Having just returned from a four day trip to Megève, I can confirm that its reputation as a beautifully preseved and gloriously sunny resort is certainly true! Granted, I travelled in the height of summer and there was apparently one almighty thunder storm the day before we landed, but our time there couldn’t have been better….
A BRIEF HISTORY
Before the 1920’s, the french resort of Megève was known mainly as a peaceful market town. Deriving from the Celtic name “Mageva” which means the village on water, the french resort was the ideal place for farming due to it’s rich and fertile land.
In 1914 there is evidence of the very first skiing competition being held, however it was not until Baroness Maurice de Rothschild, also known as Baroness Noémie, revealed Megève’s potential as a tourist destination and more importantly, the perfect ski resort to be enjoyed by all!
The Rothchilds invested heavily in developing the famous Mont d’Arbois ski sector, still the most popular part of Megève to this day, and the local village farmers followed by investing in neigbouring Rochebrune. In 1933 the well known “Red cable car” was constructed solely for the purpose of skiing and combined with King Albert of Belgium sponsoring the Palace du Mont d’Arbois, Megève cemented itself alongside the exclusive Swiss resorts of Zermatt and St Moritz as a prestigious ski destination for wealthy Aristocracy and business men of that time.
If you are looking for the postcard resort for your dream ski holiday, then Megève certainly needs to be added to the bucket list. The Village has a distinct medieval feel. It is immediately clear that the ski domain has been built around an already established community and not the other way round. With cobbled streets, French delicatessens, tea rooms and boutique shops, it is easy to see how its oozing charm now attracts wealthy French and European travellers all year round!
Set at 1,100m in altitude there may not always be the guarantee of snow, however like St Martin de Belleville it sits mainly on pasture land and therefore does not need deep coverage to be able to ski between the picturesque tree lined pistes the resort is known for.
The resort boasts 325km of piste, 183 ski runs in total and approximately 88 lifts. The ski domain is divided into three sections – Mont d’Arbois and Rochebrune which are interconnected on one side of the village and Le Jaillet sits on the other side of the resort.
Megève is a great place for beginners to learn as not only does it have plenty of good green and blue slopes, the ski schools meet at the top of the Chamois bubble that begins right in the centre of town. Lessons take place just alongside the lift and from here the next step is the small green run below the nursery slope and then a trip to the Mont D’Arbois side of the mountain. The blue runs on the Rochebrune side are a little trickier alongside the reds and advanced skiers can continue on from Rochebrune to Cote 2000 for more challenging runs if desired. Although making up only 13% of the overall ski area, there are definitely some well known black runs not to be missed, for example the legendary Emile Allais in the Rochebrune sector. If you get bored of skiing on piste, there is a mass of good off-piste skiing also!
Although Mont d’Arbois is the resorts most famous and popular region for both skiing and luxury chalets, Le Jaillet is blessed with incredible views of the Mont Blanc and can be less busy than the other side of the ski resort.
THE TEAM’S TRIP TO RESORT
Andy and I stayed in the 4-star Le Lodge Park, in the centre of the resort. It is part of the Maisons & Hotels Sibuet who are well established in the hospitality industry. With 15 restaurants and 9 Hotels including the 5-star Les Fermes de Marie, Ski in Luxury are proud to feature Le Lodge park alongside L’Hotel Mont Blanc, Chalet Des Fermes and Chalet Chatel in Megève alone. When visiting Le Chalet Zannier, a very different but equally charming hotel in resort, the manager admitted that his favourite bar to socialise in was Le Lodge Park! High praise indeed.
Megève is part of the Mont Blanc region (just 30 mins from Chamonix) which means awesome views of the Mont Blanc and also neighbouring Aiguille du Midi mountain ranges. Best seen from the Le Jaillet side!
We were fortunate enough to be invited by Megève Tourism to the Altiport for an Aérocime tour of Megeve, Saint-Gervais, Les Houches, Chamonix, La Vallee Blanché and more. All I can say is WOW! The views were incredible and the Aérocime flies right into the heart of the mountain ranges, I could practically touch the Les Glaciers des Bossons at one point! I would highly recommend taking the time to visit the altiport for a tour if you are ever in resort.
Megève is truly enchanting. Visiting in summer, it was beautifully sunny and something I noticed immediately was how peaceful it was. The very centre of the resort is car free and the noise of horns and exhausts is replaced with the clip clop of hooves from the horse drawn carriages. Further out of town when visiting our chalets, for example the beautiful Chalet Zibline, the cow bells rung lazily on the meadows and through the trees, adding to the experience in resort.
As you’d expect with exclusive tourist destinations, this charm comes at a price. A beer in the trendy Bar le S in the square will set you back €10 euro and, well it’s safe to say we racked up quite a food bill across the four days. If you are wanting chic, gourmet, expensive restaurants then Megève has plenty to offer, including the Alps’ only three-michelin starred restaurant, Flocons de Sel. We tried all of the restaurants in the square and were tipped off on OK Burger, a very small but trendy gourmet burger bar just a short stroll from the centre of the village. The food was delicious, reasonably priced and we loved ordering off the menu which was a 3D cube! Check out the TripAdvisor reviews here
In fact we didn’t have a bad meal and I even ate Fondue at Le Petit Lay, a must when visiting any French ski resort. After a very dodgy experience in a canteen style eatery in Val Thorens as a child, I avoided any heavy and hot cheese based meal at all costs. But despite the immense guilt that comes with eating practically a whole baguette and giant cooking bowl of melted cheese, I am converted!
We were lucky enough to eat in the 5-star Alpaga Hotel’s Onyx Bar, a very reasonably priced Brasserie style restaurant with a relaxed and more informal atmosphere than the attached Michelin starred Table l’Alpaga. The cocktails were also fab! The location of the Hotel really stood out for me as being very quiet and tranquil, almost set on its own in the mountains. It is also the only hotel in Megève with views of the Mont Blanc.
The resort is known for being very fashion conscious. It is after all the French’s chosen holiday destination and the rest of us can only dream of looking so effortlessly chic. My advice? Make sure you have all the fabulous ski clothing you could wish for before visiting or be warned, the price for a bobble hat will cost far more than anywhere else. If however money is no object why not try visiting Allard, an exclusive boutique shop in the square, only found in Megève!
With all the glitz and glamour associated with the resort, Megève obviously attracts the rich and famous. Owned by one glamorous celebrity couple, Chalet de Glisse will soon feature on our Ultimate Luxury Chalets portfolio. It is one of few chalets we have seen that can get away with a cool ice white theme and is unlike anything else we viewed in resort!
One thing I would mention about the resort is that unless you plan on staying in the very heart of the resort, in the luxurious Chalet Deer for example, a car is highly recommended. Although one side of the resort to the other is only approximately 5km, there are lots of windy roads on either side of the mountains and the chalets can be in quite remote locations.
In some parts of the resort you actually need to drive over marked piste in order to access your ski in and ski out chalet…..has anyone ever heard of this before?! This is the case for properties such as Chalet Edge and Chalet White, and the Chalet La Ferme Anjuna is only accessible by skidoo in Winter months, but trust me the snow-safari style transfer is worth it!
Overall we had a fantastic time in resort. Despite being very lucky with the weather, the food was superb, the French wine delicious and everyone we met along the way was extremely friendly. The resort has a compelling aura and the standard of luxury chalets rivals the likes of Courchevel and St Moritz, but without the air of showmanship that surrounds so many exclusive resorts these days.
Although I am not yet fortunate enough to ski Megève in the winter, I have heard that the best ski run for incredible views of the valley and Mont Blanc is the red that descends the dramatic “Epaule” along a ridge above St-Nicolas-de-Véroce. I will be sure to test this out for myself on my return visit, which I hope will be soon.
From the restaurant waiters and shop owners to the tourism office and operators hosting us in resort, we would like to thank everyone for such an informative and insightful trip showing us the true Megève….Merci beaucoup!
Take a look at our portfolio of luxury chalets in Megeve and get in touch with us to discuss your plans to visit resort.
? We love Social Media ?
Please ‘Like’ us on Facebook!
Follow us on Instagram!
Visit Ski in Luxury on Pinterest!