445 Km (linked with St Gervais, Les Contamines, Praz sur Arly, St Nicolas de Véroce, St Gervais, Vallorcine).
1,040 M – 2,353 M
Mont Joly chairlift 2,353 M
Blue 23%, Red 64%, Black 13%.
Geneva 1 hr
Megeve is a great choice for intermediate skiiers, families, corporate groups, ski weekends and non-skiers wanting a mountain escape.
From early December to mid-April, with the Glacier staying open all year round.
Ticks most of the boxes for first-timers with a relaxed atmosphere and lots of easy terrains to get about on once you’ve mastered your turns – and more than 30 restaurants in the mountains to rest at too when you need a break.
There are multiple options for childcare in this very family-friendly resort including nanny services, nurseries and special ski schools for kids. There are no less than four separate kids clubs to try out too.
Megeve is one of the original great resorts of the Alps, established by the Baroness de Rothschild no less back in the 1920s as France’s answer to St Moritz. It remains to this day one of the prettiest ski resorts in the world with cobbled streets surrounding the pedestrianised main square where a huge Christmas tree is erected each December. There’s even a medieval church and horse-drawn sleighs for taxis. Courchevel kind of usurped Megeve’s “best in France for the rich and famous” status in the 1960s but the village has quietly carried on regardless, with those in the know still preferring to ski here and leave Courchevel to the tourists!
Megeve is the perfect destination for you if you enjoy window (or actual) shopping, perhaps stopping once in a while for a dainty hand make cake in the local patisserie. The shopping in Megeve, centred on Place de l’Eglise, is almost unrivalled in the skiing world with boutiques like Hermès, Moncler, Killy, Vuarnet, Lacoste and Swarovski all here. The Aalard sports shop should also be on your visit list as it was here that the first purpose-designed ski pants were invented. They were first worn by Emile Alias, an early ski racing hero of France as well as the most famous son of Megeve, who went on to help design now-famous ski resorts here and around the world in the 1950s-70s. He died in 2012 at the age of 100. Le Flocon de Neige, another Megeve institution, is where to stock up on handmade chocolates and much, much more.
The heart of Megeve dates back to the 14th century, an era long before anyone thought much about resort design, so this is not a destination where most people can walk out of their chalet door, clip on their skis and head off down the piste to a waiting lift. It’s therefore well worth ensuring that your chalet is one of the few that are ski in/out here, or that your chalet provides a chauffeur service. There are three main skiing sectors Mont d’Arbois, Le Jaillet and Rochebrune, with the village most directly linked to Rochebrune via a gondola from the resort centre.
Megeve is a great choice for beginners and intermediates with lots of uncrowded slopes, most of them long, easy blues. Beginners will find very easy green pistes running down alongside every gondola so getting back down should be a doddle. Better still, most are within the tree line and often produce fantastic vistas out towards Mont Blanc – so essentially the skiing is as pretty as the resort, the complete package, and there’s even an enticing mountain restaurant around almost every turn on the piste. The only small possible flaw in all this skiing perfection is that the slopes are rather low by modern standards which can be an issue, occasionally, particularly in lower runs if there’s an unlucky warm spell. Most likely at the start or end of the season.
The resort does not have a global reputation for advanced-level skiing, overshadowed a little by its proximity to Chamonix. Indeed Chamonix’s lift operator recently took over the operation of the ski slopes here and it’s now easier than ever to pop over to Cham if you fancy some of the steeper terrains there for a day or two.
But Megeve does have challenges of its own for those in the know. The Princesse run, graded black, descend through beautiful woodland scenery and not skiing the Emile Allias black piste would almost be an insult. Guides charged with taking you off-piste are likely to head off to their secret powder stashes at Mt Joly and St Nicholas and freestylers have three terrain parks to choose from.
Megeve is quite a nice resort in which to learn to ski, although the slopes are fragmented there are lots of easy green runs to get around on surrounding the resort once you’ve mastered your basic turns .
The resort tries hard to appeal to families and has a lot going for it in this regard. Along with those family-friendly runs and that pedestrianised resort centre there are four separate kids clubs to choose from, each conveniently based by the main lift stations.
For non-skiing children there are several British holiday nanny agencies available or the Les P’tites Frimousses nursery for 1-3 year olds is an option, located at the base of the Mont d’Arbois lift.
“Refined” is probably the best way to describe the nightlife in Megeve, although there are still some places to party as the lifts close, most notably the relatively new Folie Douce (see Mountain Restaurants) until late afternoon. Cocoon (182 Route Edmond de Rothschild; +33 4 50 21 09 91) is popular with seasonnaires and tourists alike and plays good music with sports on the TV screens. But this is no Chamonix or Val d’Isere and those looking for full-on nightlife would be better to look elsewhere. There is, however, a good selection of quieter bars where you won’t have any problem hearing yourself speak. Jazz is big in Megeve (there’s an international festival here each winter) and the Jazz Club des 5 Rues is one of the oldest and best outside Paris, and does good cocktails too. M Le Vin (50 Rue Saint-François; +33 4 50 58 16 10) has a phenomenal wine list. There is a small casino here too.
Le Dahu (192 route du Telepherique; +33 4 50 58 97 77) is located at the bottom of the Rochebrunne lift and has a reputation for fast and friendly service, great daily specials and generous portion sizes.
The arrival of a branch of the quite literally “all singing, all dancing” La Folie Douce (+33 (0) 450 58 99 67) a few years ago caused quite a stir in Megeve. The successful formula is the same as the original – self-service or table-service to a very high standard in La Fruitiere with a cabaret show and then apres ski from soon after lunchtime.
La Forestiere (+33 4 50 21 12 95) is an old farmhouse located on the way to Alpette which offers daily specials and a great authentic atmosphere. Located close to the Emile Allais black run.
Restaurant etoile Flocons de Sel (1775 route du Leutaz, +33 4 50 21 49 99, floconsdesel.com) was the first in the Alps to receive three Michelin stars and we perhaps need to say no more than that?
If you can cope with a mere two Michelin stars, then the light and airy Le 1920 (373 Chemin des Follieres; +33 4 50 21 12 11 ) in the new Four Seasons hotel features locally sourced French cuisine by Chef Julien Gatillon.
Le Refuge (2615 route du Leutaz; +33 4 50 21 23 04; refuge-megeve.com) is another in a long line of top-class restaurants in the resort. Located 15 minutes from the resort centre, famed for its souffles.
Ski Pros Megeve (+33 68 161 0615; skiprosmegeve.com)who employ native English speaking, but also bi-lingual, independent instructors have now clocked up 25 seasons in the resort.
The British Alpine Ski School or BASS (bassmegeve.com) in Megeve guarantees you’ll progress under their tuition. They offer private or group lessons for all abilities, adults or children.
Evolution 2 (evolution2-megeve.com) employs over 200 instructors in the village who not only teach snowsports but can also provide mountain guiding, and paragliding instruction or even teach you dog sledding.
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