Chic and classy Megève is a traditional French village which has been sympathetically designed by planners and architects who wanted to create something aesthetically pleasing and special and the result is that Megeve must be one of the prettiest villages in France. It really is a unique, stunning village, surrounded by sprawling suburbs and such a pleasure to explore and wander around, attracting many of the rich and famous wanting an all-round winter holiday. Courchevel attracts many similar types, but Megève really is in a different league.
The resort’s heart is a beautiful, pedestrianised medieval centre with cobbled streets, horse drawn sleighs, smart boutiques and designer shops, classy cafes, antique and jewellery shops, piano bars, galleries and a pretty church, floodlit at night. Although there are plenty of glittering five-star hotels and Michelin starred restaurants catering to the affluent, there are places that are much more affordable to stay and eat in too. The resort’s state-of-the-art Le Palais leisure centre has a sports area with separate indoor pools for adults and children, saunas, a steam room, indoor hot tubs, an Olympic standard indoor ice rink, indoor tennis, gym and more.
Only one major lift leaves from the centre of town, with the others being on the fringes, reached by efficient and free ski-buses which run every 10 minutes at peak times. Once on the slopes the ski area is extensive, offering over 400km of pistes and best suits intermediates who want lots of generally easy cruising on well-groomed pistes. After a fresh snowfall, the off-piste is quite superb being relatively quiet as many keep to the pistes. Most don’t go for the off piste skiing, so it’s one of the best places to enjoy and learn off piste skiing in relative isolation and without getting yourself into any difficulty.
The slopes are set out on three different mountains – Rochebrune, Mont d’Arbois and Le Jaillet – and are mainly wooded, making them great if the weather is poor. Confident intermediates will eat up the miles in Megeve but there are loads of beautiful cruising blues for the timider. Experts and beginners will get on fine too and mixed ability groups won’t have a problem here. If you like a good lunch, there are some impressive mountain restaurants to choose from. Mountain restaurants are a real highlight of the area – whether you want a long gourmet lunch or a quick snack. The scenery is magnificent too, with stunning views of Mont Blanc from much of the ski area.
Megeve has a low altitude but as the terrain is grassy, a lot of snow actually isn’t needed – which is great in poor snow seasons. Megeve’s mountains add up to a significant number of slopes, suiting mainly beginners and intermediates, with so much choice there’s no chance of getting bored. The resort still has some old, slower lifts but “piste eaters” can plan their day around the numerous modern and speedier lifts.
A gondola takes you up from the centre of town to the Rochebrune area, which is connected to Mt Arbois by cable car. The skiing is fantastic in these sectors with plenty of motorway runs and tree-lined slopes ranging from speedy reds for confident intermediates to cruisy blues on Mr Arbois for the less confident. Of note for those braver are the shady reds on the back of Mt Arbois and the runs at the front of Rochebrune.
The local Evasion Mont Blanc ski pass covers all the local Megève skiing plus the neighbouring resort of Les Contamines and Saint Gervais. The Mont Blanc unlimited ski pass is also an option and this covers the whole of the nearby Chamonix valley, plus Courmayeur in Italy and Verbier in France, so that’s more skiing on the pass than the 3 Valleys, albeit not interconnected.
Megève is ideal for a short break as well as a week’s holiday as it’s 75 minutes from Geneva airport and most hotels and some chalets are geared up for taking short-break bookings. Accommodation options are extensive and though some of the higher end chalets and hotels can be expensive, there are lots of alternative options to suit almost any budget and we are happy to help advise.
Apres ski is a tad muted compared to some of the French resorts and perhaps doesn’t favour groups of people wanting to party the night away, but favours more families and couples or those wanting a more sedate experience when the lifts stop. So saying that for many people there’s certainly enough options which start at the Folie Douce from 14.30 until the lifts close, with outdoor music and dancing. Club de Jazz is an excellent option for cocktails and Jazz. The Rendevous bar is open from midnight until 05.00 so ideal for those who don’t want an early start on the slopes. Tiger is a chain of bars offering cocktails and sushi from 18.00 and The Cocoon Club with live DJ’s and dancing until the wee small hours.