The Megeve Evasion Mont Blanc ski area has 136 groomed runs totalling 445km and covered by a single lift pass. While most of the pistes are suitable for intermediate skiers (71%), there is plenty of skiing for beginners (16%) and improving beginners in ski schools will soon progress to ski the easier intermediate terrain. With just 1,237m of vertical elevation between 1,113m and 2,350m, opportunities for advanced skiers on piste are quite limited, but there is also plenty of off-piste skiing in Megeve. Mountain guides can be arranged locally through Bureau Guides Megeve.
The Rochebrune ski area is reached by the Rochebrune gondola from the pedestrianised central square of Megeve or by cable car from the Rochebrune station, a five-minute walk up the hill. The Rochebrune ski area has attractive relined runs for intermediates and is linked to Mont d'Arbois by a cableway which takes you across the valley. From Rochebrune you can continue upwards via several lifts and pistes to Cote 2000, home to some of the most difficult runs in the resort and excellent off-piste.
The Mont d'Arbois ski area is reached by gondola from the central square and then the Rocharbois cable car across the valley or by ski bus from Megeve centre, which will take you directly there. Mont d'Arbois ski area can also be accessed from the resort of St Gervais, the charming village of St Nicholas de Veroce and Le Bettex. You can also access Mont d'Arbois from Les Contamines, which lies east of Mont Joly (2,350m) in the shadow of Mont Blanc. Many green and blue runs make it great for beginners and intermediates to notch up the kilometres, skiing over to St Nicholas. For more advanced skiing try the steeper terrain at the top of Mont Joly.
This is the least visited area but provides uncrowded slopes, beautiful views of the Mont Blanc mountain range and some of the best off-piste skiing in Megeve. A gondola from the Western edge of Megeve takes you up to mainly red runs. To access the village of La Giettaz, the newest area on the Megeve piste map, you must take the six-seater Christomet chairlift.
Megeve suffers horribly from a slow lift system and while it copes reasonably well at quiet times, Megeve's popularity, close proximity to Geneva results and slow lifts result in queuing most weekends in peak season and especially during school holidays. The Lanchettes in Cote 2000 is overcrowded and queuing can be a problem, and the link between RochbCrune and Cote 2000 is also extremely busy.
It is all very well riding slow chairlifts if you want to enjoy the views and can afford to be kept warm by a fur coat, but the ski area would greatly benefit from a faster lift system. Almost a third of Megeve's ski lift system is made up of chairlifts, but they are mostly slow and old, without bubble covers and heated seats that have been successfully installed in some other French ski resorts such as the Three Valleys.
The main pass which most people use, and is suitable for most people coming here for a week or a long weekend is the Evasion Mont Blanc or 'EMB'. The EMB covers all the lift linked area around Megeve (Megeve, St Gervais, St Nicholas de Veroce, Combloux, La Giettaz) plus the Les Contaimines ski area which is accessed either via bus or by unofficial off-piste ski routes from Mt Joly.
There is a cheaper pass, called the les Portes du Mont Blanc, that covers only the ski area to the North of Megeve (Jaillet, Combloux, La Giettaz). For a novice who has outgrown the special beginners pass (see below) or for a very occassional skier who wants to save money this can make some sense but you do miss out on some of Megeve's best skiing on Mt Joly, Mt Joux and Cote 2000.
The cheapest pass of all is the special beginners pass this covers the beginners slopes on Rochebrune, Mont d'Arbois and around La Princesse.
If you're in Megeve for a long time and want to visit neighbouring resorts there is also the Mont Blanc Unlimited pass. The MBU covers a huge area - as well as covering everything covered by the EMB it also covers all the Chamonix Valley including les Houches, Courmayeur and Verbier. Realistically you are going to need a car and to be in Megeve for more than a week to get full value from the pass.
The École du Ski Francais and the École du Ski Internationale both offer English group lessons. These depart from the top of the Chamois bubble coming up from the centre of the town. There are nursery slopes just next to the bubble which is where the lessons take place. Once you have graduated from here, the next step is to the small green run below the nursery slope and then a trip to the Mont D'Arbois side of the mountain and a chance to let the skis run on the long green run down to Bettex. The Mandarine piste on the front of Mont d'Arbois is also a favourite as are the runs at La Tour. You can take the next step on the blue runs at Bettex and Mont d'Arbois. The blue runs on the Rochebrune side are a little trickier but it won't be long until you have mastered them.
There are plenty of picturesque restaurants to have a well-earned coffee, enjoy the views of Mont Blanc and meet up with others in your group. The village of Megève is very picturesque and has lots of charming boutiques, bars and patisseries if you've had enough skiing for the day. There is also a large sports centre with a swimming pool and sauna to ease those aching muscles.
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The colour coding in Megeve can be interesting in places. On the Rochebrune side of the mountain early intermediates should be careful as some of the blue pistes are trickier than their coding suggests. Mouillettes is nice and wide up at the top, but it can get a bit narrow at the bottom, while Piste A2 can be avoided by going down the green runs Rosiere or Piste A, which is a beautiful run, measuring 3kms through trees to the Rocharbois cable car.
By contrast there is an easy black piste - Super Megeve - which is the ultimate confidence builder. La Petite Fontaine is a long red run made up of wide open, rolling terrain. You can ski over to Cote 2000 and back to clock up more kilometres, stopping at the Radaz for the best tartiflette on the mountain. Lanchettes, in Cote 2000, is another lovely long run marred only by a very long drag lift on the way back up.
Mont d'Arbois is filled with opportunities for intermediates. From the Princesse black run, which winds through the trees, the slopes down to Bettex or Les Communailles and the red runs of Étudiants, there is plenty to choose from. Notch up more kilometres with a trip over to the charming village of St. Nicholas and enjoy the stunning views of Mont Blanc. Outside of school holidays and peak season weekends, the pistes can be deserted and lift queues are rare. Favourite lunch spots are Le Gouet for a traditional dish of 'Pella des Aravis' and any of the restaurants at the bottom of Les Communailles.
Le Jaillet is even quieter than the rest of the mountain and offers tremendous views of the Aiguille du Midi and the rest of the Mont Blanc massif. Again, there are long winding runs to Christomet and the newly opened link to La Giettaz means another opportunity for letting the skis run. L'Auberge du Christomet is a great lunch stop; it is a favourite for non-skiers as you can drive up to it so you will have to book in peak season.
More advanced skiers can progress to Megeve's black runs which amount to 13% of the ski area.
No advanced skier can go to Megeve and miss out on the legendary Emile Allais in the Rochebrune sector. This 3km black run boasts an 812m vertical elevation and at its steepest, it is around 33 degrees and there are decent bumps at the top, followed by a narrow schuss through the trees.
The women's Downhill run at Cote 2000, the Descente black run, is another great adrenaline rush, especially as it is kept very well groomed. The Marmotte black run is also worth a look but is often closed due to avalanche risk.
At Mont Joly, the Grand Chamois is a steep black run that can be fantastic on powder days or nail-biting when icy and the view from the top stretches out to both sides of the valley. Voltigeurs and Bridans, the moderately steep black pistes that snake down through the trees on Mont d'Arbois are often overlooked by the majority of skiers but are very enjoyable. They are frequently left ungroomed so can be good for mogul practice.
From the top of Mont Joly there are also unofficial off-piste runs to and from Les Contamines. Be careful - these are trickier than the piste map suggests. You are also heading South or South Eastwards, so the the snow conditions can deteriorate quickly. Therefore taking a guide, and listening to their advice, is heavily recommended.
If you're your searching for bumps, you can also head to Mont Joux. The run under the chairlift there or, on the Rochebrune side, the top of La Petite Fontaine is where to focus on. Also challenging are the bumps at the top of Rosay, the black piste but it can be icy. The black Princesse run is not particularly steep but great fun for a blast.
With over 400km of piste skiing there's plenty of good piste skiing for advanced skiers to explore the whole ski area at speed and if you get tired of skiing on piste, there is masses of good off-piste skiing in Megeve.
Beginner and intermediate snowboarders have an excellent choice of wide, cruising blue and red runs in Megeve, perfect for practising riding those edges.
As Megeve is such a well-heeled resort, there are few button (aka "poma" or "platter pull") lifts. The beginners' area on Mont d'Arbois frustratingly has button lifts but Petit and Grand Vorasset can be avoided by riding the Mont d'Arbois gondola. Rochbrune's green pistes are also accessed by button lift, but you can also bypass them by riding the Caboche gondola.
Boarders on the cusp of advanced who do not like moguls should note that the Ecureuil, Rosay, M Dujon, Voltigeurs, Emile Allais black runs all tend to bump up, as does the Slalom red run and the Grand Tetras and Cabri in Jaillet, which sometimes can have patchy snow.
Near the Grands Champs chairlift in Rochebrune there is a small terrain park, but the best terrain park in Megeve is on Mont d'Arbois, by the Mont Joux chairlift. It has a man-made half pipe, as well as a large selection of kickers for all abilities. There are also a few rails and boxes. Both Combloux and Le Giettaz have parks, with the former the better equipped.
In addition to 445km of pisted terrain, Megeve has lots of off-piste terrain for advanced skiers and boarders including excellent off-piste at Cote 2000, Mont Joux and Mont Jolie.
With a predominantly upscale French clientele including plenty of celebrities, it's hardly surprising that Megeve has some of the best mountain restaurants in the France. Mountain restaurant prices in Megeve are relatively expensive in comparison to most other ski resorts so it pays to shop around to find the best value. We asked Megève specialist operator Stanford Skiing to give us the lowdown on some of the best mountain restaurants, grouped by sector...
Terrasse du Mas (Tel: +33 4 50 21 45 91)
In the main block, at the top of the Chamois lift/shoebox, Caboche is fairly basic but convenient. Best dish there is Carbonara, although they have good salads - crucial in a ski resort when you've had enough stodge. Service can be slow and it can be busy at times.
Caboche (Tel: +33 4 50 21 55 19)
Located behind the children's ski school and better than Terrasse du Mas, Caboche serves good salads and offers a children's menu.
Le Matou (Tel: +33 4 50 58 97 77)
Located at the bottom of Petit Rochebrune, Le Matou's friendly owners used to run Rond Point in the summer. The hot chocolate is outstanding.
Super Megeve (Tel: +33 4 50 21 22 05)
Situated at the top of the Rochebrune cable car with decent panoramic views, the Super Megeve self-service restaurant has standard menus, which are superior to Terrasse Du Mas. Super Megeve also has restaurant with waiter service which is rather good. They often have a barbecue outside in good weather, and the Tarte Tatin is superb.
La Forestiere (Tel: +33 4 50 21 12 95)
On the way to Alpette, this is a wonderfully friendly place to eat. The old farm house offers a pleasant ambience and considering the restaurant sits on the legendary Emile Allais black, you will have earned a decent lunch. While the plat du jour is usually of a high standard, we have had mixed reports on the rest of the menu.
L'Alpette (Tel: +33 4 50 21 03 69)
One of the best places for pedestrians to meet up with skiing friends, L'Alpette is great for an expensive blow out. The patisserie is exceptional and when the skiers go, pedestrians can sit back in front of the fire and enjoy great hot chocolate in cold weather. The restaurant offers a snow mobile taxi for non-skiers to the Alpette charilift and there is a sun terrace. L'Alpette is owned by the same people who run Les Chalet des Fermes and Au Coin du Feu.
La Babotch (Tel: +33 4 50 91 93 96)
Good for beginners to meet up with their more advanced friends as it sits at the bottom of the Rosiere green run to the left of Le Javen. La Babotch is reasonably priced, serves food all day with nice ambience and like the L'Alpette it has a fireplace as well as a sun terrace.
Le Javen (Tel: +33 4 50 91 92 66)
Small but with friendly service and situated at the bottom of the Petit Fontaine chair' Le Javen serves good honest dishes and Savoyard Pella is especially recommended. For cheaper dishes, the omelettes are particularly good value and the coffee is good. There's also a kiosk with deckchairs where you can get drinks and sandwiches cheaply in good weather. The terrace sits by the lake.
Le Radaz (Tel: +33 4 50 58 94 44)
Located on the way back from Cote 2000, Le Radaz ownership has recently changed, but it was known for the best value on the mountain, with excellent food. Tartiflette, spaghetti Bolognaise and diots (Savoyarde sausages cooked in the oven) were all very good, with good omelettes for children. You need to get there early as it fills up quickly. Late season the deck is a great suntrap.
Altiport (Tel: +33 4 50 21 31 57)
You can ski to Altiport but it's a walk back, or you can get the bus if you have had a particularly long lunch. Good food with a friendly atmosphere with reasonable prices. Plat du jour is usually excellent.
Auberge du Christomet (Tel: +33 4 50 21 11 34)
Good food and service, and one of the best for non-skiers to meet up with skiing friends. Auberge du Christomet is not cheap, but offers excellent food and fantastic views of Mont Blanc. Savoyarde specialities are extremely good. It's open all year round too and has a good sun terrace.
Table du Skier (Tel: +33 4 50 93 07 15)
A rustic restaurant with an open fireplace, serving pasta and crepes, Table du Skier is located at the top of the Jaillett cable car.
Restaurant En Face du Mont Blanc (Tel: +33 4 50 21 06 51)
There are two restaurants in Restaurant En Face du Mont Blanc so you can usually get a table. Located at the top of the Jaillet cable car, lunch is buffet style, and although it is a little expensive, the views across Megeve with Mont Blanc in the background are simply stunning and won't find many restaurants with a better view than this.
L'Auberge de la Cote 2000 (Tel: +33 4 50 21 31 84)
Situated in the car park, expensive and English speakers are often made to feel unwelcome so why bother. Need we say more?
Ideal 1850 (Tel: +33 4 50 21 31 26)
Located close to the Mont d'Arbois Telecabine, Ideal 1850 is smart and used to be very expensive and pretentious, but now less so. Food is excellent food and it's best to book especially at weekends as there is a great sun terrace with a panoramic view featuring Mont Blanc.
Les Mandarins (Tel: +33 4 50 21 31 27)
Les Mandarins claims to be the oldest high altitude restaurant in France. It is expensive as a result, but there is a nice ambience with an open fire. The food can be first-class, as the Gault Millau will testify, but we have heard mixed reports.
Espace du Mont Joux (Tel: +33 4 50 58 99 67)
Situated at the top of the Mont Joux chair, Espace du Mont Joux has a reasonably priced menu including good spaghetti dishes and service is good. Fantastic views and a good place to take kids as you often get a welcome from three St Bernard dogs. There's also a drink and snack kiosk if you are looking for a cheaper option.
La Raviere (Tel: +33 4 50 93 15 71)
On the way to Communailles and set in the trees, La Raviere can be tricky to find, but well worth finding for excellent value three-course lunches. The perfect place to go if you want an afternoon off and simply want to eat well before skiing home gently afterwards. You must book in advance and remember that no credit cards are accepted.
Alpage (Tel: +33 4 50 93 12 76)
Located at the bottom of Communailles, the food at Alpage is excellent and good value. Some of the starters are almost a meal in themselves.
Relais du Communailles (Tel: +33 4 50 93 17 48)
Situated next to the Communailles drag lift, which can be noisy at times, the Relais du Communaillles boasts a suntrap balcony with splendid views of Mont Blanc. Good food, too.
Le Gouet (Tel: +33 4 50 93 20 97)
Very friendly, family run rustic restaurant with wood burning stoves. Dishes to look out for are Croute du Gouet: think cheese, eggs, and the resultant filling dish, or Pella, a Savoyard speciality including cheese, potatoes and often Aravis or Reblochon cheese. The hot chocolate is divine.
Chez Ernestine (Tel: +33 4 50 93 13 08)
Situated on the ridge above the Croix de Christ bowl, Chez Ernestine is reached by a blue run from Mt Joux, or red runs from top of Croix de Christ. The views are fantastic views and the short (but good) menu is probably the best value in the area.
Vertigo (Tel: +33 4 50 93 05 84)
At the top of the Mont d'Arbois bubble, Vertigo used to be the old Igloo hotel/restaurant that was packed with English. It has been given a complete re-vamp and re-opened in 2011. The menu is very pricey - on the opening weekend the fixed menu was €115 and €165 with wine, but you certainly get what you pay for. The restaurant offers great views.
Auberge Bonjournal (Tel: +33 4 50 55 80 41)
There are three restaurants at the foot of La Giettaz, of which the most interesting is Auberge Bonjournal, an authentic old wooden chalet set between Megeve and La Giettaz. The restaurant is accessible only by skis or snowshoes from either the Christomet chairlift or the Torraz chairlift. It's advisable to phone ahead to book a table.
Megeve is a pretty village with narrow cobbled streets housing a myriad of expensive shops selling designer clothes, jewellery and antiques - so chic is Megeve that in its day it was called the 21st arrondissment of Paris. The standard of the many restaurants is second to none (La Ferme de Mon Pere has three Michelin stars and Les Flocons de Sel has two Michelin stars). There are plenty of smart hotels but there is cheaper accommodation too.
There are also plenty of other activities for sporty visitors when they're not on the slopes - Megeve's sports centre has a 25m indoor swimming pool, indoor tennis courts, a climbing wall and two ice-rinks (indoor and outdoor) in the centre of the village.
For visitors with a car, there are plenty of underground car parks, some of which are quite expensive so shop around to get the best prices.
Apres-ski in Megeve is relatively sophisticated and in keeping with the traditional French flavour of the resort and its well-heeled clientele, Megeve is not a place for rowdy après ski. For evening entertainment, there is a cinema, bars, restaurants, discos, a casino and a very popular jazz club with frequent live performances.
You can spend hours window-shopping in the many boutiques or sipping cafe-au-lait in the chic cafes before wandering around the historic buildings in the centre of town, then take a sleigh-ride home in one of the many caleches (horse drawn carriages).
There are plenty of other activities in Megeve but the chances are - if you are doing it right - that you will want to spend some time in the comfort of your (very agreeable) accommodation after you leave the slopes, before heading out to explore the village or to enjoy a high-quality meal.
From the exclusive La Ferme de Mon Pere, boasting three Michelin stars, to the more reasonable, and filling, Savoyard restaurants in the town centre, there is a huge variety. The choice of cuisine available includes French, Italian and the Asian restaurant Bouddha Moor.
Flocons de Sel
Another boasting Michelin stars. Chef Emmanuel Renaut beavers away in the 4-star spa hotel of the same name creating dishes to not only revive hungry stomachs but to also wow bored palates. Renault also offers cookery classes, for those who want to recreate his dishes at home. Tel: +33 4 50 21 49 99. Web: www.floconsdesel.com
This restaurant has served the greats of society since it was established in back in 1937. One of the few places you can get oysters and a glass of white wine without having to take off your ski boots, but for a place of this quality it's best to go home, change and have a real go at the menu. Tel +33 4 50 21 02 60. Web: www.lecintra-megeve.com
Domaine de La Sasse
Not strictly in Megeve, but well worth the trip and trek if you like steak. Nestled below Mont Joly, the chef prepares bison sourced directly from his own herd. It is an exclusive opportunity in that there is limited space in his restaurant, and limited heads of cattle. The chef is very inventive with his ingredients and booking is essential. Open for lunch and does not take credit cards. Tel: + 33 6 09 90 30 29. Web: www.domainedelasasse.com
The food on offer here is essentially Flocons de Sel lite. Run by the same chef, Le Puck is more basic and hearty, and with a more artisan price tag. The puddings are worth the trip alone and as there is a huge wine list available by the glass it is a solid choice. Tel: +33 450 21 06 61
If you like truffles, and if you can afford them, Jacques Megean is the place to head for. The chef here couples the black gold with pretty much everything and although the decor is not much to look at, the food more than makes up for it. Tel: +33 4 50 21 26 82
Chalet de Mont d'Arbois
Not the most expensive in town, but close. Like many of the top restaurants in Megeve, this hits the high notes, but you pay for it. Well worth it for that blow out meal of the week. The Auberge and the Club are a lot cheaper and good value. Tel: +33 4 50 21 25 03. Web: www.domainedumontdarbois.com
If Megeve seems like a place that seems for the rich, it is not entirely true. The Brasserie Centrale on the Rue Charle Feige offers superb value for money, providing hearty Savoyard fare. Tel: +33 4 50 21 22 44
Cross country skiing in Megeve
Megeve is becoming increasingly popular cross-country ski destination which is a pleasant alternative to downhill skiing and an excellent work-out in the clean, crisp Alpine air. Megeve has four cross-country ski circuits and a total of 70km of well-prepared cross-country ski trails from beginner level to highly technical trails for both classic and skate skiing.
Lessons in cross-country skiing are available from the ESF Ski School at the Rocharbois Clubhouse located at the bottom of the Mont d'Arbois gondola and there is a beginner's trail on the Plaine d'Arly within walking distance of the town centre.
A variety of cross-country trails will take you through pine forests to the sunny Mont d'Arbois plateau, where you can appreciate the fantastic views of the Mont Blanc and the Aravis mountain range. For those who like a challenge, there are the more technical trails at the Cote 2000.
Winter Walking in Megeve
Megeve has 50km of marked footpaths. Walkers can also use the chairlifts and gondolas for access.
Scenic Flights and Hot Air Ballooning in Megeve
There are few better places to fly in the world than in the Mont Blanc massif. Aérocime at the Altiport Megeve provide flights, and hot-air balloon trips, with three circuits: the Chamonix Valley, allee Blanche and the Massif du Mont Blanc.
3368 route de la Cote 2000
Tel: +33 4 50 21 03 21
Email: [email protected]
Web: www.aerocime.com (French language only)
Sleigh Rides in Megeve
Traineaux de Megeve
979 route du Villaret,
Tel: +33 4 50 21 30 47
Tel: +33 6 87 61 40 75
The Megeve casino is perfect for a night out. The casino has 54 slot machines ranging up to €5, while it also offers games such as Roulette, Black Jack and Texas Hold'Em Poker.
SAS Casino de Megeve
199 rue Charles Feige,
Tel.: +33 4 50 93 01 83
Email: [email protected]
Megeve Sports Centre
The classy Megeve sports centre has a gym, indoor and outdoor swimming pool and two ice rinks, one indoor, one outdoor where you can learn the Olympic sport of Curling. The sports centre also boasts a Turkish Bath, hammam, sauna and tennis courts. There are also tennis courts, a climbing wall and two ice-rinks, one outside and one inside. You can also watch the local ice-hockey and curling teams perform.
247 Route du Palais des Sports
Tel: +33 4 50 21 15 71
Email: [email protected]