Aurelia in Megève

“Je crois que Megève fut créé pour le ski et le ski inventé pour Megève” || “I think Megève was created for skiing and skiing invented for Megeve” 

–Mathilde Maige-Lefournier 

Bonjour mes amis!

From time to time my friends from Aurifilosophy University and I organise a fun reunion– we are all from different parts of the world (Mexico, Russia, Japan, Nepal, South Africa, and — of course — Italy) and it’s our only chance to see each other. We’ve gone on some pretty amazing adventures and I have such fond memories of our travels.

Among our many trips, the one that is most vivid in my mind is our trip to Megève, France. It was the beginning of January and I was desperately in need of some time to loosen my distressed spool and have some fun. Truly, I’d been aching for an exotic tropical retreat, but over the years, I’ve learned that too much time in the sun isn’t great for my thread and often leads to permanent damage to my natural color. Luckily, my friends were set on a winter getaway and so after a full week of planning and research, we settled upon Megève. 

Nestled in a valley within the French Alps in the Mont Blanc Massif Mountain Range, Megève is an ancient village with a storied history. It began centuries ago as a peaceful farming town, known for its rich and fertile soil and has long been a travel destination for tourists seeking pure mountain air. In 1914, the first skiing competition was created, featuring ski tows invented by the local farmers, likely based on tools of their own trade. The village’s true shift from quaint village to destination ski resort began with the Rothschild family in the 1930s. Thanks to continued visits and many generous investments, the now-famous ski resort was born.  

The more I read, the more excited I grew — it all felt a bit like a fairytale with its humble beginnings and happily after ever. I couldn’t wait to check it all out for myself, take pictures, explore, and spend evenings in the cozy chalet in front of the fireplace, catching up with my friends, sipping a glass of Pinot Noir.

What to bring this time?

✓ My beloved camera to capture every moment

✓ A sharp needle and some fabric for some stitching in front of the fireplace

✓ A book to sketch some ideas for the next projects

✓ A beret and sunglasses to preserve me from the sunlight 

The drive from my place to Megève was about 3 hours. Who doesn’t love a solo road trip? I entertained myself with Great Women of Business, an inspiring podcast detailing the journeys of women like Coco Chanel and Oprah… how they broke through the glass ceiling to succeed on their own terms. The second half of the drive had me belting out The Thread by Art Garfunkel, one of my all time favorites!

When I spotted Mont Blanc (White Mountain) in the distance, my excitement kicked in. I’d been dreaming of seeing this majestic peak for my entire life. The landscape was extraordinary, almost like something described in a J.R.R. Tolkien novel. Everything was covered in snow and the peak vanished into the clouds, borders blurred… a glorious intersection between land and sky. The light reflected on the slope and lit up the valley. I cracked my window and drew in the fresh mountain air. It was incredibly thick and cold, somehow energizing. I couldn’t wait to reach my destination! 

Upon my arrival in Megève, I followed directions to Les Chalets De Theleme, our home away from home for the week. My friends had arrived already and I could see them waving to me from the front door. I parked the car, stepped out into the crisp evening air, and took a moment to soak it all in. I was surrounded by a cluster of timber chalets with wide wooden sloping roofs, many still adorned with twinkling holiday lights which cast faint shadows on the snow. Wisps of smoke seeped from the chimneys, leaving the warm scent of burning wood in the air. I shut the car door and made my way toward the entrance, feet crunching in the snow, a wide smile on my face. 

Our chalet was absolutely stunning, cozy and warm, a true winter refuge. The rooms were adorned with vintage accents like wooden skis and signposts. The bedrooms were soft and welcoming, with tartan patterned duvets and vast windows that overlooked the ski slopes. A winding wooden staircase wound with garlands led to the true masterpiece of the chalet– the living room. A fire roared in the fireplace and that rich smell of burning wood mingled with the sharp pine scent of a lingering Christmas Tree. We all felt as though we’d just arrived home.

We spent that first night scattered in front of the fireplace, watching the snow fall lightly outside the window, sharing a good bottle of chardonnay and eating Abondance, a semi-hard fragrant local cheese. It was one of those nights that you don’t want to end… effortless and joyful as it often is with good friends. I learned so many things through our endless evening conversations that week. My friends are extraordinary, specialising in things like handmade lace, EPP, free motion quilting, and machine appliqué… we were all able to share our passions and I was thrilled to share some of my latest embroidery and cross-stitch.

While our nights were characterized by conversation, our days were filled with adventure. We started each morning energized and excited to take on the day. That first morning was my favorite. Fueled by crispy pain au chocolat (extra flaky and buttery croissants filled with rich chocolate) we grabbed our gear, hopped on the modern cableway that shuttles riders to the top of the mountain, and got ready to hit the slopes.

I’ll never forget the moment I hopped off that cable car… C’est magnifique. The view was breathtaking– a vast, snow-covered landscape, peppered with the peaks of the surrounding mountain range. The village below seemed tiny in comparison, life in miniature. The skies were crystal clear and the bright sun reflected off the snow creating a cascade of mini rainbows that hung in the air. It was completely silent. So still, in fact, that I could hear the light tinkling of ice crystals from a breeze that wafted through the nearby trees. I had to squint a bit, to locate my preferred trail and after a moment, we set off down the mountain. 

There are very few things in this world that provide the same exhilaration that comes with flying down the side of a mountain, wind whipping through your thread. You feel reckless and powerful at the same time, invigorated by the sensation of the ice and snow skirting the bottom of your spool.

While I am far from being an expert skier, I’m persistent and determined. That day, we all were. It’s difficult to find the right balance on a single spool and we all fell or lost our poles several times! Even though our threads were perfectly and tightly wound on our spools, it was impossible not to get snagged on a stick, hopelessly tangled and rolling miserably down the center of the slopes. One of my friends even chipped her spool! But, we each got back up, again and again, laughing to ourselves and with each other. 

Each day, after a crisp morning on the slopes, we met for lunch at one of the chalets. I discovered that the French have a real finesse for cocktails and my favorite was a Kir Royal— crème de cassis topped with champagne poured over fresh raspberries in a slender flute. We always shared the fondue au fromage (cheese fondue)– the perfect aprés-ski treat, rich, flavorful, and perfectly aromatic. 

On one afternoon, after lunch, we set out to explore the village. The thing that I love the most about Megève is its centre, the soul of the resort. There, you can bear witness to the living history… The priory, which was founded in the 12th century by the Benedictines, stands next to a church whose main door dates back to 1692. Narrow streets with old stone houses give way to provincial squares with artfully crafted fountains. It’s truly remarkable to see these structures in harmony with the more modern renovations… casinos, Michelin-star restaurants, and high-end boutiques housed within the more traditional facades. Likewise, the sound of wooden carriage wheels rolling over the uneven cobblestone often intermingles with the excited din of adventuring tourists.

On that day, our most precious discovery was the Chocolaterie at Grand Hôtel du Soleil d’Or. Upon entering, the sweet smell of cocoa beans surrounded us, instilling an instant sense of calm. Rustic wood accents partnered with sophisticated furniture in a style known to the Haute-Savoie region. In the middle of the room, there was a table full of à la carte delicatessen and homemade pastries. We took our seats in the cafeteria, a cozy spot with sofas and blankets surrounding a grand fireplace. We each ordered a pot au chocolat, which was expertly crafted by the master chocolatier and his staff, poured directly from the pot into our mugs with precision and care. We talked and laughed, sharing stories, feeling relaxed, and inspired… When our energy waned, we simply curled up on the sofas and spent some time stitching up my latest pattern, inspired by Mont Blanc. 

***** CLICK HERE FOR THE FREE PATTERN ***** 

While most of our nights were spent by the fire at the chalet, we’d heard that the nightlife in Megève was unique en son genre (one of a kind) and had to see for ourselves. It was our second to last night and we figured a night on the town would do us all a bit of good! The main square is full of outdoor cafes with patio heaters where tourists gather to enjoy the fresh air while sipping cocktails.

We started there for an aperitif and then treated ourselves to dinner at La Ferme Saint Amour, a famed restaurant that was once an historical farm building. It is now renowned as one of the most beloved places in town, quite famously documented on instagram. The venue is truly authentic… warm and elegant with natural fixtures, wooden accents, and fur pelts, all of which add to the rustic and pittoresque ambience. 

Dinner was served in the main hall close to the bar, a place we knew would turn into a dance club in a few short hours. We settled in, finished up our meal, toasted with a few more glasses of red wine, and danced the night away!

Our final morning was bittersweet. None of us had wanted to leave, but that morning ended up being one of my dearest memories. We planned one final stop: the Ladurée Tea Room, home to the original macarons. If you’ve not tried one, you must add it to your list– two sweet meringue-based shells filled with ganache to absolute perfection. C’est délicieux! I ordered Pistachio and Jardin Blue Tea, complemented with a cup of Earl Grey and found my seat at a table in the center of the room.

The boutique itself is remarkably unique and precious, with every detail perfectly selected and refined. The walls held a hint of color — pastel to match the pastries —  and the sweet smell of macarons seemed to mingle with the scent of fresh flowers. We sat there for a few final stories, a delightful hour to recount our week’s adventures. Before we left, I stopped back at the counter to bring home an edible souvenir. I selected 6 macarons… a pastel rainbow artfully placed in a box. It felt almost like buying a work of art or a precious necklace. I knew it would be a sweet reminder of my trip once I arrived back home to Solaro.

After returning to the chalet, we grabbed our bags, hugged goodbye, and set off to begin our travels home. Au revoir Megève, je reviendrai! Megève was magical. That afternoon, I drove the full 3 hours home with the windows cracked open, allowing the lingering scent of that fresh mountain air to seep in. Perfection. 

For more detail, make sure to take a peek at the map!

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