Gotta love being positively surprised. As a traveler, I have learned to go to places without having big expectations. The less you wait for something to happen, the better; and travel has been an excellent teacher in this sense. It is only then when the magic happens, being in a carefree and easy-going mood, allowing great stuff to unfold in front of you.
The right destination
Being an outdoors lover without kids, the fact that two of this destination’s bottom lines are frequently ‘family-friendly’ and ‘glamourous’ did not put me down immediately, as it would have done twenty years back thinking it was a spot where only jet setters flock in Winter.
Some of the best things of adulting are learning to appreciate the simple things in life along with living at a quieter pace, savoring life.
A cocktail by the fireplace with friends, the smell of freshly baked bread, feeling alive outdoors in cold weather, fine cotton linen and a generous room, the sunrise leaking through the balcony curtains, a warm shower after a whole day spent outside, lots of clean air, a meal cooked with love.
Long story short, less than 24h after arriving, I wasn’t worried about fitting in during my Megeve adventure anymore. Simply determined to enjoy it to the fullest.
Birth of Megeve ski resort
As I learned over my time there, the influential Rothschild baroness did a wonderful job putting Megeve, an Haute Savoy farm-filled village, on the map a century ago. Part of the noblesse, she had enjoyed Chamonix before falling in love with Megeve and ideating a genius plan to recreate all the goodness of that Swiss skiing resort in France.
An advocate for sustainability, she tried not to interfere with the farmers’ way of living, encouraging them to keep taking care of their cattle and lands during the warmer months while, at the same time, profiting from the booming new industry of Winter sports amid the coldest season.
During the late 20s and early 30s, her vision started becoming a reality. Infrastructures for the high society to have fun on the slopes were built, and Megeve began to carve a name of its own among the epicurean.
Soon after, rich families in the know started sending their offspring to Megeve for months at a time. And so many kids fell also in love with Megeve as a result in the 30s and 40s.
On the other hand, minding its protected location, during World War II, the baroness helped the Jewish community hiding many kids in Megeve, saving their lives.
Grateful and missing the good times spent in Haute Savoy, some of these kids that had spent their most carefree years in Megeve bought a second home there when they grew up. And so during the fifties, the Megeve ski resort kept entertaining families, bringing this once farmers’ village to a boom that would continue in the next decades.
Hotels and restaurants to host and feed visitors were built, ski tracks planned and things were put in place while keeping the village’s authenticity as much as possible. Today, even on a busy Winter day, it is possible to witness the village life locals lead beyond tourism. Keeping it real and sustainable by limiting its growth. Every destination’s dream these days.
Megeve’s ski domain
With 350km of pistes, Winter enthusiasts have a large enough playground to improve their skills and even to put them to a test. At the same time, there’s some room to go even bigger with the Evasion Mont Blanc ski pass which adds a bunch of km for the ones willing to explore the nearby mountains included in the forfait.
Megeve slopes are more curved than steep, and the possibilities of catching some powder after a snowfall are many as off-piste areas are not in shortage. Snowparks for all levels, slopestyle training areas, cross skiing circuits, pine tree areas for foggy days, big airbags to learn to fly safely, and a wide choice of altitude restaurants complete the painting. A stunning one by the way.
Adrenaline enthusiasts should not be fooled by Megeve’s family-friendly atmosphere either. Whether it is skiing down one of its black rides with the French Alps in the background, paragliding or taking a scenic flight with one of Aerocime’s planes over the Mer de Glace glacier valley while getting as close as possible to impossible cliffs and the always visible Mont Blanc, they are up for a treat.
From local producers such as Isabelle Vigliengo – Les Glaçons de Megève (215 Route Edmond de Rothschild) and the Cooperative Fruitière Val d’Arly Savoie Mont Blanc (107 Rue du Général Muffat de Saint-Amour) to fine dining restaurants; Megevois’s mission is to ensure food is enjoyed as it always should.
Here’re five great Megeve restaurants that foodies will enjoy:
Chemin de Riante Colline, Les Fermes de Marie, Megeve
The larger restaurant of Les Fermes de Marie and one of the coziest. Try their king crab with guacamole and cheese ravioli dishes with a glass of wine. Heavenly
On the slopes and with a large terrace overlooking the Alps, it has as light or heavy dishes as you want. Lasagna, green salad, strawberry cake, and a glass of white wine is a winner menu.
Bar Restaurant Le Saint Nicolas
252 Route de Rochebrune, Megève
Near the center of Megeve, it is perfect for dinner after spending a day in the mountains. Try their egg parfait and the Paris Brest dessert.
Massif de Rochebrune, Megève
Another excellent option on the slopes to take a break while tasting some typical dishes of the region. At lunchtime, it is overflowing. They are ready for the masses though. And details such as the endless sweets on the buffet-style dessert table blew my mind.
447 Chemin de la Rocaille, Mont D’Arbois, Megeve
Managed by the Edmond De Rothschild Heritage Foundation, with the invaluable help of chef Nicolas Hensinger, whose fine creations are said to be inspired by the neighborhood terroirs, and his brother Romain who puts all his passion and good work into his desserts; It is only logical that the Michelin guide inspectors noticed this high-class restaurant. You will not go wrong with their tasting menu.
Wellness as a priority
Is there anything better than watching the sunset from the warm waters of an outdoor spa over the Alps after a day of skiing?
Le Palais Megeve
247 Route du Palais des Sports, Megève
In the center of town, the Le Palais complex, which also includes other sports facilities such as a gym and climbing wall, is available daily to make your wellness dreams come true.
Your home away from home
Bon vivants, here are a couple of Megeve hotels you will particularly enjoy:
Les Fermes de Marie
163 Chemin de la Riante Colline, Megève
More than a hotel, a destination. And a tasteful one for that matter. With all one could wish for in a 5-star hotel near the slopes – a handful of restaurants and signature spa included – and all the charm of a ski chalet; even if skiing is not your thing, this hotel complex will keep you busy for a few days.
Hôtel Chalet Saint Georges
159 Rue Mgr Conseil, 74120 Megève
Right in the town center, it is perfect for those that prefer to walk. Its attic room is unparalleled.
Disclaimer: I was invited by Megève Tourisme to experience it for a few days. Find out more about the destination on their website.