When Megève revisits its alpine history

Posted Nov 18, 2022 12:48 PMUpdated Nov. 20, 2022, 3:01 p.m.

The history of Megève is well known as it is the basis of the myth. In summary, “once upon a time” a patriotic baroness dreamed of building a ski resort in France so that, after the First World War, she would no longer meet Germans when she went to Swiss palaces in winter. This is how Noémie de Rothschild sets her sights on this small village in the Alps to create a “French-style Saint-Moritz”. We are at the beginning of the 1920s and nobody imagines then that the first French ski resort was going to see the light of day here. But the beautiful story could have ended quickly if the baroness had not met the man capable of realizing her dreams. A certain Henry Jacques Le Same, originally from Nantes, who discovered Megève during a cure to take in the fresh mountain air.

A student of fine arts, disciple of the decorator Jacques-Emile Ruhlmann and follower of the Art Deco movement, Henry Jacques Le Same was not 30 when he met Noémie de Rothschild. In 1926, she commissioned him “a chalet which must resemble the farmhouses of the country but with a very comfortable interior, large windows opening onto the landscape, a real fireplace, a porch sheltered from storms and a ski-room for waxing skis”. This is how this duo will simply invent the concept of “skier’s chalet”! The Same gives life to an individual habitat designed to welcome the first city dwellers coming to savor the joys of what we do not yet call winter sports. A concept that will be taken up everywhere else and of which we often ignore that he was the designer and Megève the cradle. Because in the wake of the baroness, the entire French bourgeoisie and aristocracy will order chalets from her, the last being Marcel Dassault in the early 1980s…

Views of the Sibuet family’s Skier’s Chalet, inspired by the work of architect Henry Jacques Le Même.David ANDRE

Henry Jacques Le Same materialized everything that the first alpine tourists needed. In its chalets, the ground floor is devoted to the technical room: boiler room, storage of wood, food and… the first ski rooms where you can store snowshoes and spatulas drying after a day outdoors. The first floor hosts a living room with lounge and kitchen. The bedrooms and bathrooms are housed on the second floor under the sloping roof. The Same favors practicality, with porcelain stoneware floors so that skiers can enter with their ski boots on. The rooms are equipped with bunk beds to optimize space (the idea will be taken up in the cabin studios of the 1970s in the mountains). For decoration, Le Même developed a “mountain art deco” style. Or geometric shapes inspired by traditional motifs drawn from across the Alps. Thus, the V pattern which is one of its signatures is directly inspired by the “wolf’s tooth” that is found engraved in the woodwork of traditional mountain farmhouses.

In the footsteps of the architect-decorator

If there are still more than a hundred skier chalets signed Le Same in Megève today, they are all private properties and cannot be visited. No more than his incredible house which surprises with its ocher-colored walls and its taut lines paying homage to Le Corbusier. So, to approach his work up close, enter the emblematic AAllard boutique, in the heart of the village. It is here that Armand Allard invented the ski fuseau for Emile Allais, legendary ski champion. A shop designed by Henry Jacques Le Same and which Antoine Allard, grandson of the founder, renovated while retaining the original decorations and inspirations of the master. It is also possible to sleep in “The Same”. First in a vintage chalet inspired by his creations, which the Sibuet family bought and renovated last winter to integrate it into the collection of Savoyard chalets of Les Fermes de Marie. There are Art Deco touches and vintage furniture that give the feeling of being in a skier’s chalet.

The top floor of Nicolas Grivet's

The top floor of Nicolas Grivet’s “Coin du feu” has been renovated in the style of The Same.DR

But purists should rather stay at Corner of the fire. The owner of this small family hotel, Nicolas Grivet, fell madly in love with the Le Same style. He renovated the entire top floor in this spirit, calling on the know-how of Jean-Luc Freundorfer, the last cabinetmaker to have worked with the architect, who sculpted the coffered ceilings of the bedrooms, emblematic of the Le Same style, and all the woodwork. Nicolas Grivet tirelessly hunts for Art Deco furniture that this architect-decorator created during his long career. We therefore have the chance to sit on triangular chairs facing period desks. A tireless admirer of Le Same, he now plans to transform the ground floor of his hotel into a place 100% dedicated to the man who reinterpreted the Alpine style so well by modernizing it. Ultimate tribute to the man who, discreetly and away from the spotlight, did so much to make Megève become Megève…

www.coindufeu.com / www.fermesdemarie.com / www.boutiqueaallard.com

Our selection of restaurants to be seen or not

Calmed down, drowsy, even asleep. The pioneer of French ski resorts, which was for a long time the epicenter of mountain parties, has calmed down in recent years. The high-altitude resorts have attracted skiers by offering them ever more festive après-ski. And Megève has forgotten what a party was.

Those who have known the Mauvais pas, the Isba, the Club des 5 rue, the Sauvageonne or Les Jumeaux have seen their hair turn gray and today appreciate the tranquility of a village where we know each other and we know each other. recognize. They see with a half-worried, half-intrigued eye the arrival of these restaurants which offer their Parisian, Saint-Tropez or Dubai addresses in the mountains. On the other hand, there are still a few hushed restaurants that play the confidential dinner card between insiders. To be seen in the VIP area or not to show off, everyone has their own style…

Ferme Saint-Amour, Hibou blanc, Verde… an anthology of new festive tables

Among the groups arriving with great noise in Megève, the hungriest is that of Annie Famose, former ski champion at the Grenoble Olympics, founder of the Skiset network, also at the head of around thirty restaurants, five of which come from open in Megève. There’s the Saint-Amour Farm (chic musical restaurant to see and be seen) which faces Cosa Papa (colourful Italian laid out around… a bowling alley!) next door to Chacha (glamorous bar with gourmet tapas by Eric Fréchon), located under the Kinugawa (high-end Japanese already present in Paris, Saint-Tropez, Saint-Barth…). A few steps away, we also find Coffee (duplicate of the Saint-Tropez address where you eat with songs played live).

“Bambini”, opened in the Meztiva district.

“Bambini”, opened in the Meztiva district.Romain Ricard

The Bourdoncle group, for its part, flew its Owl Parisian to the heart of the village where landed The White Owl (large cozy brasserie) and love owl (trattoria overlooking the ice rink). In the new district of Meztiva, it is the Parigots of Paris Society who have imported their concepts: Toddler (happy and noisy Italian) and The bird (chic piano bar where you also eat).

“Cosa Papa”, a chic bohemian decor for a restaurant that is also a bowling alley.Pierre BAELEN

At the “Ferme Saint-Amour” table.

At the “Ferme Saint-Amour” table.Pierre BAELEN

Without forgetting theIndie Mountain of the Indie Group tropézien (musical bar-restaurant whose menu is signed by the tiktokeur chef Diego Alary), the two pan-Asian bars-restaurants-clubs of Tigrr (also present in the Luberon and in Saint-Tropez) or the Green (mega restaurant-club mountain version of those in Paris, Saint-Tropez or Dubai). Finally, the Moma Group arrives this winter with, instead of theCoast 2000 Innthe Rural by Marc Veyrat (Savoyard restaurant pimped by the master of the Aravis). As to Tangerinesthe oldest mountain restaurant in France, it will be reborn in wild cabin, the latest creation of Annie Famese’s group. Who still doubts that the party is back in Megève?

All information on www.megeve-tourisme.fr

The chef des cimes, Emmanuel Renaut in all discretion

Double anniversary in 2022 for Emmanuel Renaut. The chef celebrates the 25th anniversary of salt flakes and the 10th anniversary of its crowning with three Michelin stars. At the most gastronomic table in Megève, dine in complete privacy, away from the hustle and bustle of the village since you have to take the Leutaz road to reach this discreet Eden.

Emmanuel Renaut, three-star chef at “Flocons de sel”.

Emmanuel Renaut, three-star chef at “Flocons de sel”.Alban PERNET/REA

You can taste cuisine from the Alps, concerned with the products (the chef cultivates his vegetable garden, picks wild plants, local fishing and hunting, etc.) who does not forget to be greedy and generous, which is not obvious on a starred table. The safe bet to treat yourself to, at the antipodes of more festive than gastronomic tables that flourish in Megève…


The new star, a peak lady in the snow

Anne-Sophie Pic was called by the Four Seasons to offer haute cuisine to a clientele who likes the discretion of this palace perched on the slopes of Mont d’Arbois. With her lady of woodpeckerit immediately won a Michelin star in 2022, establishing itself as the table that brings a little lightness to mountain meals.

Spectacular view of the restaurant “La Dame de Pic-Le 1920”.

Spectacular view of the restaurant “La Dame de Pic-Le 1920”.Richard Waite

Its fine cuisine thrills the taste buds without weighing them down, especially if you opt for the food/non-alcoholic beverage pairing which artfully invites teas, infusions and juices. Also note that, this winter, the restaurant The Ideal 1850which belongs to the Edmond de Rothschild Heritage group, in the same way as the Four Seasons, offers a unique experience: sleeping in a suite at an altitude of 1,850 meters on the ski slopes. Private dinner and night alone in the world are thus on the program. For those who resolutely flee the fiestas of the village!


The ultra-confidential table, at Julien Gatillon

We, that’s how Sonia and Julien Gatillon baptized the most popular intimate restaurant in Megève. The young chef left his two-star chef’s hat at the Four Seasons where he officiated, to refocus on his job: cooking! With his wife, they opened their table d’hôtes in their chalet in the summer of 2020. We come here discreetly to treat ourselves to the gourmet cuisine of this chef who cooks just for you. Compulsory privatization of places (from two to twelve guests) and tailor-made menus to match the desires of customers for whom libations rhyme with discretion…


Maison Bello, the butcher shop for incognito meat lovers

Created by locals from Lyon, Maison Bello is the gourmet butcher that Megève was waiting for. You can unearth exceptional charcuterie, poultry and meat from Aubrac and Limousin (and also the famous wagyu beef). But this butcher’s shop is also a table d’hôtes. On privatization, a dozen guests settle in the back room and the boss grills all the pieces of meat of their fantasies in XXL format. A concept that is a hit, with customers appreciating the discretion of a privatized place where they devour very rare meat far from the gaze of the vegan well-meaning of the moment!


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