Naomi Herring takes a trip to Megève to discover what could be the French Alps’ best kept summer secret.

The charming village of Megève may be known to most as the go-to luxury ski resort nestled in the shadow of Mont Blanc. But, as I stand on one of the many mountainside vantage points staring out into the gorgeous green meadows – only the sound of cow bells to be heard from cattle grazing nearby – it is still one of the Alps’ best kept summer secrets.

Initially, it is hard to see past the cascading countryside patterned with luxurious lodges where you can only dream of warming yourself with a boozy hot chocolate after a day of skiing.

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The view from M de Megeve hotel

The instant feeling on arrival is that Megève was made for skiing – which, we later found out, it essentially was as part of plans by Noémie de Rothschild to create a new ski haunt.

But despite this pretty village in Savoie, south east France, first welcoming competitive skiing in 1914, prior to this it stood proudly as a peaceful market town.

The name Megève itself comes from the Celtic name Mageva which means ‘village on water’ making it the perfect place for farming.

The medieval-style square, narrow cobbled streets, and heritage-hailing family businesses all tell a story of its history.

A sunny Friday morning market welcomed a more than warranted buzz among the surprising crowds, with colour at every corner and culinary delights that stretched for miles.

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It felt like a true insight into how bustling Megève could be if it were peak ski season – 40,000 visitors throughout the season at its height, compared to the roughly 3,000 inhabitants all year round.

A hidden gem among the market for the sweet-toothed were the treats created by Isabelle Vigliengo – les Glaçons de Megève.

The fourth-generation family baker is at the helm of creating one of the village’s most famous delicacies – up to 15kg a week.

The hazelnut and chocolate praline is wrapped in a delicate white meringue – proving a hit with The Oxford Times office upon my return – albeit an expensive one.

The Glaçons are not the only purse-stretching expense in Megève, as it well and truly lives up to its refined reputation.

But the mouth-watering meringues were only the tip of the gastronomic excellence that filters through the village like a cheese fondue over crusty bread.

I enjoyed the best fondue of my life so far with the all-year-round offerings at Le Refuge sat neatly in the side of a cliff with incredible views.

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The village itself boasts six Michelin stars throughout its 89 restaurants with many priding themselves on using local meat, cheese and vegetables as well as herbs grown naturally in the mountains.

Every bite proved a party for the palette with many courses through the weekend providing some of the best flavours I have ever tasted.

They included Beaufort cheese raviolis, cream with Apremont wine and green peppercorn, and Coppa di Parma and mushrooms at Les Fermes de Marie.

Every element proved the perfect pairing of sweet and savoury, with a creamy finish to leave you dreaming of the dish.

The food was accompanied by a five-star surrounding at the hotel and spa as it encapsulated the cosy character of a log cabin.

The Alpine-style courtyard was the perfect location to relax into the pine-smelling aroma around the hot tub, and take in the mountain views while sipping a cocktail.

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The cosy wood cabin feel filtered through many of the five-star hotels peppered through the village including the M de Megeve where our group stayed.

The log cabin rooms were decorated with countless fur throws and cuddly elements to make you feel instantly relaxed.

Despite there being no snow outside, the snug feeling was not wasted and the calming aura around the rooms – which are £815pp for a double room for seven nights – made it a pleasure to come back to each evening.

The only thing the room lacked was a wood burning stove – no doubt for safety reasons – as I sat reflecting back on my mountainside moments.

Megève now seemed to hit a deeper chord that revealed a different, must-see, summer side.

It had become the perfect place to make the most of magnificent nature trails, through the mountains, woodland and weaving through waterfalls – all a stone’s throw from the village centre.

Of course, from the country that gave us the Tour de France there wasn’t a lack of Lycra either, with cyclists taking advantage of the three surrounding mountains to get out on their bikes.

To top it all off, the area has its own private airport, where pilots provide flights around Mont Blanc and surrounding peaks.

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It is an experience like no other, to get so close to the magnificent mountain that is the highest peak in western Europe.

There is no denying Megève is the perfect ski destination, but it also has a hearty soul and history that goes well beyond its snowy peaks to provide an equally luxurious summer retreat.