Holidaying with Young Children? Anna shares a few tips.
If you are on a ski holiday with young children, you’ll already have discovered a different perspective to your pre-children ski holidays! This is your opportunity to discover that Courchevel and Meribel are more than just ‘ski’ resorts. Having brought up a family in the Three Valleys, I wanted to share a few ideas of things to do with children who are too young to ski:
Babies as young as 6 months can enjoy sledging. There are safe, designated ‘luge’ zones at the foot of the slopes (front de neige) in most of the villages. Make sure you use a baby sledge with a wide base for stability because getting a scraped face as the sledge topples over, tends not to go down well! You can often hire sledges with safety belts from the local ski hire shops, which are great for wondering around resort.
Courchevel and Meribel are crisscrossed by forest trails, and with a covering of snow the forest becomes a beautiful and peaceful haven. Young children can enjoy looking for animal tracks, and pine cones while babies can stay cosy in a backpack baby carrier. Pop into the local Tourist Information office for a pedestrian walking map and they should be able to help recommend the best routes.
If you need a warm and dry refuge, head to one of the indoor play centres. In Meribel there is the Kenotèque recreation area in the Olympic Centre. Entry is free, and there are books, games, and craft projects to enjoy. In Courchevel 1850 there is the soft play room which is near the bus stop outside the Croisette building, with a big climbing frame and lots of foam shapes to play around with.
Bus and Gondola rides
For some reason a bus ride is always more fun when you are on holiday! All the villages are linked by a free bus service.
Children also love to go on the gondola lifts (Under 5’s are entitled to a free lift pass) and watch the skiers whizzing down below, even better if they spot friends or family! Many of the gondolas (or ‘bubbles’) have a café or restaurant at the top, so you can arrange to meet up with the rest of your party for a coffee or lunch. If you are staying in Courchevel, a visit to Le Western Skipark at the top of the Ariondaz bubble is a must. A short walk across the snow (and a ‘magic carpet’ ride) from the top of the bubble you can go into the tepee to meet Moon Pearl and Grey Wolf, for an immersion into American Indian culture.
The Meribel swimming pool, in the Olympic centre, does Aqua Baby sessions, and the Courchevel Aquamotion pool has a baby area with slides, water spouts and squirting flowers!
The Tourist Information office publishes and weekly program of special events such as ski shows, firework displays and other animations for children, especially during the school holidays.