Your Story Addendum Ep 28 : Megève. The Heart of the French Alps.

Your Story Addendum Ep 28 : Megève. The Heart of the French Alps.

by iankath on Tuesday, 24 January, 2012

in Personal, Travel, Video

Megève’s a stunning place to see Snow and Ice, something I don’t know!

I’ve always wondered what it’s like to be in the Alps in winter. The cold, the snow, the strong biting sun but I’ve never had the chance, until now!

Megève Village from above. Haute-Savoie, Rhône-Alpes

Megève from high up on the slopes

What we call mountains in Australia doesn’t really compare to what is the real alps scattered around the rest of the world. When I finally saw those mountainous rocks piercing the sky on my first visit to Megève in the summer of 1992 for my sister’s wedding I thought to myself, “these are real mountains!” …And as I left I wondered what it would be like in winter.

Now I’ve seen a real winter scene.

Looking down on Megève at night

Megève at night

Coming from the sub-tropics, a real winter as experienced by most people is something that I’ve always wondered about. Sure I’ve experienced some cold moments in my life but never the ice and snow of the French Alps and all that it entails. It’s far too easy for me to have no idea what to do and how to live in this environment but there is also the fun of seeing for real what I’ve only every seen in film and images.

  • My first step when I arrived involved sliding on the ice. (The ground isn’t supposed to be slippery).
  • How do the hedges survive under half a metre of snow.
  • Amazement of the strength of the building to hold tons of snow on the roofs.
  • Icicles forming from dripping water on the gutters.
  • Bitting cold that saps the warmth from every exposed or poorly covered part of the body.
  • Snow that remains dry and powdery even after days of warm weather.
  • Ice that melts (sublimates) to dryness without ever being liquid water.
  • How much air is in freshly fallen snow.
  • A large mouthful of snow results in very little water to drink.
  • Ice is really hard to walk on in leather soled shoes!
  • The comfortable inside temperature is no indication of how cold it is outside.
  • Ice crystals growing on the snow over the several days of fine weather .
Many of these I’m sure you think are completely obvious but with half a century lived without the experiences of this climate and the natural tendency to take things from my life for granted I’ve been amazed at what I’ve observed. In my personal world I don’t even have a heater for winter.

An Alpine Village

Megève is a quintessential French Alpine village with all the cultural aspects that come with that. The people are fiercely proud of their farming heritage even though tourism has developed into a major part of their community. The local produce from cheese to cured meats is of the highest standard and in no time at all you can indulge way too much of the good life.
And it’s the good life that attracts people to Megève.
It is seen as one of the most expensive ski resort areas in the world attracting the rich and famous. A little people watching and listening and you’ll see the furs and jewlery and hear accents from all around the world. Lately Russian tourists have decovered Megève, having been lead the way by the Germans and British over the decades. One group who are notable in their absence is the North Americans but with the great skiing they have in Canada and the US I can understand why. But it’s not all about the snow!

Mixing it with the Locals

A huge part of being in the French culture is connecting with other people and being in this quaint village in the French Alps with all the French attitudes that come with that make this holiday for me far more than just spending time in the cold.
Taking the time to sit and talk to people about the life in this part of France, either as a local or as an ex-pat British resident gave me more than just the superficial holiday in the snow. I ate far too much beautiful cheese, drank too much red wine but never did I have enough great conversations with the people I spent time with.
If you’re inclined and can afford it I would whole heartily recommend Megève as a place to visit and enjoy.

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