Even if you are in the first cable car up the mountain, it's always amazing how quickly a day skiing in the Alps can go by. Seasoned traveler or first time Alp skier, if your day is ending in Megeve, you are in for a treat as you wind through the village to your hotel or chalet and hear the unique sound of ski boots on cobblestones. This lift closing rush hour of returning skiers is about as hectic as a walk through Central Park and is shortly followed by a long evening of leisurely shoppers and after dinner strolls.
Megeve is a village meant for strolling and, if you have never strolled through a village where the church was modernized in the mid-1700s after a well-used six centuries, then strolling begs to be your main apres-ski activity. You don't have to have been skiing around Europe all that long to know that in Megeve you are in one of special places for skiing. Megeve was not made for skiing, skiing came to Megeve, and as you weave through the narrow streets and lanes you quickly realize that no cars would even fit through. By design, the whole center of the village is trafficked only by pedestrians and horse drawn carriages.
It doesn't get bone chilling cold in the village very often, but winter justifies the many beautiful furs you will see in the shop windows and on the shoppers. The one purposeful thing Megeve has done is to take on the mantle of supporting upscale, leisurely visitors with low key luxurious boutiques, and galleries. The highest fashions and precious jewels are interspersed with snow sport and winter apparel shops that carry a complete line of equipment catering from the beginner to the hard core ski mountaineer.
Don't be surprised to turn a corner at one of the cobbled lanes and walk into a Hermes, Aallard, Prada, or Versace boutique or one of the other famous fashion houses that have a presence in Megeve. Of course, there must be a night life where the fashions can be rightly displayed. You can make the nightclub tour of the Club de Jazz des 5 rues, Cocoon's, La Caleche, the Caves, and more, all within walking distance from each other. Euro nightclubs and also a Euro Casino with Roulette, Black Jack, and other ways to double your Euros.
Speaking French (Or Not)
A limited ability to speak French is enough to get by in Megeve. In some restaurants, where the staff doesn't speak English, pointing at the menu will work just fine. Most everyone has some fluency in English, and many people are totally fluent, so there are usually no insurmountable language issues.
Skiing and Fine Dining
It is the French Alps, after all, so the food is as wonderful as the skiing. Dinner can be done early or later, reservations are pretty much the rule and it's not uncommon to see tables of friends and families linger for several hours enjoying great food, wine, and friendly service at the many restaurants in the village and beyond. It goes without saying that as an attraction to people used to fine foods and service, Megeve lives up to a reputation of taste and refinement with both imaginative and traditional cuisines, and even a McDonalds!
You have your choice of close to 100 restaurants in and around Megeve, and they wouldn't be in business long if they didn't serve good food. Variables are in cuisine specialties and, of course - prices. But you get what pay for, be it excellent personal service and fine food in architecturally stunning restaurants or quaint, charming converted farmhouses - check the menu first and experiment! It's hard to go wrong.
There are many restaurants in the village where you can experience the famous Fondue Savoyard, filling and delicious, and, when coupled with a good house wine, makes a very affordable meal should you be watching your Euros. Both the Grenier de Megeve and Les Fermes de Marie stood up to the recommendations of some local friends for basic and enhanced Fondue.
Plan on Lunch
Another very important point of interest about skiing in Europe, in general, and especially so in Megeve, is the lunch hour, or better yet - lunch hours. It is the way of life on the slopes to find a restaurant and eat, drink, and be merry during the high noon. To this end, in your ski travels you will come across numerous chalets and restaurants dotted all over the skiable terrain in places mostly accessible only by skis and resupplied by snow vehicles. By the way, most shops close from noon - 2 pm, so don't plan on lunch time shopping.
Off the Rochebrune lift are the Super Megeve and La Caboche, both really good steak places, and be sure to make reservations at Le Matou at the bottom of the Rochebrune.
Visitors to Megeve have a choice of accomodations including hotels, chalets, and apartments with all the stars and services you want, or could need. Accommodations in Megeve are what you will find at any resort in Europe - maybe a little pricier, but remember the ambiance. You have to get used to the fact that most hotels aren't as spacious as what Americans are used to - on the average. However, gracious and friendly service are the standard, but try to book in a place that provides parking. A nice place to stay close to the slopes and the village center, with underground parking, is the Le Manege, 4 stars with a cozy bar area and a good restaurant.
Don't Ski - Don't Worry
If you have a partner, or family member who doesn't ski there are many, many things to do in and around Megeve. There are hiking and snoeshoeing trails, paragliding, helicopter tours, hot air balloon rides and of course, ski and snowboard lessons are available from the French ski school and private ski schools such as Ski Pros Megeve. There are museums, antique stores, and art galleries for browsing. You can also pamper yourself at one of the many luxurious spas. Believe me, you won't be bored in Megeve.