Head to the village of Megeve and take some time out to relax in the stunning French Alps – The Sun
SPORTS coach Isabelle Grenier has just led me on an energetic walk to a quiet grassy spot.
I’m now standing barefoot practising some gentle yoga stretches overlooking the village of Megeve, nestled serenely in the French Alps.
It’s hard not to take in the scenery — traditional wooden chalets, snow-capped mountains and brilliant Alpine sunshine.
It’s the perfect start to the day for this working mum who has made the decision to step away from her routine and experience a different pace of life for a short break.
Isabelle did just that 25 years ago after retiring from her life as a professional jazz dancer. Now she helps clients connect with themselves in these truly stunning surroundings.
And while Megeve is considered a go-to ski destination, there is also something appealing about the area in summer.
In mid-July, the streets feel pleasantly busy, not bustling. There is a sense of the traditional still being very much untouched.
Friday is market day. One stall sells the traditional Glaçons de Megeve — circular morsels of hazelnut mixed with black chocolate wrapped in a light white meringue.
Isabelle Vigliengo is on the stall and is proud of the heritage of the recipe, dreamt up by her great grandfather in 1909 to celebrate the birth of his first child. Many have tried to replicate it, but Isabelle is adamant it will remain in the family. One taste and it’s easy to see why.
TAKE TO THE SKIES AND FLY
Overhead, the sound of a light aircraft’s propeller engine buzzes in the sky. It’s a familiar sound to all in Megeve as it’s one of the best ways to gain a bird’s eye view of the spectacular Mont Blanc.
Bertrand Boubals-Platon has been flying here for ten years. His enthusiasm about the glaciers is infectious and his knowledge extensive. “This,” he says, gesturing to the scant controls of the four-seater plane, “is my office. I know the area intimately.”
Which is just as well. A 45-minute flight is breathtaking but you need to feel reassured in such a confined space when the peaks of the French Alps are directly beneath your feet.
Everything began for Megeve in 1920, when Noemie de Rothschild, wife of Baron Maurice de Rothschild, decided to launch a French ski resort inspired by her beloved St Moritz.
Visited by A-listers and the French President, there is a real sense of what happens in Megeve, stays here. Autograph hunters are unheard of, such is the understanding of discretion.
It’s no wonder there are several stunning 5H hotels such as the M de Megeve, where you can stay in split level rooms with two bathrooms, complete with enviable views.
And then there is the beautiful Le Fermes de Marie, where you’re spoilt by the on-site spa including the indoor and outdoor hot tubs, the sauna and a wide selection of relaxing beauty treatments.
But there is so much more to see and do in the town and stunning surrounding mountains.
ACTIVITIES FOR ALL
Work up a sweat hiking, biking, climbing and fishing or opt to play tennis or a round of golf on a world-class course.
Riders can take horseback safaris to the summit of Mont d’Arbois to admire the spectacular sunset while hardcore thrillseekers should have a go at paragliding, para-chuting, canyoning and rafting.
With an outdoor restaurant featuring tables set around a concrete fountain centrepiece, it feels not dissimilar to a quiet Italian town centre — peaceful and relaxing despite the chatter of the guests.
The food in Megeve is, as you would expect from France, an elegant experience.
The village’s gastronomy credentials are highly sought-after — four restaurants have seven Michelin stars between them. Alongside some of the fine dining options, expect to find some seriously tasty locally produced dishes, including fondue from restaurants like Le Refuge.
“And breathe in and out one more time,” Isabelle reminds me.
It’s easy not to still be lost in the experience of the last few days. It’s as if Megeve has cast a spell on me.
The sentiment of the famous Frank Sinatra song, I Did It My Way (which was first composed in Megeve before Frank added his vocals in the US), could not be truer.
Its unspoilt heritage and characters help make this French alpine village a very special place to visit.
For an escape for a stressed-out working mum, it certainly worked its magic.
And for those looking to ramp up the thrills, there’s yet more ways to enjoy the beauty and majesty of Megeve.
GETTING THERE: Swiss has flights from Heathrow to Geneva from £120pp. See swiss.com.
STAYING THERE: Seven nights’ room-only at M de Megeve is from £815pp. See mdemegeve.com. Or spend seven nights’ room-only at Au Coin Du Feu from £401pp. See coindufeu.com.
OUT & ABOUT: Light aircraft flight over Mont Blanc from £144pp. See aerocime.com.
MORE INFO: See megeve.com.
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