By Kate Youde
The medieval farming village turned ski resort in Haute-Savoie, popularised by the Rothschild family, offers luxurious living against a backdrop of cobbled-stone charm.
Year-round healthy living
The resort placed 45th out of 56 on the Savills Ski Resilience Index, which assesses the ability of resorts to maintain quality winter sports activities based on snowfall, reliability, season length, altitude and temperature. However, there is more to Megève thanÂ its 185 runs and 400km of pistes . Off-season activities include golf at the 50-hectare Mont d’Arbois mountain course founded by Noémie de Rothschild in the 1920s and everything from swimming to climbing at Le Palais Megève, the Alps’ largest leisure complex.
At an altitude of 1,100m Megève is lower than the resort of Courchevel 1850 (which, despite the name, is at 1,747m) but so are the property prices. At €13,700 per square metre, prime residential prices in Megève are nearly half of those in Courchevel 1850, where the average cost is €26,000 per square metre. The resort is also cheaper than Val d’Isere, Courchevel 1650, Courchevel 1550, Méribel and Méribel Village, according to estate agents Knight Frank.
While prices rose in the year to June 2019 in eight other French Alps resorts Knight Frank studied, they remained flat in Megève. However, Roddy Aris, partner at Knight Frank, predicts prices will grow over the 2019/20 ski season, thanks to recent investment in infrastructure such as ski lifts. Aris says that the demand for homes homes is being led by French and Italian buyers and Geneva residents — situated near the Italian and Swiss borders, and just over an hour’s drive from the Swiss city, Megève is a popular choice for weekend homes.
Part of Megève’s appeal is its rustic farmhouses: a seven-bedroom chalet close to the La Princesse ski area with mountain views and 0.76 hectares of land is on the market for €2.625m. Newly built low-rise apartment blocks are also available in the village centre: Knight Frank is selling a four-bedroom home in the four-apartment La Tourmaline development, which is due for completion in December 2020 and priced at €1.818m.
There is no shortage of interior design inspiration for buyers. Megève’s shops include a showroom displaying furniture designs by architect Arnauld Millet and a concept store by 203-year-old wool brand Arpin stocking cosy cushions and blankets.
Appetising après ski
After working up an appetite on the slopes, there are plenty of fine dining options. Prima at Les Chalets du Mont d’Arbois, a Four Seasons hotel, earned its first Michelin star last year, one of eight across the village. The menu at the three-star Flocons de Sel, which overlooks Megève, includes a tasting menu inspired by its mountain surroundings. La Table de l’Alpaga and Le 1920 hold two stars apiece.
Megeve’s events calendar includes an annual international jazz festival, this year running from March 26-28 with acts including French-Lebanese trumpeter Ibrahim Maalouf. The aforementioned Le Palais, which dabbles in culture as well as sport, is currently staging an exhibition of works by French actor Jean Marais and artist Jean Cocteau, while the annual MB Race for mountain bikers returns to the resort for its 10th year in July.
Photographs: Alamy; Boris Molinier; Dreamstime; Getty Images