Megève - glamorous, chic, charming and so very French.
This pretty medieval town was developed as a ski resort in the 1920’s as a response to Switzerland’s St Moritz and it has continued to be the resort of choice for the well-heeled French.
The resort owes much of its early development to Baroness Noemie de Rothschild who felt that with its rolling pastures and pretty medieval centre it was ideal to compete with the Swiss ski resorts. In 1925 architect Henry Jacques Le Meme moved to Mégève and one of his first commissions in early 1926 was to build Chalet Noemie for Baroness de Rothschild, which is now part of the Domaine Du Mont D’Arbois and is still owned by the Rothschild family.
He took the design of a typical Savoyard farmhouse and transformed it into a more contemporary building and he was instrumental in setting the Megèvan style. Examples of his work can be seen all over the resort and his design has influenced many of the buildings in the area, resulting in a beautiful town.
Although the recent development has been linear along the valley road, the town centre built around the 14th century church is very compact and is very pretty. The town has an incredible number of smart shops, fine dining restaurants and chic hotels and chalets, making it an increasingly popular choice for a more international clientele.
The ski area is divided into three main sections – Mont d’Arbois, Le Jaillet and Rochebrune. The town is most directly linked to the Rochebrune sector and the other areas plus the villages of Combloux, St Nicolas de Veroce and La Giettaz are all linked by lifts or pistes.
Megève is a sure winner for intermediates and beginners alike with so much choice, also a great area for the less confident as there are long, easy blue runs in all sectors. Many of the slopes are below the treeline, making this is a great resort in poor weather. Although low altitude can lead to poorer conditions early and late on in a season.
Skiable Range 850 – 2,355m
Ski terrain: Pistes 325km
green 19%, blue 29%, red 39%, black 13%
*skiing with a qualified mountain guide advised
There are lots of options here, and the good news is they don’t track out as quickly as some resorts. Head to La Giettaz for some tree skiing, and also under the second stage of the Princesse gondola where it is steeper too. For the steepest off piste, head to the areas of Mont Joly and Mont Joux where there is lots of choice.
Instead of picking a piste we prefer to pay homage to a great here. Megeve was home to one of the great names in the history of downhill skiing, Emile Allais, who died six months after reaching his centenary, in autumn 2012.
Allais was born in Megeve in 1912 the son of the village baker, just a few years before the transformation of the little village into a world-class ski resort. The influence of the great man has travelled around the world, but although he is now gone, you will find plenty of memories of him in the village, and these are worth seeking out.
Start off on the short green piste beneath the nursery slopes at the Chamois bubble, before progressing to the longer green run (number 156 on the piste map) on the Mont D’Arbois side, which leads to Bettex.
If just progressing from greens the blue runs at Le Tour, and the Mandarine piste on Mont D’Arbois are preferred, with the blue slopes across at Rochebrune considered to be a little more technical.
La Petite Fontaine is a beautiful, wide, long run with some lovely rollers, and there is a little cluster of beautiful reds from the Étudiants chairlift in the Mont Joux area.
A good starter black piste is Super Megève on the Rochebrune side, and over in Mont d’Arbois the Princesse black winds through the trees. The ultimate black run here though is Emile Allais in the Rochebrune; at 3km long it also has over 812m verticle elevation, and is steep (33 degrees at some points), mogulled at the top with a narrow schuss through trees at the bottom. A fun challenge for experienced skiers.
Like the town itself, Megève’s ski area is very easy on the eye - with most slopes below the treeline. It’s a paradise for intermediate skiers with lots of cruisy reds. There are three main sectors – Rochebrune, Le Jaillet and Mont d’Arbois
The Rochebrune gondola leaves from the centre of town, and there is a cable car from the southern end of the town. These two connect with a network of gentle, wooded, north-eastern facing slopes leading to the high point of Cote 2000. The latter has some of the best snow and there is the famous World Cup run to test your technique and your nerve. There is also some great off-piste around the Cote 2000.
This is the biggest sector and it’s a great area to ski in the trees if the weather is bad. Mont d’Arbois is at 1840m and from here you can take the chair over to Mont Joux from where you will have fantastic views of Mont Blanc. From here you can either ski the runs down to St Gervais Bettex or to the lovely village of St Nicolas Veroce. Or you could head up to Mont Joly, the highest point of skiing in Megève at 2355m and where you will find the steepest runs in the resort. You will also find some of the best off-piste on offer over the back of the hill or along the Epaule ridge.
The third area is Le Jaillet – a great place of mixed ability groups who want to clock up some miles on its mostly red and blue pistes. This area links to the neighbouring villages of Combloux and to La Giettaz. The slopes under the Christomet chair are an excellent place to develop and practise off-piste technique as the slopes are forgiving and the snow cover is usually very good here.
Megève has an excellent and well-deserved reputation for good restaurants both in the lovely old town centre as well as on the slopes. As a general rule the weekdays are quieter (except school holidays) but the resort (and therefore the restaurants) get much busier at weekend with visitors from Paris and Geneva. Here are a few of our favourites:
A branch of this famous chain opened in Megève last winter. It is at the top of the Mont Joux chair and has 2 restaurants - a self –service café serving simple dishes for those who don’t want to linger too long and La Fruitiere, which serves great food at a more leisurely pace. Enjoy the live music and dancing on the tables afterwards.
At the top of the Rochebrune cable car, this restaurant has amazing panoramic views to Praz. Food is good and they have a great BBQ outside on the sunny terrace in good weather. Friendly staff and a varied menu – try the Salade Alperge with its crispy, melting cheese balls and cured meats. A good spot for non-skiers as it is an easy walk from the top of the cable car.
A simple wooden chalet between the blue Pre Rosset & black Decente runs on the way back from Cote 2000. The food is excellent with great Savoyard specialities including Beaufort tart, tartiflette and diots (Savoyard sausages cooked in the oven). This place does get busy so you need to book or get there early. In late season the deck is a suntrap and when the weather is good they close the inside and food is served on the sundeck.
A fantastic mountain restaurant with sunny terrace, views of Mont Blanc and superb food. The interior is elegant mountain chic with big wooden tables and fur rugs and the speciality is spit-roasted meats cooked on the open fire. As it’s part of La Domaine du Mont d’Arbois and owned by the Rothchilds, it does, as you would expect, have an extensive wine list. This is definitely the choice for a long lunch. Book at weekends.
On the way to Communailles and set in the trees, La Raviere can be tricky to find, but well worth the effort for excellent value set two or three course lunch (note you can not just have one course). The perfect place to go if you want an afternoon off and simply want to eat well before skiing home gently afterwards. You must book in advance as it has very limited seating and remember that no credit cards are accepted.
This is a small mountain restaurant over towards St Nicolas de Veroce. It is very friendly and run by Violaine and Guillaume. The food is simple, well priced and good and the Plat du Jour is usually excellent. Other dishes to look out for are Croute du Gouet: think cheese, eggs, and the resultant filling dish, or Pella; a Savoyard specialty including cheese, potatoes and often Aravais or Reblochon cheese. The hot chocolate is divine.
You will find this traditional refuge on the right of the Marmottes piste (red) on the run down to St Nicolas de Veroce off the back of the Epaule. It is very small, but serves lovely food and has a wonderful ambiance. You can also stay overnight.
+33 (0) 450 93 21 31
In the lovely little village of St Nicolas de Veroce you will find this Logis de France restaurant, which serves good food at a reasonable price. It is part of the hotel of the same name and to get to it, you ski down the blue run towards Chatterix and there is a signpost about half way down to St. Nicholas.
This restaurant has stunning views across Megeve with Mont Blanc in the background. The restaurant offers Savoyard cuisine, charming service and conveniently just at the top of the Jaillet cable car.
At the bottom of the World Cup run and with a large south-facing terrace, this is a popular choice for skiers and non-skiers alike. Specialities include pierrade, fondue and typical mountain cuisine which are served in the beautifully decorated ‘alpine chic’ interior or in good weather on the terrace. The extensive wine list including wines from the Savoie (Domaine Bouvet) and wines from all over the world from the Baron Edmond de Rothschild Wine Company.
This elegant restaurant in the Chalet du Mont d’Arbois has 2 Michelin stars, and offers a contemporary take on traditional French cuisine. The chef, Julien Gatillon uses fresh seasonal ingredients to produce exceptional dishes. There is great emphasis on the provenance of all produce and, for example all the butter, cheese and diary products come from farms owned by the Rothschild family and naturally the wine list is superb. This is occasion dining at its best.
This beautiful and stylish restaurant run by Emmanuel Renaut now has 3 Michelin stars. The food as you would expect is truly excellent, and the ambience is friendly and not too formal. The restaurant, which is in a small hotel run by Emmanuel and his wife, is up the road past the Rochebrune cable car.
This is an offshoot of the Flocons de Sel in the centre of town. Excellent food and very reasonably priced. The simply but stylish furnished restaurants offers set menu of either 2 or 3 courses. We highly recommend it. It is in Rue Saint-François, near the Jazz Club.
The hotel ‘Le Chalet St Georges’ which is in the centre of the resort has two restaurants. The Table du Trappeur is a favourite with good French food; although service can be slow, it does have a nice ambience. There are usually two sittings at 6:30 and 8:30pm.The second restaurant is the Table du Pecheur specialises in fish. There is always a good plat du jour and excellent desserts.
A busy restaurant in the centre of town serving traditional Savoyard food, with an emphasis on cheese. It has been welcoming clients for over 45 years and it is well priced and well presented. This is a great little restaurant that is always busy for a good reason.
This typical French brasserie is in the square by Allards. It serves classic French bistro food such as Entrecote with Frites but sometimes that is just what you fancy.
This is one of the restaurants at the refurbished 5 star hotel “Le M de Megève” which used to be the Manège. It is near the St George's Hotel. The food and service is excellent and eating here comes highly recommended.
This lovely restaurant is part of the one of best hotels in Megève, Chalet Zannier. Deceptively simple food, served in a bistro chic ambiance. Home grown, locally produce ingredients and the magic of chef Julien Burlat will make this a meal to remember. Come early in the week because you will want to come again.
This is a beautiful, sleek restaurant done out in caramel and white tones. The enticing menu introduces diners to forgotten flavours, and works with regional ingredients. The Alpaga’s gastronomic restaurant, which was awarded one star in the Michelin Guide in 2014, is run by the hotel’s chef, Anthony Bisquerra.
A real haunt for carnivores with a very 'animal' decor of trophies, animal skins and leather. In the same vein as American steakhouses, high quality meats are on offer here, after careful selection and maturation, in time-honoured tradition. Enjoy Black Angus and Bavarian beef, as well as Texas premium beef. Meat lovers take note!
Megève is perfect for groups with non-skiers. In fact many of it's well heeled French visitors don't come to ski at all, but rather to wander it's cobbled streets, eat in it's many top class restaurants, shop in it's boutiques and be pampered in it's many spas.
Megève's has a plethora of options to keep the non-skiers happy. Most resorts in the Alps offer a horse and carriage experience but this is a surely the best resort to enjoy the authentic experience of trotting through cobbled streets with snow feathering your hat.
The out-door ice rink is a beautiful setting and great option for a romantic or family evening. For the bigger kids, Megève's casino is a perfect option for a night out if you're feeling lucky.
The resort has an excellent Sports Centre, which offers a number of activities including swimming, gym, climbing wall, covered tennis courts, indoor and outdoor ice rink for skating and curling as well as spa and sauna facilities.
Cross-country skiing – there are 38 km of marked and maintained trails in the resort some of which are at altitude making meeting skiers in the party for lunch much easier. Equipment can be rented from many of the ski shops in resort and the Tourist Office produces an excellent map and guide.
If you’d like to take to the skies there are several options available to you. Why not organise a hot air balloon trip? This can be done from Praz sur Arly just a few kilometres from Megève. Or take a scenic flight in a light aircraft to see the mountains from above. Flights leave from the Altiport at Cote 2000. Flights vary from a 10 minute flight round Megève to a longer trip round Mont Blanc. Alternatively you can join an instructor for a tandem paragliding flight. These usually go from the top of Rochebrune and are of course weather dependent.
If you’d rather stay on ‘terra firma’ then you can try your hand at dogsledding. This takes place in the wonderful Mont du Villard, which is not accessible by car so allows you to truly appreciate the wild beauty of the mountains. Mont du Villard is a few kilometres outside Megève and does involve a 20 minute walk to the starting point.
Another way to enjoy the mountain is by snowshoeing and there are a number of organised walks into the mountains that you can join. A professional guide will show you the route as well as giving you details of the history of the area and its flora and fauna. Another great way to enjoy the mountain is hiking and walking. There are a number of well-marked trails and there is a very useful map for walkers entitled ‘Sentiers Pietons’, which you can get from the Tourist Office.
Megève is very well endowed with spa facilities, so in addition to those at the Sports Centre there are numerous hotels with very good ‘wellness centres’. Two of our favourites are Les Fermes De Marie and the spa at the Flocons de Sel Hotel which both also offer a range of beauty and massage treatments to sooth any aching muscles after a day on the slopes.
Megève has some really excellent shopping and the shops are mostly quite central making it a really convenient place to indulge in some serious retail therapy. You will find everything from sports shops to high end clothing and interior design boutiques as well as some seriously good delis selling delicious local produce.
The epitome of French chic has to be Hermès and you will find a branch of this famous brand on Place de l’Eglise, in the centre of resort. You will also find branches of other famous brands such as Moncler, Lacoste and Swarovski in the town.
Blu&Berry is a chic boutique on Rue Charles Feige, which stocks Isabel Marant, Carven and Céline amongst other ‘it-labels’ galore. It is the ideal spot to find the perfect après-ski outfit. Other boutiques selling high-end fashion labels include Big Boss, Blue Ink and Numero 5, all of which can be found in the streets around the Place de l’Eglise.
Famous for inventing stirrup ski pants in 1930, the family-run shop Aalard, on the main square, is still the place to go for luxe skiwear and cashmere. You will also find a Colmar shop, Killy & Vuarnet as well as Roxy and Quiksilver and Napapijri shops in the town centre so updating your ski wardrobe is never a problem in Megève.
If you would like to give your home an ‘alpine chic’ makeover then you will find a number of décor shops to help you. Find super-cool contemporary furniture and home accessories at Formes et Utopie. Visit La Boutique Suédoise on Rue de la Poste to give a clean Scandinavian look to your home. Visit Croco Comptoir on the main road (D1212) for great throws, lamps and cushions.
If you’re looking for local food delicacies to take home then try Laiterie Gaiddon in Rue Ambroise Martin in the centre. This family run shop has been selling cheese and diary products since 1933. Or go to La Ferme de Joseph, a farm shop over on the Jaillet side which sells delicious homemade terrines and patés, charcuterie, jams and honeys as well as cheese and diary products, most of which is made on the premises. There is a ‘tasting room’ on the first floor so you can choose your favourite before you buy.
If you have a sweet tooth then you should visit Les Glaçons de Megève on Route Edmond de Rothschild, which sells delicious ‘galets’ of delicate praline covered in a fine layer of meringue. These have been made to a traditional family recipe handed down the generations since 1909. Or visit La Maison Ladurée in the centre of town to buy their beautifully coloured and delicately flavoured macaroons. And don’t forget to visit Le Flocon de Neige on Rue Monseigneur Conseil to sample the handmade chocolate, caramels, nougats and fruit confits as this shop is a Megève institution.
Friday is market day in Megève - this is usually held on the car park by the Palais des Sports. This is a wonderful mix of fruit, fresh produce and clothing.
For non-skiers or those staying for extended holidays over the winter, there is plenty to see and do in the local area surrounding Megève.
Take the bus to Le Fayet where you will find the St Gervais Les Bains Thermal Baths, which use the local hot springs for beauty and medical treatments. You can also visit the town of St Gervais with its lovely turn of the century buildings.
Chamonix, the iconic home of Mont Blanc is just 35 km drive from Megève. The town centre is very compact and perfect for a day visit. The bustling town centre, which is very different to Megève, has a host of shops and cafés. In addition to a fascinating alpine museum, which details the conquering of the Mont Blanc summit, there is the cable car up the Aiguille du Midi, which takes you to 3,840m, giving you amazing views of the surrounding peaks. Or take a trip up to the Mer de Glace glacier on the Montenvers Train. The journey itself is a joy, but from here you can access the ice caves or ‘grotto’ by a small gondola lift (or via a footpath if you fancy the leg stretch) and then a flight of approximately 300 steps.
Annecy is the other must-visit place in the area – this beautiful lakeside town is 60 km from Megève and is a scenic 1½ hour drive. Often called the ‘Venice of the Alps’, the old town is built around a series of canals that feed into the lake, which is the 3rd largest in France and said to be the cleanest in Europe. This is the perfect place to wander around the old cobbled streets, admiring the medieval architecture and window-shopping. Full of character as well as offering great retail therapy and a fantastic selection of cafés and restaurants, Annecy is the perfect destination for a day-out.
We recommend flying with our partner airline Swiss,
who will carry your ski gear for no extra charge.
Geneva (GVA): 1h 15m / 86km
Megève is very close to Geneva with a transfer time of around 1h 15m so flying really is the easiest option when staying here. We work with a number of taxi firms to provide shared, private and luxury road transfers from the airport of your choice to Megève. If you prefer to arrive by helicopter then of course we can arrange that too.
The train is less convenient for Megève than for the resorts in the Tarentaise, but if this is your preferred mode of transport the fastest route is to take the Eurostar to Lille and then change to the TGV Lyria service to Geneva, and to arrange a transfer from there to resort. Alternatively take the Eurostar to Paris and change to TGV to Chambery from where we can arrange a private transfer to resort. It is approximately 100 km distance.
If you choose to drive to Megève from the UK it is a straightforward 885 km journey from Calais, on average taking approximately 9 hours including some stops en route. The co-ordinates if you are using a satellite navigations system are:
*Please be aware that Sat Navs are not always accurate and particularly in winter they will not show Alpine road closures so please check the route chosen
Bronze - EUR 125
You like discover the mountain with equipment that’s safe
and easy to use.
Silver - EUR 150
You prefer to ski with comfortable high-performance equipment which allows you to take full advantage of the ski area on offer.
Gold - EUR 195
You only ski with the newest and best equipment
each season, for enjoyable high performance skiing.
6 day adult pass - EUR 233
With our partner ski school ESF Megeve
Private half-day (morning) lesson - EUR 260
All day guiding - EUR 420
Bottle of Veurve Clicquot EUR 110
Small beer EUR 5
Bottle of house wine EUR 28
Vin chaud/Gluwein EUR 6
Hot chocolate EUR 4.50
Cup of coffee EUR 4.50
Glass of coke EUR 4.50
Pizza EUR 18