Testimonies of a bygone era or sometimes still current, the trades of yesteryear are valuable markers for discovering the way of life in the Alpine territories over the centuries. In Megève, they are an integral part of the culture and are closely linked to the Megève way of life, as well as to the local craftsmanship.

© Daniel DURAND

Megève and the equestrian tradition

Over the centuries, emotional ties have been woven between the people of Megève and their horses. Fairs, breeding, perpetuation of the Megève mare breed, sleds and horse-drawn carriages… In Megève, the equestrian tradition has been rooted in the village's history for centuries. The horse represents an asset in the local tourist animation with the essential sleds of the place of the church and the Gmajor annual events such as Jumping International or Foal Competition. Horse breeding began to develop in the middle of the XNUMXth century during the War of the Austrian Succession, when Savoy was then invaded by the Spanish army. In the XNUMXth century, with three large annual cattle fairs, Megève became the largest breeding center for the horse breed in Haute-Savoie.

Megève, its sledges and coachmen

After the First World War, the rise of tourism opens a new chapter in history, the sledges used for snow removal are exploited for tourism. In the inter-war period, Megève peasants began to take tourists on their char à banc which they used to go to mass or to go to the Sallanches market, then on a sleigh drawn by the horse of the farm. In the period of the Second World War, Mr. Charles Feige, the Mayor of Megève allocated 40 sleigh places to farmers to help use the horses outside the periods of field work. This double activity represents for them an additional income beneficial for the agricultural activity. At the end of the 22th century, there were only 40 coachmen left out of the XNUMX places accessible to natives of Megève and Demi-Quartier through the purchase of a “licence” or operator number.

Do you like being told stories of yesteryear? It is not only through stories that it is possible to revive the domestic life of our ancestors and the memory of a country. The objects also carry within them all the emotion and the memory of forgotten gestures and secular traditions perpetuated from generation to generation. In Megève, the old trades have evolved with the habits and customs of mountain life around the following three major themes: agriculture, textiles, crafts.

Megève lace

From the second half of the 110th century, Megève produced and sold hemp, linen, wool or horsehair lace. These are sold in shops and especially by peddlers to garnish headdresses and linens. From the middle of the 1700th century, Megève took advantage of the development of horse breeding to specialize in the production of black horsehair lace. At that time, there were some 30 lacemakers in Megève for a population of approximately XNUMX inhabitants. Local shepherds also find additional income through the manufacture of woolen stockings. In the XNUMXs, Emilie Rubin used the development of tourism in Megève as an advertising medium by creating the “Laine de Megève” brand. This product is Megève in name only, since it is made in the Sallanches spinning factory.

The Haut-Val d'Arly Museum, a unique place of memory

A major center of Alpine culture, Megève attaches great importance to the preservation and transmission of its heritage, anchored at the very heart of its history. Over the seasons, the Alpine village strives to perpetuate traditions and to transcribe the emotions that emanate from this singular memory thanks to and around which Megève's notoriety has been built.

Thus, today's major annual events continue to bear witness to this vitality and this will. Domestic life, agriculture or crafts... Go through the doors of the Haut-Val d'Arly Museum, an authentic XNUMXth century farm and let yourself be surprised by the beautiful collection of objects from the past through a permanent exhibition on the memory of the Country. .

The history of the spindle, a Megève saga

Mecca of fashion, Megève has always cultivated a certain sense of distinction and elegance, carving out a place of great importance in the textile industry. This is how the name of Armand Allard is engraved in the history books of fashion designers. In 1930, Armand Allard daringly dressed his nephew Emile Allais, the most famous skier in Megève at the time, in his workshop on the Place de l'Eglise, creating the famous "jumper pants".

This trousers with aerodynamic lines which offers excellent wind resistance and a perfectly sheathed silhouette for women will quickly supplant the wide and puffy Norwegian trousers. After the war, the trousers became an essential icon of winter sports and an essential fashion accessory, in the mountains as well as in the city. Today, the family saga continues its momentum in the high-end boutique located in the heart of the village in the legendary house of the spindle creator, while signing collections that shine beyond borders and retaining the spirit of claw.


Megève toboggan run

“La luge de Megève” is a trademark registered by a Swiss designer by the name of Zürcher, then a collaborator of the architect Henry Jacques Le Same, who had been living in Megève since 1925. Made of ash wood and fitted with ski-like sleds, it is available in three sizes. The workshop of its manufacturer, a certain Mr. Joseph, is in "Pirracroste", a building located at a place called Le Coin belonging to René Morand. In the mid-30s, the Grange-Evrard family, which previously ran a hardware store in Megève, resumed production, with the help of a carpenter from Combloux, and launched into the design of wooden skis and emergency sleds, respectively marketed under the “Le Brévent” and “Sylvand” brands.

The Cross of Megève

Originally made around 1750 by a goldsmith from Turin, the famous cross-grid was then bought by Megève conscripts and brought back to their betrothed at the end of their military service which they were then performing in Italian Piedmont. Transmitted from generation to generation to the most deserving daughter of the family or to the goddaughter, the Cross of Megève gradually ceased to be worn after the attachment of Savoy to France in 1860. Nevertheless, its manufacture continues to continue thanks to the know-how of the artisan jeweler Dominique Joly-Pottuz which declines it in several models. Today, the Cross of Megève still shines during the heritage festivals organized in the heart of the Alpine village.

© Daniel DURAND

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