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Megeve is a traditional winter holiday town in the Savoie region in the Northern French Alps. The ski resort is a hidden gem for British skiers since most of the visitors tend to be French. Best suited to intermediates, there’s enough to appeal to experts, freeride boarders and beginners. There are loads of off-slope activities and it’s great for a weekend or short break.

Overview

If you’re used to purpose-built ski resorts such as Courchevel, Les Arcs or La Plange, Megeve will come as a surprise. It’s a traditional Alpine town, which was made fashionable in the early 1900s by the Rothschild family. The well-preserved medieval centre with its 13th century church is picturesque, while horse-drawn sleighs and cobbled streets ooze charm. It may not be as popular as it was at its peak in the 1960s but it’s still one of the most chic resorts in France with smart shops selling antiques and jewellery.

The slopes are set out on three different mountains – Rochebrune, Mont d’Arbois and Le Jaillet – and are mainly wooded, making them great if the weather is poor. Confident intermediates will eat up the miles in Megeve but there are loads of beautiful cruising blues for the more timid. Experts and beginners will get on fine too and mixed ability groups won’t have a problem here. If you like a good lunch on the hill, there are some impressive mountain restaurants to choose from.

Megeve has a low altitude so pick your week carefully but as the terrain is grassy, a lot of snow cover isn’t needed – which is great in poor snow seasons.


Ski area

Megeve’s mountains add up to a great amount of slopes. All suit good intermediates and there’s so much choice there’s no chance of getting bored. The resort still has some old, slow lifts but the mileage hungry can plan their day around the fast lifts.

A gondola takes you up from the centre of town to the Rochebrune area, which is connected to Mt Arbois by cable car. The skiing is fantastic in these sectors with plenty of motorway runs and tree-lined slopes ranging from speedy reds for confident intermediates to cruisy blues on Mr Arbois for the more timid. Of note for the confident are the shady reds on the back of Mt Arbois and the runs at the front of Rochebrune.

Experts won’t be disappointed in Megeve now that 20 runs are left ungroomed after a dump. There should be plenty of fresh powder to play about in as the majority of skiers prefer the gentler slopes – and the powder remains for several days. From Mt Arbois you can make your way over to the Mt Joly and Mt Joux sectors where you’ll find the steepest slopes in the ski resort plus some serious off-piste terrain down the back. A popular descent is the Epaule red on Mt Joly down to the village of St Nicolas de Veroce – don’t forget to stop and gaze at the breathtaking view of Mont Blanc on the way.

The nursery slopes are down in the valley but once beginners have found their ski legs, they can progress to higher up slopes on each mountain and then cruise the lovely greens.

Megeve is excellent for cross-country skiing with 40km of varied trails – and not all are on the valley floor. Some are higher up, so if you’re in a mixed group you can still meet your Alpine friends on the mountain for lunch.


Off the slopes and apres ski

It’s easy to meet non-skiing friends up the mountain at one of the restaurants – either gourmet or more modest cuisine. The rustic Auberge du Christomet has beautiful views and you can get there on snow or by road. As you might expect in a chic resort like Megeve, there are several hotels with spas and the fantastic sports centre has a new one.

Tone your tired muscles in the pool, then relax in the sauna or Turkish bath before indulging in a spa treatment. There are so many off slope activities that non-skiers are guaranteed a brilliant holiday. There are indoor and outdoor ice rinks, dog sledding, snowshoeing, 50km of cleared paths for walking, paragliding, horse-drawn carriage rides, ballooning, not to mention various indoor pursuits such as a climbing wall, gym, cinemas, concerts, exhibitions and painting courses.

Megeve won’t set the world alight regarding apres ski bars and clubs but the 5 Rues is a cool jazz club/cocktail bar that attracts some big-name musicians. Or you could pop into Brit favourite, the Cocoon, which has live music and sports TV if you need a fix of football or rugby.

There’s a casino but it’s more slot machines than blackjack so why not save your euros and splash out on dinner at the Michelin-starred Roches Fleuries or the more modest Flocons Villages. Fancy a steak? Then pop along to the Brasserie Centrale for entrecote and frites.
 

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// HIGHLIGHTS //
Apres Ski
4
Families
6
Lift System
5
Off the slopes
8
Off-piste
4
Resort Charm
9
Ski Area
10
Vertical drop
1237m
Ski area
325km
Parks
4
Resort height
1100m
Summit
2355m
Airport
Geneva
Train station
Sallanches
beginner
19%
intermediate
68%
expert
13%