Megeve – Rhone-Alpes, France
A Pristine Alpine Town of Rustic Charm
When skiers think of a picturesque alpine village, they think Megeve. Neighboring resorts dominated by Mont Blanc may offer higher- altitude skiing, but they are hard pressed to top tiny Megeve for scenery, charm, and apres-ski enjoyments.
Designated a must for society’s winter schedule by the Baroness de Rothschild in the 1920s, its colorful horse-drawn sleighs and traditional town center have kept this glamorous year-round destination popular among a privileged set that comes for the authentic and cozy rhythms of mountain-village life (albeit one with a casino) and low- key luxe.
Set in a beautiful, wide valley, Megeve may be too low to ensure snow all season long, but on a good day the excellent woodland terrain is ideal for gentle intermediate cruising. It is also known for its 47 miles of cross-country skiing, and the ski school is one of Europe’s foremost.
Regulars come back in warm weather for first-rate hiking, 18-hole golf, and a bevy of top-notch restaurants. Although not the most exclusive or expensive, surely the most charming hotel in town is Les Fermes de Marie, a bijou cluster of five century-old mazots, chaletlike farm buildings gathered from nearby hamlets and lovingly reassembled in the heart of town, beam by beam and stone by stone.
There is an all-natural spa, called a health and beauty farm; together with a mouthwatering menu of homemade ultrafresh mountain cuisine, this Megeve hostelry gives new meaning to the term “mountain refuge.”