An April 2006 trip
to Megeve by jaybroek
Quote: Baby boy was left running his grandparents ragged while we squeezed what we could into 24 hours in Megève, Alpine ski resort par excellence
Hotel | "Le Gai Soleil"
Our destination turned out to be Le Gai Soleil, a hotel we had called directly with no luck. Beau-père achieved success via Logis de France, a large booking agent who evidently hold room quotas that direct booking can’t circumvent. We arrived to discover that it very much fitted the bill as a traditional chalet-style hotel and was a fully paid up member of Megève’s ‘Christmas lasts ‘til Easter’ club. Baubles in the windows and trimmings in abundance complemented the greeting’s card cliché of metre-deep snow on the sloping roof and the welcoming glow of shutter-flanked windows.
We were greeted by Roger, one half of the young Welsh couple who run the place. They are the current recipients of my career envy, although I suspect that maintaining a 30-room hotel in one of France’s most popular ski resorts doesn’t leave them with much time to indulge in their passion for winter sport.
Our room took the hotel euphemism of cosiness close to its natural conclusion. A double bed, narrow chest of drawers, and bedside table had been tastefully crammed in, leaving us with precious edging room to the astonishingly small en suite shower. All space-saving techniques had been employed: sliding, mirrored wardrobe and bathroom doors, wall-mounted TV, and a corner-mounted toilet, but there was no escaping the fact that this room was the antidote to any agoraphobia brought on by the great Alpine outdoors beyond the balcony. Let’s face it, though: if you need to use your hotel room as anything more than a crash pad during a ski trip, you’re just not doing it right.
Le Gai Soleil also boasts a function room and mini cinema theatre for showing videos (presumably catering for school trips and the like). In addition, while wandering down to breakfast, we spotted a fully equipped bar. Breakfast itself is buffet-based, with plenty of continental pastries, cold cuts, bread, and cereal on offer, all washed down with juice and ample coffee.
Close to the Rochebrune téléphérique, Le Gai Soleil is a perfectly adequate identikit chalet-style hotel. We gulped at the prices, but they’re fairly standard for this grand dame of French ski resorts, and you can pay much more.€111 bed and breakfast (€96 +€14 + €1 tax).
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on July 27, 2006
Gai Soleil Hotel (Le)
343 rue Cret du Midi
Megeve, France 74120
+33 04 50 21 00 70
Restaurant | "Le Forestier"
I, however, more or less rolled to a stop outside Le Forestier, located a few hundred yards down the blue run of the same name that starts on top of the Rochebrune. My companions thoughtfully helped me to my feet and stood poised to catch me if I tripped over getting my skis off. A couple of the party went to secure a table while I righted my skis a third time. Most refuges don’t take reservations due to the difficulty in predicting what time you’re going to arrive. Predictably, we picked one that did and, while even this bolshy restaurateur wasn’t going to turn away six covers, were told rather curtly that we had about 40 minutes, so we’d better not get ideas about relaxing over lunch or any of that nonsense.
So with a number of the party seething about the rudeness and deliberately dragging out their ordering, I sat in a corner and quietly let off steam, quite literally. I looked like a smouldering bonfire and parents were trying to stop their children from pointing.
When cold beers reached the table, the mood improved slightly and we could focus on the Savoyard dishes on offer. Between us we covered the main areas of the menu, orders including reblochon (a local cheese) salad, goat’s cheese salad and plates of charcuterie (cold meats such as salamis and cured ham). I opted for an omelette with lardons – small cubes of cured bacon. Our dishes arrived with the haste we had come to expect from our harrying host. I don’t know whether alpine omelettes are meant to be on the raw side but it certainly didn’t appeal to the 5-year-old in our group, which led to more cross words with the waiting staff, who had presumably written off a tip by this point and saw little value in pleasing us.
At about €15 a head for one course and a drink, it’s about standard for Megève, although I hope the same cannot be said for the service.
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on July 23, 2006
Chalet le Forestier
On The Forestier Blue Run
Massif de Rochebrune
00 33 4 50 21 12 95
Restaurant | "Les Enfants Terrible"
Member Rating 2 out of 5 on July 23, 2006
Les Enfants Terribles at Le Mont Blanc
Place de l'eglise
04 50 58 76 69
Attraction | "Megève"
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 23, 2006
BP 24 - 74120 Megeve
+011 (33) 0450212728
Edinburgh, United Kingdom