Megève was one of the earliest ski resorts to be created - a French answer to St Moritz. Based on a thirteenth century village its pedestrianised centre still has cobbled streets. Today it is a unique place in many ways - differing from almost all other French ski centres in its history, ambience and altitude. It is almost the antithesis of the high altitude concrete rectangle resort for which France is infamous but, none-the-less, it gives skiers access to one of the world's largest lift-linked ski areas, and a lift pass that includes neighbouring Chamonix. Equally significant, the range of shopping, restaurants, facilities and organised activities available surpasses all other French destination resorts. Megève has a long history. Two hundred years ago it was comparatively large, with 2,400 people, mostly involved in agriculture. This population had dropped to 1750 at the start of the first World War. However, everything changed when Baroness de Rothschild picked the village, which had a few years earlier opened a tourist office and begun winter tourism, to be changed in to a 'French St Moritz'. Such was the influence of the Baroness that, following the construction of the resort's fourth hotel, the Hotel Palace Mont d'Arbois, and her persuading French railways to open a special line from Paris to neighbouring St Gervais, the royal families of Europe began arriving in the resort by the early 1920s. The famous 'Ski Club de Paris', managed by Austrian instructors, opened in 1932 and at Rochebrune, where the area's skiing actually began, opened a cablecar in 1933. The resort was undisputed as 'most chic' in France during the '60s and '70s but lost ground in the '80s when the French super areas came into their own and Courchevel became the place to be (although it lacks the history, character and ambience of Megève). Today, with skiing no longer the be all and end all of winter holidays, Megève is back in renaissance.
One of the largest towns in France (third biggest bed base after Chamonix and La Plagne), with the most to do, besides ski, of any French resort. Options include a casino, choice of four beauty farms, bridge club, bowling, concerts, conferences, ice shows and so on. The huge ski area pass includes Chamonix, with the local area lift linked to St Gervais and Combloux. Megève itself has a medieval town centre. Heliskiing is also offered by the International Ski School and the Guides Office. The area of Cote 2000/Rochebrune is the most snow sure in the region.