Resort Spotlight: Megève
The stunning resort of Megève was built as France's answer to the glamorous St Moritz in Switzerland. Founded by the famous Rothschild family, on the site of a medieval village, Megève has always been synonymous with the best of everything. With its cobbled streets, chic hotels, exclusive boutiques and Michelin restaurants, Megève is the perfect destination for those looking for a bit of luxury.
Skiing in Megève
Megève’s ski area has 300km of slopes and 80 ski lifts within three areas, Rochebrune Cote 2000, Jaillet and Mont d'Arbois. Since opening in 1913, the resort has played its part in the development of the sport of skiing and regularly hosts World Cup races. Two snow parks and a half-pipe are available for snowboarding.
To add further to Megève’s appeal, the surrounding slopes, located in the Mont Blanc massif – and extending to 445km thanks to connections to neighbouring ski areas – are some of the most attractive in the skiing world.
There are many beginner slopes dotted around the valley floor at the base of all three ski areas, and there is gondola access to easy terrain at the top of Mont d’Arbois and Le Jaillet when the snow is lacking at village level. Once you have mastered the basics on the bunny hills, there are many green and blue runs to progress to: in fact, green and blue runs make up 40% of the pistes in Megève.
With 71% of the ski area rated as suitable for intermediates, Megève is perfect for those who are not ready to take on the hardest black runs but are too skilled for the easy green pistes. Red, blue and easy black runs are plentiful in the area, from Mont D’Arbois to Rochebrune. For slightly more secluded intermediate skiing with amazing views of the Mont Blanc massif, make your way to Le Jaillet.
Although not especially well known for its tough skiing, Megève offers plenty of challenge for those prepared to look for it, including some great off-piste by Mont Joly and Mont Joux. The front of Mont Joly has some of the resorts steepest runs, and if you're a fan of sheer vertical, La Giettaz is the place for you. There is also the kilometre long Voltigeurs slope. Le Jaillet has limited runs to test the expert, but there are one or two terrific descents from the top, Christomet.
World Famous Bars
If you prefer a more sophisticated scene, Georges in the Hôtel Mont-Blanc is the place to go. With exquisite champagnes and delicacies on offer, all served in a timeless, elegant atmosphere, Georges will give you a taste of what the traditional Megève lifestyle is all about.Until recently, après in Megève was a sophisticated affair, with cafes and cocktail bars rather than rowdy pubs. All that changed in 2015 with the opening of world-famous après ski bar, La Folie Douce, at the top of the Mont-Joux ski lift which is packed with skiers and boarders dancing on table tops to loud pop music from 2.30pm-4.30pm every day.
Back in more usual ski resort territory however, when the lifts close the crowd grows in one or two of the bars at the base of the slopes. The most popular is the 540, at the bottom of the Jaillet cable car and boasting a large south facing terrace.
Top choices in town include Le Wake Up, La Caleche and Le White Pearl. Later on in the evening there is a small casino and several popular nightclubs to keep you going until the early hours of the morning. Palo Alto is the discotheque of all discotheques in Megève and Cosmopolitan Bar is great for partying through the night as it stays open until 5am. The 5 Rues Jazz Club, is a perennial favourite with locals and tourists alike, and often has music from many genres to keep you entertained.
Megève is virtually unrivalled when it comes to restaurant options. On-piste there are more than 30 different food huts to choose from, suiting every budget and almost every taste bud. From organic-only bistros to Michelin-star dining, there is something for even the fussiest of eaters.
It is quite hard to go wrong when choosing a restaurant on the hill, as the general standard is high: La Raviere, L'Alpette, the Auberge Bonneval and the La Face au Mont Blanc deserve honourable mentions.
The main village is where the Megève food scene really thrives. The most famous restaurant in Megève, Flocons de Sel, has 3 Michelin stars and is regarded by most as the best in town. The Bistro Savoyard is a good choice for traditionally cooked Savoie specialities but owners Andrée and Jean-Pierre, who have been running their bistro in Megève for 25 years, also have a reputation for their great pizza. The Alpaga’s Restaurant serves ‘bistronomic’cuisine which is casual, but well thought out and delicious. For Asian dishes try Boudha which offers wide ranging cuisine including Vietnamese fondue – which makes a change from Savoyard.
Shopping in Megève is serious business. Strolling along the cobbled pathways of the village, you will come across a huge selection of shops. Scattered amongst the usual technical ski and board shops, you will also find antique dealers, famous jewellers and top designer brands such as Hermes, Prada and Hugo Boss.
Surrounding Ski Resorts
When talking about Megève, one shouldn’t overlook the neighbouring – and linked - ski resorts of Combloux and La Giettaz. Combloux is a charming resort 4kms from Megève and linked by the Jaillet gondola. Famously referred to by Victor Hugo as 'The Pearl of the Alps', this traditional mountain village is perfect when style and beautiful scenery are essential for your ski property purchase. With a 360 degree panoramic view of the Mont Blanc Massif, Fiz, and Aiguille Rouges ranges, this family friendly resort is every bit the traditional mountain experience.
La Giettaz is a small ski area connected to Megève via Le Plan in the Jaillet area. Much like Megève and Combloux, the skiing around La Giettaz is very scenic, with many of the ski pistes winding their way down tree-covered hillsides. There is limited challenging terrain for more experienced skiers; the area best suits beginner to intermediate skiers.
How to Get There
Megève is easily accessed from the airports of: Geneva (70km) - 1 hour, Chambery (90km) - 1.5 hours and Grenoble (120km) - 2 hours, all of which have frequent flights from London. There are several shuttle services as well as taxis to transfer you to Megève from each of the airports. For the lucky few, Megève has that rare thing: an altiport for arrivals by helicopter. Travel by train is also an option: the Eurostar runs from London to St Gervais or Sallanches.
Megève Ski Property
Megève’s property market is broad in location and price. Those in the market for a spacious, luxury chalet need look no further: most ski chalets come with swimming pool, Turkish bath, sauna and cinema room as standard, such as this 5 bedroom new-build chalet. The opening of the 4 Seasons’ first hotel in an alpine ski resort will bring a fresh market to Megève and an increased demand for high-end chalets.
Savvy investors are turning to Combloux where they can benefit from lower prices and links into Megève. Chalet owners can enjoy the picturebook views of Mont Blanc, such as from this 5 bedroom, new-build chalet, for sale through mydreamhome. Interest in La Giettaz is also growing, particularly among families looking for a small, easily navigable ski village or for those wanting a quieter alpine escape. It is possible to pick up a ski property for under €100k such as this 1 bedroom apartment.
Click on the following links for more information about buying a ski apartment or chalet in France:
• French Buying Guide
• French Ski Resort Guide
• Mortgage Guide
• Currency Guide
• Megève Resort Guide