Inside track - Megève
In a town as well heeled as Megève, it is no surprise there are top-notch restaurants to tickle the taste buds of the Michelin inspectors. La Table de l'Alpaga (alpaga.com) has on star; Le 1920 in the Four Seasons Hotel (fourseasons.com) has two; and legendary Flocons de Sel (floconsdesel.com) has the ultimate accolade of three. Step aside from fine dining, however, and there are still plenty of alluring alternatives.
A personal favourite is La Ravière (00-33-4509931571), a rustic cottage on the mountainside of Mont d'Arbois, tucked out of sight in woods near the La Croix chairlift. Half the fun is finding it: ski too fast and you will miss the tiny signpost. The food is good - hearty mountain fare (gâteau de pommes de terre is the signature dish), and the restaurant itself little more than one small room with steamed-up windows and a cosy arrangement of tables. The menu is limited, it is cash only and reservations are essential, but do not let that put you off a wonderful experience.
For dinner in town, the dark and moody Les Enfants Terribles (hotelmontblanc.com), named after the original Jean Cocteau mural on the wall, attracts a crowd. While I am often wary of seafood in the mountains, in Megève this is the place to dip into a platter of oysters and prawns.
For the Sibuet family, Megève is both home and the starting point of their empire of boutique hotels (they own four in Megève alone), at the heart of which is Les Fermes de Marie (fermesdemarie.com). Rustic in name and abundantly rustic-chic in nature, the hotel is a reconstruction of nine dilapidated farm buildings, which were dismantled and reassembled in their current location to look as if they had been there for years. The clientele is predominantly - and refreshingly - French speaking (families and pooches welcome), many of whom are regulars, popping up for the weekend from in or around Geneva, which is only an hour's drive away.
Brits tend to veer more towards Les Fermes' sister hotels, Lodge Park (lodgepark.com) or Hôtel Mont-Blanc (hotelmontblanc.com), perhaps because they are marginally better located for the village centre and main lift. However, for me, Les Fermes ticks all the boxes- deeply comfortable, perfectly in context within its location, breakfasts like you can only imagine before a day on the slopes, and a proper spa (reserve well in advance) for soothing your aches and pains. Even if you are a non-skier - and many guests are - this is the kind of place in which you would be happy to while away the days.
Megève is something of a two-part ski resort, comprising the main village, concentrated around a picturesque medieval square (complete with an ancient church and priory), and the Domaine du Mont d'Arbois, a large plateau above the village owned by the Rothschilds who, back in the Twenties, put Megève on the map as the glamorous French alternative to St Moritz. A road and a cable car link the two. But so, too, does the mid-nineteenth-century pilgrimage route Le Chemin du Calvaire (or Road to Calvary), a pathway - a little steep in parts - that, with its 15 small and atmospheric chapels and oratories set at intervals along the way, recounts the last journey of Christ from Jerusalem to Golgotha.