Unveiling the Hidden Charms of Megève: A Glimpse into its Enchanting History

Nestled in the heart of the Alps, Megève is a living testament to a captivating history that began with humble roots and transformed into a globally acclaimed destination. This charming village, once a simple pastoral haven, has evolved into a premier ski resort, thanks to the vision of influential figures and a rich tapestry of cultural influences.

In the early 20th century, Megève began its remarkable journey from farm to fame. The transformation was notably driven by Baroness Noémie de Rothschild. Enchanted by the stunning Alpine landscape in the 1920s, she envisioned Megève as a winter escape that seamlessly blended sophistication with the rustic charm of its agrarian roots.

The Baroness played a pivotal role in establishing Megève as a premier ski resort, attracting an elite clientele seeking both elegance and authenticity. Her influence extended beyond ‘haut de gamme’ accommodations, as she actively promoted the region’s unique cultural heritage. This ensured that Megève retained its alpine character while becoming a haven for winter enthusiasts.

French architect Henry Jacques Le Même also played a significant role in shaping modern Megève. He is renowned for creating the Megevan chalet, a unique architectural style that harmoniously blended urban refinement with mountain rusticity. His work significantly influenced mountain dwellings in the first half of the century and contributed to Megève’s architectural identity. Today, Megève remains a symbol of the art of living in the mountains, thanks to Le Même’s architectural legacy.

Megève’s rise to prominence was not without challenges. Amidst modern amenities and upscale boutiques, remnants of the town’s agricultural past linger, creating a harmonious juxtaposition that distinguishes Megève from conventional ski resorts. Today, as visitors traverse cobblestone streets and indulge in Megève’s opulence, they unlock the secrets of a village that has gracefully evolved and is no longer just a pastoral haven but also a renowned Alpine retreat.

A trip to Megève is not just a sojourn amid snow-capped peaks but a venture into a living chronicle of resilience and transformation. As travellers explore Megève’s streets and scenery, they discover captivating tales woven into the fabric of this unique destination. The spirit of Baroness Rothschild, with her vision for a harmonious blend of luxury and authenticity, remains embedded in Megève’s DNA, creating a unique destination that seamlessly bridges the gap between history and haute couture.

Explore Historic Buildings
Perched amidst Megève’s serene landscapes, the Calvary stands as a testament to its rich history. Originating between 1840 and 1878 under the visionary Father Ambroise Martin, the Calvary, with its fifteen chapels and oratories, intricately depicts the Way of the Cross. Borrowing from diverse architectural styles, these structures house life-size painted wooden statues, creating a harmonious fusion of sculpture, painting, and architecture that vividly portrays the life and Passion of Christ. Once a pivotal pilgrimage site, it earned Megève the moniker “Savoy Jerusalem.” Now a Historic Monument, the Calvary offers a panoramic view, combining local memory with the allure of a captivating holiday destination.

Honour the great architect with the “Henry Jacques Le Même” association
In honour of the visionary architect Henry Jacques Le Même commissioned by the baroness Noémie de Rothschild, who transformed ski holiday accommodation in the 1930s with his pioneering ski chalet designs, the “Henry Jacques Le Même” association has been established. Le Même’s enduring chalet concept, known for its distinct style, continues to shape Megève’s architectural landscape. Some chalets remain in their original state, while others have been meticulously restored to preserve the architect’s unique vision. Furthering this legacy, Antoine Pioger initiated the formation of this association dedicated to promoting and safeguarding Megève’s exceptional architectural heritage.

Discover the traditional mountain lifestyle with the Sibuet family
Maison Sibuet is a tale of a family’s remarkable journey that commenced over three decades ago with a vision to create distinctive, intimate, and genuine establishments exuding a welcoming spirit akin to home. In 1981, Jocelyne and Jean-Louis Sibuet embarked on their venture with a boutique hotel in Megève, transforming it into a haven that redefined mountain living. The pivotal moment arrived in 1989 when Les Fermes de Marie was established, setting the standard for Alpine living. Subsequently, the iconic Hotel Mont-Blanc was graced with renewed elegance, marking the onset of its finest years in 1994. The enchanting Lodge Park in Megève followed suit in 1996, embodying a chic, trapper-like ambiance.

Le Restaurant Traditionnel des Fermes de Marie is not just a dining establishment; it is a living testament to the heritage and traditions of Megève. Located within the iconic Fermes de Marie hotel, this restaurant weaves together a narrative that transcends time. For the 2022/23 season the Sibuet family opened a brand new restaurant Le Relais, serving authentic flavours of traditional mountain cuisine in the heart of Megève. Indulge in elegantly prepared dishes such as blue cheese risotto with Termignon and Alpine saffron, linguine in a Beaufort wheel with crispy bacon, and the irresistible “half and half” Swiss fondue with Vacherin. Following the successful opening of Le Relais, the Sibuet family opened Le Relais des Fermes mountain restaurant for the 2023/24 winter season, serving traditional cuisine slope side. Le Carnotzet at Les Fermes de Marie is a tribute to Alpine cheese gastronomy, offering a warm setting where authentic mountain flavours shine through delightful fondues and raclettes, inviting guests to experience the quintessence of cheese in a harmonious blend of tradition and gourmet pleasure.

Go There:
Megève is only one hour from Geneva Airport, which benefits from direct, low-cost flight access from London, Aberdeen, Belfast, Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool and Manchester. Return flights from London Gatwick to Geneva with easyJet are priced from just £49 pp during the 2023/24 ski season.

For more about Megève please visit:
(images copyright of Commune de Megève)

For more information please contact: Emma Berg, Account Executive, Heaven Publicity
Tel: 020 3763 570 / 07903 248122 Email: emmab@heavenpublicity.co.uk