s required and ensure you have everything before heading off. Things such as a first aid kit, a warning triangle, high-visibility jacket and headlight converters are compulsory and you’ll be at risk of being fined, should you travel without them. More information on what you’ll need as well as, other useful information can be found on the Euro Tunnel website.
The best route for you will depend on where you’re travelling from as well as, whether you plan to travel via ferry or the Euro Tunnel. The Euro Tunnel is the quickest mode of transport, taking just 35 minutes to travel from Folkestone to Calais. This is compared to around 90 minutes travelling by ferry from Dover to Calais. The time saved by travelling on the Euro Tunnel comes at a premium, with crossings costing around £85 each way. Compared to around £35 each way on the ferry.
Once you arrive at Calais, it will take around 9 hours and 15 minutes to drive from to Meribel for a distance of just over 900km.
You may decide to get a later crossing and stay over a night in a hotel to break up the journey. If this option is for you, we would recommend driving for approximately 2.5-3 hours on from Calais and stopping in Reims. Alternatively, you can drive a bit further and stay the night in Dijon. If you’re happy to do a long stint driving, driving throughout Friday all the way to Moutiers is a great option. Once you reach the bottom on the mountain on Friday early evening, you can stay the night in Moutiers and simply drive up the mountain on Saturday morning. This comes with the added bonus of arriving well rested and ready for a full day of skiing on your first day. Giving you the perfect opportunity to make the most of quiet slopes on change over day!
For road directions and estimated cost of travel by car, the AA route planner serves as a brilliant tool in planning your journey by car to Meribel.
The amount you pay to drive on motor ways (auto-routes) in France will depend on the type of vehicle you’re driving and how far you’ve travelled within the toll zone. You will see the prices clearly marked as you approach the booths. You can either pay in cash or by credit card. Alternatively, you can use an automatic system that allows you to pass quickly through tolls in the ‘télépéage’ lane. Télépéage lanes are clearly marked with a T. The cost of the toll is then debited to your elected card on a monthly basis. This is a great option if you’re planning on spending a fair amount of time in France or driving through it regularly. They’re also very handy when driving a right handed car and save waking your front seat passenger at each toll!
In order to get your automatic toll badge, all you need to do is apply for a ‘Liber-t’ toll tag through SANEF and register your details, including a credit card, on the site.
As a rough guideline, when driving from Calais to Meribel you can expect to pay around €70-80 in tolls each way.
You can avoid tolls on the drive to Meribel. However, this will add approximately 5 hours to your journey. Travelling via toll roads will also mean avoiding unnecessary congestion as the more scenic routes can often become busy. Toll roads are also well maintained and boast regular service stations with great facilities. It’s also worth bearing in mind, that during the winter months non-toll roads may be closed in light of bad weather conditions.