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Everything we love in Megeve
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The Rothschild banking family developed Megève in the 1920s as an alternative to St Moritz, which makes it among the first purpose-built French Alpine resorts.
Spreading out from the medieval centre of the village are the 20th century additions, which include smart hotels, chic boutiques and coffee shops in profusion. The town centre is pedestrianised, although watch out for the horse-drawn sleighs and mind your footing on the cobbled streets.
Fat wallets and fur coats go hand in hand – literally sometimes – in a place that continues to attract the beautiful people with old money. Not all visitors are dawn-to-dusk skiers either as French families visit Megève for an all-round winter holiday.
You don’t have to be a Rothschild now to enjoy Megève, although there are plenty of opportunities to spend your money. Megève’s close proximity to Geneva airport makes it a favourite with the British chalet market. There is a brisk weekend trade – French and international – as well.
Megève is an all-year town, unlike many of the high-altitude resorts further south in the French Alps, which means more to do off the slopes.
It’s farming country and the grassy terrain around Megève and the satellite resorts of St Gervais and Les Contamines don’t need much snow to make pisting possible. The downside of lush grass is it grows at low altitude. The season is relatively short and if Easter is late the snow can be thin by then.
What off-piste there is in the Mont Jolly, Mont Joux and Cote 2000 sectors is decent but not extensive.
If you run out of slopes to conquer, and there are 445kms of them on the Mont Blanc lift pass, there is always neighbouring Les Houches. Take the Mont Blanc Tramway from St Gervais to Bellevue at the bottom of the Chamonix Valley and spend a day in a gem of a resort. Last train back at ten to five – don’t miss it.
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