Megève, authentic and wild

Déborah Pham

The story

Megève awakens our inner nomadic desires. It is afternoon and the light is already fading. The dazzling morning snowfall glimmers with new colors as it covers the pines and houses in a powdery layer. We line up under a stalactite-decorated chalet roof, waiting for instructions from our mountain guide. He arrives and sets about unpacking his ski poles and snowshoes. Bundled in thick layers of wool, we are ready to explore the surrounding woods. On the trail we learn to recognize the traces animals have left in the snow, what they eat, and the places they frequent or seek out for shelter. Our journey ends with the comfort and warmth of a fireplace in a Savoyard chalet.

On the church square, harnessed horses await their first outing. Every day, a horse-drawn carriage rides through the cobbled streets to the jerky rhythm of a cheerful trot. Walking near a stream that passes through the historical center of Megève, we head towards a narrow alley that leads us to the egg-shaped ski lifts. First dizziness, then a breathtaking panorama. It only takes a few minutes to be perched at 1800 meters above sea level.

To awaken the adventurer in us, Megève decks itself out in its finest attire with its snow-clad mountains, reliefs, peaks and lakes. The most courageous will opt for a ski tour through the heart of the Mont Blanc massif; others will revel in the discovery of the Mer de Glace or the Col d'Entrèves. Fans of Jack London won’t want to pass up a visit to Bruno Cornali, a passionate musher, settled in the heights of Mont Villard. Bruno shows us these surroundings by day and night, alongside his half-wolf, half-cuddle-loving sled dogs.

Whichever path you end up taking, you’re bound to return from your expedition with flushed cheeks, sore legs and an empty belly. That’s nothing to worry about when you know that the best restaurants in the region are here, ranging from star-awarded gourmet cuisine to Savoyarde specialties whose reputation speaks for itself. Raclette and tartiflette on one side, nems with Reblochon, mountain cheese risotto and porcini mushrooms on the other. The real connoisseurs know what awaits them. Megève’s inhabitants have let us in on many of its secrets. They know that only the mountains are able to bring out the explorer within us, eager to embark on a discovery of Megève’s snow covered landscapes.

When to go?

Although Megève is charming in spring – when winter and snow give way to flowers and everything looks like something out of a fairy tale – it is just before peak season, between autumn and winter, that the village colors are at their most beautiful.

How to get there?

By train, get off at the Sallanches station, 12 km from the village. If you come by car, you will also be able to visit the surrounding villages.

Experiences

Explore the ski resorts at night

Become a night owl and ski the slopes after midnight (or from 6pm to midnight). Climb into a snow groomer in a deserted station and have a snack right on the mountain while animals cautiously come out of hiding.

Discover reindeer breeding in Haute-Savoie

Visit one of the last reindeer breeding grounds with a breathtaking view of the Mont Blanc massif. Here at Domaine de Coulairon, the passionate ranchers and nature lovers who run the estate will happily show you what breeding is all about.

Play the musher apprentice

Cross the vast territory of Mont Villard with Bruno Cornali and his pack of sled dogs. Let him guide you and teach you the language of the musher that you can use to line up your huskies. It’s an unforgettable experience for all ages.

Our address book

La Ferme de Joseph

A must-try

Nothing beats the taste of farm-fresh raclette. Here it is served the traditional way with excellent regional cheese. You can also opt for a Savoyarde or Swiss cheese fondue. Whatever you choose, you won’t go wrong because everything is truly delicious. In the delicatessen on the ground floor you will find some quality products to take back home with you.

259, Route du Coin

Flocons de sel

Haute cuisine

Those who still have doubts that cooking can be an art will change their minds after tasting Emmanuel Renaut's haute cuisine. With the title of Meilleur ouvrier de France (Best Craftsman of France) and three Michelin stars to display, it seems that he has attained perfection. Book your table in the dining room or kitchen to enjoy the ballet of the cooks as they work the line.

1775, Route du Leutaz

Le Domaine de la Sasse

The Haute-Savoie bison

Dominique Meridol's restaurant is not easy to reach: you can get there either by helicopter or on foot (taking you 30-60 minutes). Here, bison meat, an extremely rare treat, is prepared in various ways. The animals are raised on the grounds by this half-poet, half-philosopher restaurateur. Everything is local and homemade in the mountains of Mont Joly. A real jewel.

Mont-Joly

Le Tigrr

Design, luxury and dim sums

After opening in Courchevel and Saint Tropez, the Tigrr moved to Megève, recreating its proven recipe. Go there to share a few dim sums while enjoying a signature cocktail or a glass of champagne. The evenings tend to extend into the night when you dine in this modern and intimate atmosphere.

18, Rue Ambroise Martin

La Sauvageonne

Until the morning comes

This old farmhouse converted into a restaurant is a veritable institution. Judging by its typical mountain décor, one would not guess what happens inside. La Sauvageonne is above all a place to party, where you can sip cocktails and dance all night. Connoisseurs will find an interesting collection of Havana cigars to enjoy in a cozy smoking lounge.

Hameau du Leutaz

The Bar of Le Chalet Zannier

The gentleman’s bar

The fire crackles quietly in the fireplace while you sip on an off-menu cocktail. Here, the barman will gladly create a new recipe to your taste. For those with a pang of hunger, there are snacks to share and a menu of main courses and desserts. Enjoy continuous service from 11am to 1am while watching the snow fall.

367, Route du Crêt

Angel des montagnes

That cocoon feeling

The ideal place to take a bit of that "cottage" feel back home with you. Not only will you find the large soft woolen blankets you’ve always dreamed of wrapping yourself up in, but also baby clothes, and even gorgeous tableware. We find the style a perfect blend of rustic mountain feel and refined contemporary design.

51, rue Charles Feige

The Soli


Authentic


This charming shop in the center of the village is full of treasures and oddities. There are all kinds of things, from antiques and handmade crafts to large furniture and wooden gris-gris. Do not hesitate to ask the enthusiastic shop assistant for help. He will gladly help you in your search for that rare item.

33, Rue de la poste

Les Chapieux

Pure nature

In the Tarentaise area, Les Chapieux is an untouched place whose beauty leaves you speechless. Hiking begins up a steep path, through a forest of pines and along the bank of a small stream. You walk to the tune of the whirling wind, whose rhythm is punctuated by the sound of crashing slabs of snow. Hike the route in the off-season and take in its sublime autumn colors, or go in winter with a guide.

Les Chapieux