A celebrated lifestyle and ski destination
Megève sits alongside Gstaad and Kitzbühel, these are hybrid lifestyle and ski destinations, but not of the hard core variety. All three have history, charm, and are beautifully preserved, with an upmarket feel and excellent facilities. Megève competes head to head with Courchevel 1850 for Michelin star restaurants, but with a different clientele. The Four Seasons group is making a big bet on Megève with a slick chalet style hotel on Mont d’Arbois, the Aquatic Centre has received a €35m upgrade. The extensive ski area is best suited to intermediates, but has some fine off piste sections and challenging black runs. Most of the valley pistes have snow-making. Accommodations is in chalets, hotels and apartments, the Folie Douce is naturellement a top après destination.
Property for Sale and to Rent in Megève
Prices here are dramatically lower than Gstaad, and in the same bracket as Kitzbühel. Proximity to Geneva and as a favoured location for well-heeled French buyers underpin demand. Mont d’Arbois is the most exclusive section, properties in the village close to the lift also attract a premium, Demi-Quartier is a good compromise, Praz-sur-Arly is five kms down the road, and part of the Espace Diamant ski area. There is usually an ample selection of fine two, three and four bedroom chalets and apartments for sale in Megève and nearby. A large number of smart new developments expected to have entered the market by 2022.
A guide to Megève
Megève is a traditional winter sports resort with a high class reputation just over one hour’s drive from Geneva. It has attracted an affluent clientele since the 1920s. The car-free centre is a charming and delightful place to walk around with cobbled streets, a central open air ice rink, a medieval church, horse-drawn sleighs and lots of smart shops. Megève is a serious gastronomic destination with abundance of the finest restaurants.
Megève offers a wide range of accommodation to choose from. From exceptional five-star hotels and a wide choice of luxury and ultra-luxury chalets to small hotels and value apartments around the Arly valley.
Megève caters exceptionally to the occasional or non-skier and there is always plenty going on throughout the year such as the International Curling Tournament, and the International Jazz Festival, car rallies, cycling and many other sporting events. The recently opened sports and congress centre, Le Palais, is home to an ice rink, gym, spa, climbing wall, saunas, steam rooms, a swimming pool, tennis, seminar rooms and exhibitions. For a bit of retail therapy, 7 art galleries and over 200 shops are there to welcome you. The weekly farmers market is in town every Friday morning.
There is an active property market in Megève with many superb chalets, apartments and new developments for sale, read our recent blog here.
Megève ski area
The skiing area is extensive and is well suited to intermediates who like miles of easy cruising on well-groomed pistes. The 445km of pistes reaching as high as 2350 metres are served by 107 lifts spread over the three main mountains of Mont d’Arbois, Rochebrune and Le Jaillet. Under the Compagnie du Mont-Blanc the ski infrastructure and piste layout is continually upgraded. Above the village are excellent beginner slopes with plenty of red and easy black runs higher up. Adventurous skiers will enjoy the superb off-piste terrain, snow parks can be found on Mont Joux, Rochebrune and at the top of the Jaillet gondola. The local Évasion Mont Blanc ski pass covers all the local Megève skiing plus the neighbouring resort of Les Contamines, Saint Gervais and Saint Nicolas de Véroce. For some variety many consider the Mont Blanc Unlimited ski pass worthwhile, as it covers the whole of the nearby Chamonix valley, plus Courmayeur in Italy and Verbier. 175 snow cannons ensure the snow on the lower pistes is maintained.
The undulations and stunning scenery of the Arly valley are well suited to cross-country skiing, 3 areas and 45 km of tracks are suitable for all levels.
Après ski in Megève
La Folie Douce in Mégeve is located at the top of the Mont Joux lift. The Cocoon club also has a DJ and live bands playing regularly. Les Voiles has moved up from its waterside party roots on Lake Geneva to open a smart new ‘après’ venue in Megève. The 540 at the bottom of the Jaillet cable car has a large south facing terrace. The 5 Rues Jazz Club is a perennial favourite, Le Cinq Rue turns into a serious dance party after midnight, several other night clubs and a small casino complete the scene.
Eating out in Megève
Mountain restaurants are abundant in both numbers and variety with more than 30 different huts to choose from. Most of the restaurants have outdoor terraces so you can enjoy being surrounded by some of the most beautiful mountain scenery in the world. Idéal 1850 is considered a decadent lunch stop. Auberge Bonneval is a welcoming authentic old wooden Alpine chalet. The Face au Mont Blanc has two restaurants in one chalet with outstanding views over the Mont-Blanc.
Megève has always been a true destination for fine dining, it is considered one of the best ski resort in the world for eating out with 89 restaurants, of which 4 have Michelin stars, and many more well established contenders. Flocons de Sel is the three Michelin-star restaurant run by Chef Emmanuel Renaut. Le 1920 in the Four Seasons hotel also holds two Michelin stars. More down to earth, Bistrot Savoyard has been a good choice for traditionally cooked Savoyard specialities for 25 years.
Summer in Megève
Megève’s exceptionally beautiful setting beneath Mont Blanc and varied terrain is perfectly suited to the many outdoor pursuits and family friendly things to do. The excellent sports centre in the heart of the village is popular in the summer for swimmers, tennis and much more. A 6-day renowned show jumping competition, music festivals, family based events, adventure park and cycle races are part of the variety of events to enjoy. Lac de Javen is the spot for a picnic, an open air swim in distinctively clear water, and trout fishing. Another popular activity is tackling the Via Ferrata routes nearby.
For hikers there are 150km of marked walking trails to explore. The path that leads from Mont d’Arbois down to Planellet via the forests is probably the one with the best views. The Jaillet gondola will take you high above the town up to Combloux where you start a 2.5 hour route which meanders back down to Megève.
Mountain bikers have a network of over 300km of sign-posted trails for all levels to indulge in locally and leading to other picturesque local towns such as Flumet, Combloux, Sallanches and Praz-sur-Arly. The annual MB RACE lays claim to be the longest one-day mountain biking event worldwide.
Other Destinations in the French Alps: Alpe d'Huez Chamonix Courchevel Courchevel La Tania Courchevel Le Praz Courchevel Moriond Courchevel Village La Toussuire Les Deux Alpes Les Gets Les Menuires Méribel Méribel Les Allues Méribel Village Méribel-Mottaret Morzine Paradiski Pays du Mont Blanc Pralognan-la-Vanoise Sainte-Foy-Tarentaise St. Martin de Belleville Tignes Val d'Isère Val Thorens Valmorel