Ski resorts aren’t the most baby-friendly places on this Earth.
Quite apart from the cold temperatures, conditions underfoot and the altitude, you’ll struggle to get around with a pushchair and if you’re looking for a changing table or even a clean toilet floor on which to change your baby, then I’m afraid you’d better prepare for disappointment.
However… Many families, like ours, are completely in love with the snow and mountains – enough to put up with these public (in)conveniences. So we’re going to share with you the results of our painstaking research into bars and restaurants with decent-ish facilities and a warm welcome in Meribel and Courchevel. (Thank you to all the mums who helped compile this info!)
First prize for Méribel has to go to the Rond Point, as it ticks boxes for having a changing table AND highchairs. The staff are patient, considerate and helpful. You could also watch some of the live music at après time, although be aware it does get quite raucous! Well done to The Ronnie, for looking after our future skiers.
Elsewhere in Méribel you’ll find that you’re welcomed en famille by the staff at Evolution who bring over pencils and colouring for your littlies, as well as having a broad AND healthy children’s menu. There are also exciting-sounding smoothies and milkshakes. Nearby there’s a little park to burn off any excess energy. Another recommendation is Iglu, which has decent sized toilets and friendly service. In Mottaret, Crocodile comes high on the list because of the terrace from which you can sip vin chaud and watch the kids play in the snow, as does Le Brizolet for the same reason, plus it’s quite spacious inside so you don’t feel the little ones are annoying other diners! The Crismarin is good for a cheap and cheerful snack/drink outside and is close to the slopes and shops.
We’ll have a little shout out here for Courchevel’s public toilets! Those near the slopes do have changing facilities, with Courchevel Village’s conveniences even featuring a tiny loo for toddlers! In Moriond you’ll have to go into the tourist office and through the ‘Ye Olde Skiing’ display into the ladies’ but sure enough, there’s a flip-down changing table right there in the first cubicle. In Le Praz by the bubble lift there’s a whole room marked Baby Changing. OK, it’s right next to the urinals so the view’s not great, but at least that means the chaps are able to shoulder some of the nappy-changing responsibility!
We can highly recommend the Chabotté in Courchevel 1850 for its luxuriously clean toilets, smart wooden highchairs AND changing facilities (wow!) Plus the little sofa area is nice for a coffee – if you crack a smile you’ll get nibbles to go with your drinks, although the service is sometimes a little on the slow side despite the hundreds of staff. In Moriond we love the Fire & Ice Bar outside the Portetta at the foot of the slopes. Especially for the happy hour (4-6pm). Outside there are pretty trees, comfy sofas with furry rugs, and a fire pit. The hotel lounge bar inside is rather nice with little armchairs that the children enjoy, and the staff are extremely polite. And you get free cake in the afternoons! We haven’t found a changing table here, but the toilets are nice and clean (the disabled toilet on the far right as you enter is the most spacious). Rocky’s – by the main roundabout – is also very welcoming and good for the kids in the daytime if you can get the sofa area. The staff were friendly, although there’s no sign of a highchair, and the toilets are rather bijou so it’s amongst the jackets on the settee for nappy changing!
At the top of Moriond’s Ariondaz bubble you’ll find the Bel Air which is very friendly with good hot chocolate and vin chaud and great views of the skiers. It’s a busy place so it’s a good idea to book for lunch, but the staff even helped one of our customers with the pushchair. The toilets are a bit soggy from the ski boots so nappy changing isn’t easy, but there’s a sofa area under the eaves upstairs which is quite discreet.
In La Tania, La Ferme and the Marmottons restaurants are particularly child-friendly and welcoming. We definitely wouldn’t recommend changing a nappy in the Ski Lodge toilets! Although if you fancy listening to some live music, the Ski Lodge and slightly smarter Taiga are good, although be prepared to move on if it gets too rowdy for little children. The Bouc Blanc at the top of La Tania’s bubble is a lovely place to meet skiers for lunch, and very friendly. They serve lovely big mugs of hot chocolate.
In conclusion, there are lots of ‘family friendly’ venues, in that you’ll receive a warm welcome pretty much everywhere. Most places have highchairs, but it’s sensible to ask before you sit down to eat, just in case. It’s best to keep your expectations low when it comes to changing nappies. And don’t go anywhere without that portable mat. And if anyone knows where French children have their nappies changed, please divulge! It remains a mystery to us… (We recommend an ‘Oh well, no-one knows me here’ attitude!)
Please let us know if you have any other recommendations, we’re always keen to share such useful information with our customers.