A strict building code was introduced, inspired by Linday’s vision of a high altitude residential area integrated in the natural environment. He joined forces with a team of architects, including Christian Durupt, and drew up a list of building specifications. All chalets were to be constructed from the local materials of slate, wood and stone, with double-pitched roofs and be built in a harmonious architectural style. The first building was a chalet-hotel, le Doron (shown), and the interior decoration was entrusted to Charlotte Perriand, later renowned for designing interiors for le Corbusier.
The early pioneers were a mixture of builders, wealthy English families, businessmen and local inhabitants who believed in Peter Lindsay’s vision. On occasions Peter Lindsay was unable to pay those who worked for him; instead he offered building land. Marie Blanche, for example, accepted the offer of a plot of land and built one of the early hotels, which still today carries her name and is run by her family.
By the middle of the 1950s Méribel consisted of around 40 chalets, 17 hotels and four ski lifts including the first Burgin Saulire gondola lift. Early chalet owners included a brother of Francois Mitterand, the Duchess of Bedford and Brigitte Bardot. The discrete charms of the resort attracted a wealthy but unflashy set. One nightclub existed, the Shangri-la, still open today as Dick’s Tea Bar.