Enjoy you first night in a refuge

June 29, 2022

Nuit en refuge

Dormir en refuge est une expérience unique et insolite, une de ces expériences qu’on souhaite faire au moins une fois dans sa vie.

Sleeping in a refuge is a unique and special experience, one of those occasions that you should have at least once in your life. It is a timeless moment, close to nature, far from the hustle and bustle of the cities. The refuge is above all a cosy shelter for hikers and mountaineers, a meeting place for sportsmen and nature lovers or the ideal observatory for contemplating the starry sky or the marmots.

To help you organise your first night in a refuge, we present three refuges accessible by hiking from Méribel. Each of these refuges has a unique identity, which will allow you to choose the option that suits you best.

What should one take for a hike with an overnight stay in a refuge?

The refuges are run by wardens who do their utmost to ensure that your stay goes smoothly. They manage arrivals and departures, maintain the place and prepare meals. In a refuge, simplicity is obviously the order of the day as resources are scarce and precious. There are few electronic devices but rather dormitories of 2 to 8 people and large convivial tables…

To stay in most of the refuges in the Alps, you will need:

  • a silk sheet (it is sometimes possible to rent one for the night directly in the refuge);
  • earplugs (if you are worried about snoring);
  • a towel (if the refuge is equipped with a shower);
  • a cheque or cash (as credit cards are rarely accepted).

In addition to the traditional hiking equipment (adapted shoes and bags, rain jacket, down jacket…), to hike safely you will need:

  • a fully charged mobile phone;
  • a small first aid kit;
  • water and food.

The itinerary to reach the refuges are marked out but it may be useful to bring:

  • an IGN map and a compass;


  • a GPS on a mobile phone.

The refuge du Saut: a traditional refuge at within 2 hours walk from Méribel

Renovated in 2012-2013, the Saut refuge is a traditional mountain refuge located at an altitude of 2,140 metres. Manned from mid-June to mid-September by a friendly team, the Saut refuge can accommodate up to 25 people. With dormitories for 2, 4, 6 and 8 people, this refuge is comfortable and well equipped.

In addition to overnight accommodation, it is possible (and recommended for those who like good food) to choose half-board. A diverse and home-made cuisine awaits you after a good day’s walking. The meal is served in a friendly atmosphere on large tables, ideal for chatting with your neighbours.

But in a refuge, resources are precious! The Saut refuge is not connected to electricity and waste has to be taken down to the valley. This is why the refuge is equipped with solar panels and strives to limit its consumption of resources as much as possible.

Why choose the refuge du Saut?

The Saut refuge is ideal for a first experience in a refuge, with children if you wish! The refuge can be a goal in itself or a base camp for discovering the Vanoise Park thanks to possible hikes such as the Roc de Soufre or the Mont Coua lake.

An old silver lead mine is located near the refuge. At the beginning of the last century, the refuge du Saut was the home of the miners who worked in this mine. The refuge du Saut is also located on the ice road. In the last century, the inhabitants of the Méribel valley used to go up to the Gébroulaz glacier to collect ice, which they then brought down to the valley. This ancestral tradition is re-enacted in August on the occasion of the local festival the fête à Fanfoué.

How does one reach the refuge du Saut ?

From the Tueda car park in Méribel-Mottaret, it takes 2 hours to walk to the Saut refuge. This hike passes by the Tueda lake, the natural reserve of the plan of Tueda and the valley of the Fruit. A pleasant variant, which adds 30 minutes to the walk, goes through the Ramées, the forest and the mountain pastures above the lake of Tueda.

Practical info: Bookings are made by telephone on 09 74 77 60 38 and payment is made at the refuge by cheque or cash (credit cards are not accepted)

The Merlet Lakes refuge: a rustic and challenging experience

Located on the edge of the Merlet Lakes, this refuge is situated at an altitude of 2,415 metres. Manned from the end of June to the beginning of September, the Merlet Lakes refuge can accommodate up to 14 people and offers a restaurant service. Smaller and more rustic (for example, there is no shower but a swim in the Merlet Lakes is possible for the more daring) than the Saut refuge, this typical mountain refuge is surrounded by an exceptional panorama, ideal for switching off and enjoying the calm of nature.

How does one get to the refuge des lacs Merlet?

It takes 5 hours to walk from the Tueda lake in Méribel-Mottaret, but this itinerary is not technically difficult. Along the hiking trail, you will discover several lakes: the crystalline Lac des Fées, the Lac de Chanrouge and finally the 2 Merlet lakes near the refuge.

If you sleep at the refuge des lacs Merlet, you can then return to Méribel in 4 hours by the col du Fruit. This makes a nice loop, totally doable with children used to hiking.

You can also do this loop in the opposite direction and take advantage of a little help from the ski lifts. To do this, take the Pas du Lac cable car from Méribel-Mottaret. Then, walk for about 1 hour to reach the Col du Fruit while enjoying the sublime panoramas in the background. Descend on the Courchevel side (west side) to pass the Col de Chanrossa and the Col de la Platta before arriving at the Merlet lakes and the refuge of the same name. After a night at the refuge, you return the next day to Méribel via the lac des Fées (without forgetting a photo stop).  

The refuge de la Traye: the first luxury refuge in the French Alps

Created in 1982 and completely renovated in 2019, the Traye refuge is not a mountain refuge like any other. This refuge embodies a new model of hospitality as it is the first premium refuge in the French Alps… This unique place, built in the spurs of the Col de la Lune above Méribel les Allues, is composed of charming chalets. Authenticity and refinement are the key words of this exclusive experience.

Why come to the refuge de la Traye ?

Combining the know-how of luxury hotels with the authenticity and calm of mountain refuges, the Traye refuge offers an exclusive experience that you will not find anywhere else. The refuge offers innovative and connected technologies such as the Lyashi Dome, the Wellsystem, the Mostleds or the Stendo. Massages and treatments but also sauna, steam room, outdoor jacuzzis, hay bed and asses milk bath, everything is combined to give you a well-being break during your stay.

  • As a bonus, from the refuge, many activities are possible in summer:
  • the teaching farm, to get closer to the animals and learn to understand them better;
  • the zip line, the tree rope course and the playground located at the base of the refuge with numerous courses of varying difficulty;
  • hiking, up to the Col de la Lune or the Croix Jean-Claude, or, for the best walkers, taking the Crêtes trail to the Grands Lacs;
  • electric mountain biking on the marked routes of Méribel;
  • rifle shooting, using the shooting range located in the forest close to the refuge.

How does one get to the refuge de la Traye?

The refuge can only be reached on foot or by bike. From the Villard, in the Allues district, it is 5 km to the Traye refuge. It is possible to extend the walk by passing through the village of Les Allues, which is a good opportunity to discover the traditional hamlet of Les Allues. It is possible to have your luggage taken care of, which allows you to hike lightly to the refuge.

From Méribel-Centre, a variant of access to the refuge, a little longer but gentler, passes by the Ravines  outdoor car park or using the Tougnète lifts follow the ridges of the West side of the valley and drop down to the refuge.

Practical info.: it is possible to come to the refuge de la Traye for one or more nights, or just for the day, to eat, discover the refuge and the activities offered.