With its quaint, pedestrianised medieval centre, free sleigh rides and elegant hotels and boutiques, Megève is one of France’s most picturesque ski resorts. But don’t be fooled by its old-world charm: from laser tag to the state-of-the-art sports centre, there is plenty of modern-world fun to entertain the kids here.
Megève is probably most recommended for families with kids old enough to carry their own skis, however. The skiing areas are divided into three regions, two of which are accessible by lifts close to town and another which requires a free sleigh or bus ride.
But while the resort lacks the simplicity of the ski-in-ski-out access offered by many of the newer purpose-built resorts, the skiing itself is very family friendly and the number of activities offered for those not on the slopes are second to none.
On the Slopes
Megève has a great range of runs for all levels so whether your kids are beginners, intermediates or advanced-daredevils who like to challenge themselves on a black run, they will find plenty to keep them happy here. There are also a number of terrain parks across the resort, in each of the separate ski areas, so that they can challenge their friends to skicross runs, jumps and tricks.
As I’ve said, the resort is divided into three major ski areas: Rochebrune, Mont d’Arbois and Le Jaillet.
- Rochebrune offers mostly low level skiing through the wooded mountainside above the resort (a great place to ski if the weather’s bad), reaching a peak at Côte 2000.
- Mont d’Arbois, which can be reached via a link with the Rochebrune gondola, is the biggest ski area with the most runs.
- Le Jaillet offers slightly more restricted skiing but spectacular view which you can enjoy from a number of stylish mountainside restaurants.
Advanced skiers will love the steep sided reds and blacks of the Mont Joly and Mont Joux area. There is also some good off-piste skiing to be had around the lifts here.
For intermediate skiers there are a wealth of great blues and reds to choose from across the resort’s three skiing areas. Some highlights include: the runs to the back of Mont Joux and Mont d’Arbois and the front of Rochebrune, as well as the pistes around many of the fast chairlifts.
Skiing for beginners is slightly more limited but there are good nursery slopes down in the valley as well as higher ones in each of the three ski areas. There is also a network of gentle green runs that confident beginners can have fun exploring.
In the Resort
Definitely not the place to come if your teenagers want to ski all day and party all night, Megève has a sedate après ski scene which is more about entertaining activities and eating than about drinking and dancing.
The town itself is so pretty and charming (think Alpine Christmas card) that just walking around and stopping off at some of the cosy cafés for a hot chocolate is a pastime in itself. But if your kids are looking for a little more action then probably your best bet is to head over to the extensive sports centre.
There is plenty at the sports centre for those looking for fun, including swimming pools and indoor and outdoor ice skating rinks. And once the kids are happy who’s to say you couldn’t sneak off to the centre’s spa for a massage, sauna or gentle steam in the steam room?
If you have a particularly active child who isn’t tired out by a day on the slopes, then you could check out the paintball, laser or archery tag games offered in the resort. Kids (big and small) can run around the snowy landscape trying to score points by targeting each other. Other adrenaline-fuelled activities include paragliding across the snow-covered valley, dog sledding and hot air balloon rides.
Those who prefer their activities a little more sedate will probably enjoy the traditional horse-drawn sleigh rides around the town, or to visit a local farm.
It is not surprising, given how popular Megève is with French visitors, how good the food is here. And don’t think that you’ll have to pay a fortune for a good meal, there are gastronomic restaurants which will charge almost as much as a pair of skis for a main course, but there are plenty of reasonably priced eateries to choose from too.
Probably my favourite on-piste restaurant is La Raviere, just off the Raviere run. You ski down to this traditional chalet-style restaurant on a Narnia-style woodland trail, and when you arrive you feel like you are stepping back in time to a rustic Alpine restaurant of the past.
In town a great restaurant choice for a reasonably-priced family meal is Chez Tante Alice. Right in the centre of Megève, this basic restaurant offers great food with a choice of a Parisian (French) or Bangkok (Thai) menu.
How to Get to Megève
The nearest airport to Megève is Geneva, an hour and 15 minutes away by car. There are a number of airlines which offer flights to Geneva from the UK, including a range of budget and national carriers.
Geneva Airport can get extremely busy during the skiing season so be sure to book an airport transfer with Shuttle Direct before you set off, in order to ensure a driver is waiting for you and your family when you arrive. Remember to let Shuttle Direct know in advance if you are travelling with winter sports equipment so that they can send a car/minivan big enough to fit it all in.
Where to Stay
Chalet Mine de Rien – This cosy bed and breakfast in Megève has a double room and a triple room available, making it an ideal option for a family. The Chalet Mine de Rien’s rustic wooden interior is stylish and clean, and the kids will thank you for the free WiFi across the property.
Royal Rochebrune – This modern three-star hotel offers the comfort of its own restaurant and bar. The kids will love the cosy TV lounge and games room, as well as the free WiFi across the hotel. And you’ll all love that the Royal Rochebrune is located just 45m from the Rochebrune ski lifts.
Appartement Soldanelles – If you think your family would prefer the privacy of your own Megève apartment then the three star Appartement Soldanelles is a great choice. Just a few hundred meters from the Petit Rochebrune ski lift, it offers a cosy seating area and kitchen with dishwasher. The balcony looks on to beautiful mountain views but, if your kids would rather look at their screens, there’s free WiFi too.
About Shuttle Direct
One of the leading companies providing airport transfers across Europe and North Africa, Shuttle Direct offers a hassle-free option for skiers wanting to get from the airport to their resort accommodation. Book online before you leave, giving details of the sports equipment you will be carrying, and your driver will be waiting at the airport to take you straight to your resort.