599km (372 miles) SE of Paris; 72km (45 miles) SE of Geneva

Megève is a summer resort set amid forests, foothills, and mountain streams. But it's better known as a cosmopolitan ski resort, with more than 290km (190 miles) of downhill runs plus nearly 81km (50 miles) of cross-country trails.

The village, with its turreted houses around a 17th-century church, suggests that Megève looks much the same as it did at the turn of the 20th century. Hubert de Givenchy claims that the big draw of Megève is its "parfum d'authenticité," from its scent of wood smoke to the sounds of hooves clopping on cobblestones. From 11am to 6am, the center of the old village closes to traffic, except for pedestrians and sledges. You can shop at your leisure, stopping everywhere from the cobbler to the antiques dealer to the many boutiques. The town center contains place de l'Eglise and the famous Hôtel du Mont-Blanc, south of the main arteries that cut to the valley.

Some of the resort's hotels and one of its most important cable-car depots are in the village of Mont d'Arbois, about 1.5km (1 mile) east of the center of Megève, at the end of a steep, narrow, winding road. (In winter, it's unwise to drive up this road without chains and snow tires.)

Tennis, horseback riding, and cable railways add to the attractions, with views of the Mont Blanc area from the top of the chairlifts. Amusement includes a casino, clubs, and shows. Megève has more diversions than most other French winter resorts and is a social center of international status.