Residence Lune Argent
- Rating: 3 Star
- Location: On road up to Mont d’Arbois
- Room Type: Apartment: Studio, 1-2 Bedroom
This is a ski resort like no other in France – the old town dates back to the 13th century and the cobble streets around the pretty church are the perfect backdrop to a snow scene. The place oozes charm and character and is a favourite of the wealthy Paris/Geneva crowd. That said, although you wouldn’t think it, Megève developed as a purpose built ski resort – albeit in the 1920’s when local estate owner, Baron de Rothchild wanted a French resort to rival the glitzy appeal of St Moritz.
The town has developed along the main road and is split into different sectors – the centre around the church square, Mont d’Arbois where the Rothchild estate is located and Princesse area. There is a shuttle bus service linking the different area which is free on your lift pass but otherwise it is a walk of around 30-40 mins between sectors.
The skiing here is scenic and there is lots below the tree-line. Although it is lower than many other French resorts, as it is grass slopes, the snow coverage can be less. There are certainly resorts with higher, more challenging skiing but there are few with the charm and elegance of Megève – everyone should ski here at least once!
Megève is on the road between Albertville and Chamonix running along the Gorge d’Arly. There is accommodation along this route starting in Praz du Arly then Prariand and then the centre of town which is off the main road. The Mont d’Arbois area is above the main town to the east. Going out of town towards the neighbouring village of Combloux , you will pass through the areas of Princesse and Demi-Quartier.
There is shuttle bus service connecting all areas of the resort including neighbouring villages of Combloux and Saint Gervais which is free to lift pass holders.
The skiing in Megève can be easily divided into 3 sectors – Rochebrune, linked to the town centre by a gondola; Mont d’Arbois/Princesse from where you can ski down to the neighbouring resort of St Gervais and St Nicolas de Veroce and Le Jaillet which is on the west side of the resort and connects with the neighbouring resorts of Combloux and La Giettaz. Rochbrune and Mont d’Arbois areas are linked by lift but not by piste and Le Jaillet is a separate area. The lift system is not the most modern (hence the number of drag lifts) but outside the peak holiday weeks, the slopes are reasonable quiet during the week although the weekends do see an influx of visitors from Paris and Geneva.
There is something for all standard of skier although it is a resort that really suits the good intermediate with lots of cruisy blue and red pistes and tree-lined slopes with wonderful views. The steepest slopes tend to be those off Mont Joly – try the Chamois run which is 2 km long with a vertical of 640 m. The slopes beneath Mont Joly tend to be left unpisted so offer more challenge and there are some great bowl and tree runs in this sector but best explored with a guide/instructor who knows the area well.
Beginners are well catered for and many of the slopes are conveniently located at village level. There is also a specific beginner lift pass and there are free easy-to-ride magic carpet lifts for beginners’ use at Rochebrune, Princesse and Jaillet.
Megève is not necessarily the resort you think of for snow boarders but there are 2 snow parks with half-pipes, bumps and rails and there is some good off-piste terrain. However, the drag lifts wont suit everyone.
For cross-country skiers there are 42 kms of marked trails some of which are at altitude making a lunch time rendezvous with skiers easier.
|Skiable Terrain||400 km of piste|
|Vertical||1,300 m / 4265 ft|
|Top Elevation||2,350 m / 7709 ft|
|Base Elevation||1,050 m / 3444 ft|
|Average Snowfall||3.2 m|
|Winter lifts Total||93|
|Longest Run||5.5 km / 3.4 mile|
|Snowmaking||8 km / 5 mile covered|
Flying to Megève
Transfers to Resort
Minibus transfers to the resort operate from the airport, bus or train station.
Catching a Train to Megève
The local train station is at Sallanches in the valley which is about 35 mins drive from the resort. There are no intercity direct trains to Sallanches so train travel would involve several changes.
Driving to Megève
Megève is not a difficult resort to access by car and the road up from Sallanches in the valley it is a 15kms drive. Snow tyres/ chains are recommended. It is 90km from Geneva airport.
There are two lift pass options in Megève, which is part of the same ski lift company that operates the lifts in Chamonix. An Evasion Mont Blanc pass gives you access to all the Megève lifts and to the neighbouring resorts of Combloux and Saint-Gervais as well as free access to the sledge run at Princesse and various ski lift car parks. If you plan to venture further afield you can get a Mont Blanc Unlimited pass which also includes Chamonix and Courmayeur. There are also pedestrian passes and a beginner pass which gives access to the nursery slopes in the Princesse and Rochebrune-Mont d’Arbois sectors of the resort. A lift pass also gives you access to the resort shuttle buses.
All passes are hands-free and costs €3 (non-refundable, although you can recharge the card on subsequent use) and a photo is needed for passes of 10+ days duration.
Passes for children under 5 are free and there are discounted passes anyone over 80 years old – proof of age is usually required. There are also discounts for families.
There are a number of ski schools in the resort offering everything from group lessons to private tuition and guiding. Group lessons typically start on Sunday or Monday and run for 5 or 6 mornings. Most ski schools will offer children’s ski lessons from age 4 upwards
Megève has lots to do off the slopes and is a great choice if you have non-skiers in your group. There is everything from sporting facilities to art galleries and cooking lessons available.
Sports Centre – There are swimming pools, climbing wall, gym and fitness rooms and spa facilities available plus daily classes ranging from aqua-bike to yoga .
Ice Rink – There is a lovely outdoor skating rink as well as an indoor rink where you can try your hand at curling or broomball as well as see ice hockey matches.
Electric Fat-bikes – Try a go on the slopes on an electric fat bike with a half-day excursion on the snowy trails of Le Jaillet or Mont d’Arbois
Snowshoe & Glacier Hikes – There are marked trails or you can join an organised outing on snowshoes to explore the local area. There are also 50 kms of marked walking/hiking routes.
Sledging – Try the 300m long tobogganing run on the Princesse sector. Included on the Evasion Mont Blanc lift pass
Paragliding – See the resort from the sky on a tandem paraglide flight.
Dog Sledding – Try your hand at ‘mushing’ with a pack of husky dogs and a sleigh (or be a passenger). Sessions of 1 hour can be booked or a night ride.
Although heliskiing is not permitted in France, due to Megève’s proximity to Italy & Switzerland it is possible to arrange a day’s heliskiing over the border.
Megève is gourmet paradise – this is a resort that takes its food very seriously so you will find excellent restaurants both on and off the mountain. The resort has several Michelin star restaurants including the 3* Flocons de Sel and the 2*1920 but you’ll also find some excellent more casual options including Flocons Village which is the sister restaurant to the Flocons de Sel. Or try great cocktails and pizza at Spaggiari or local specialities such as raclette at Le Vieux Megève.
On the mountain the choice is just as good – if you’re looking for a special, celebratory lunch then head for the Ideal 1850 on Mont d’Arbois, an elegant restaurant that is part of the Rothchild’s estate. Or head for the village of St Nicolas de Veroce and stop for lunch at the traditional Le Coin du Feu. There is a branch of the Folie Douce in Megève and if you’re looking for a lively atmosphere and good food it is the place to be. As ever the recommendation is to go for a late lunch and then you have a seat to enjoy the legendary cabaret.
Megève centre is a lovely place for a pre-dinner stroll and aperitif and the resort is home to the oldest jazz club outside of Paris in France (Le Club de Jazz). You’ll find some great bars in the streets around the church square.
Megève has a very pretty town centre and has some excellent shopping. In addition to the usual array of sport shops selling ski clothing and equipment, you will find an excellent selection of clothes shops – including Hermes which gives some indication of the clientele in this resort! There are also a number of home décor and interior design shops – both in the centre and on the main road running through the town. If you are looking for local souvenirs, go to Arpin for locally made rugs and throws. There are a number of speciality food shops as well as more general supermarkets and there is a weekly market on Fridays (8am – 1pm).