The Good Life France Magazine

The Good Life France Magazine brings you the best of France - inspirational and exclusive features, fabulous photos, mouth-watering recipes, tips, guides, ideas and much more...

Published by the award winning team at The Good Life France

1 year ago

Christmas special Issue 27

Come to France through the pages of The Good Life France Magazine... Discover: Provence, the hidden gems and most beautiful villages, French Alps, UNESCO listed Rocamadour... recipes and giveways, guides and an interview with international best-selling Kate Mosse who shares her favourite places in France...

It’s 10 o’clock on

It’s 10 o’clock on an October Sunday morning and I’m in the main square of Megève. Inside a large tent there’s a panel of chefs tasting Fondue, cheered on by a small but enthusiastic crowd. This competition is one of the many events in the annual three day Toquicimes food festival, celebrating all that’s best in mountain food. The sports complex, Le Palais de Megève has been transformed into a huge food market where I sample products delivered from local farms. Highlights include cheeses like Reblochon, Beaufort, Tomme and Raclette, plus various sausages and cured meats. But first, a bit about this stunning French Alps village... Calvary Megève, literally the village on the water, was a quiet farming town until the 19th century when the parish priest, Father Ambroise Martin, had an idea. Inspired by what he’d seen in Italy, he came up with a scheme to erect fifteen chapels and oratories depicting the stations of cross, on the slopes above the town. Work took place between 1840 and 1878 and this Megève Calvary began to attract pilgrims to the "Savoyard Jerusalem". So much so that hotels and lodging houses were built to accommodate them, the beginning of tourism. The chapels have recently been restored to their former glory and as you climb up the hill, there are tremendous views over the town with Mont Blanc in the distance. Each chapel or oratory has a different architectural style and inside they’re decorated with frescoes and "trompe-l'oeil" paintings plus 50 life size painted wooden statues. The climax of these is a crucifixion scene, with crosses so large that the chapel was built around them.

The Rothchilds After WW1, Baroness Noémie de Rothschild was a frequent visitor to St Moritz, but didn’t get on with the German aristocracy. So much so that she decided to establish a ski resort in France and bought a huge area of land in Megève. Together with her husband, Maurice de Rothschild, she built the Mont d'Arbois in 1921, a luxury hotel equipped with an ice rink. More chalets followed and she went on to create the first cable car in 1933, an airfield and an 18-hole golf course. Top right: Megève in autumn; bottom left, a few weeks later, Megeve in winter; entre Calvary crosses By the 1950’s Megève was one of the most popular ski resorts in Europe and attracted many wealthy individuals and celebrities, including Jean Cocteau, Sacha Distel, Charles Aznavour and Brigitte Bardot. It features in the 1963 film Charade, where Audrey Hepburn's Regina Lampert meets Cary Grant's character and is still the playground of the rich and famous. Henry Jacques Le Même Architect Henry Jacques Le Même came to Megève in 1926 and one of his first commissions was to build Chalet Noemie for Baroness de Rothschild. His design was based on a typical Savoyard farmhouse, which he transformed for contemporary use. The ground floor housed the skis and cars, the first had the living rooms, with an extensive balcony, and the top floor had the bedrooms. He went on to build more than 200 chalets like this and, as a result, created a stylistic unity for the town.

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