History, culture and heritage

History and heritage

Endowed with an out of the ordinary history and heritage, the village has a soul that goes well beyond the image that we may already have of this unique venue.

History & Heritage

From a farming market town to a ski resort

Before the advent of winter tourism, Megève was above all a peaceful farming market town where the inhabitants benefitted from a rich and fertile land.
Megève, from the Celtic name “Mageva” which means the village on water, was the ideal place for farming, but not only that! In fact, the first tourists were already coming to Megève as early as the XIXth century.
A few pilgrims were frequent visitors to the Calvary refuge and the first tourists came seeking pure mountain air.

The village developed little by little until the annexation of Savoie to France.

Birth of a ski resort
The first skiing competition was created as of 1914 and there are a number of photos that bear witness to this period of discovery and development. Farmers invent ski tows, trying out many ideas!

A female journalist will stir up and illuminate the village with her writings, and her influence will make her a great lady in the history of Megève. Mathilde Maige Lefournier is a mountaineer from Chambéry. She wrote an article in November 1913 for the magazine “La Montagne” entitled, “Megève or the worship of skiing” that praises skiing on the sites of Mont d’Arbois and Rochebrune.

One day she said to a village hotel owner, “I think that Megève was created for skiing and skiing invented for Megève”. A spotlight effect that was to have a great impact and make the village a top winter sports’ venue, even then.
The arrival of the Rothschild family on the Mont d’Arbois will accelerate the development of skiing in Megève. The village farmers invested in the Rochebrune sector, and we note in 1933 the construction of the first cable car solely for the use of skiers, the famous “red cable car”.

1923 sees the birth of Megève’s Sports Club that will soon be the birthplace of great champions. Emile Allais, native of Megève, was a triple medal winner at the World skiing championships in Chamonix in 1937 and the famous Aallard “fuseau”, ski pants, were invented in 1930.

This energy guaranteed that the resort was much talked about and ensured that its rise to fame was rapid.

« I think that Megève was created for skiing and skiing invented for Megève »