A rare and unique place, Les Fermes de Marie, which this year celebrates its thirtieth anniversary, continues to embody the art of mountain living. Combining marvellously the charm of the past, simplicity, elegance and refinement, they remain a special address where it is good to come and return. More than a place, they are also the fruit of a beautiful story, that of Jean-Louis and Jocelyne Sibuet...
Once upon a time... A little over thirty years ago, Jean-Louis Sibuet imagined recreating a small village by reusing old materials. "I wanted to make something with a soul, something that didn't exist at the time," he says. At the beginning of the 1980s, in 1984, he began dismantling farms. "When I started trying to salvage old wood, I looked for old farms where there had been landslides, where lightning had struck... I took apart one and then two...". Pretty soon everyone around here knows about it. Jean-Louis Sibuet thus travels the two Savoies every weekend, hunting with Jocelyne but also recovering old furniture, quantity of old stones and nails per kilo. In five years, he rebuilds some 2,000 pieces of furniture. "I was taken for a moment for a madman," he recalls with amusement. He then stored everything on a plot of land in Flumet and took over a carpentry workshop with old equipment. Passionate, he cut, rebuilt and stored all the wooden furniture, to the point of piling up cupboards on three levels! "I took all these pieces apart at least ten times and put them back together again. »
The story of a passion
The first great phase of the Farms of Mary is therefore the recovery of old materials. From 1983 to 1988, Jean-Louis dismantles with his "guys" who, taking advantage of the off-season (the latter being ski instructors, mountain guides) come to work alongside him.
A crazy project
The construction of the Fermes de Marie began in 1989. In fact, most of the Farms were designed in only nine months, opening in December of that same year. "I had found a mason who was passionate. During the week, he was putting up the walls. On weekends, I would form and then he would pour the slabs. "In short, Jean-Louis Sibuet works day and night, concentrating on the structure during the day and adorning the stone walls at night... before sometimes joining Jocelyne who works on the furniture, which she chines but also designs, like her bedside lamps. In nine months, therefore, with about fifty people, the main part of the Farms is designed. More precisely, about thirty rooms, including two suites, the chalet that the family then lived in with their two children, Nicolas and Marie (and which became suites 101 and 102), the restaurant as well as the structure of the future spa, including the underground, and even the swimming pool. "It felt like it was all over when it was just beginning. It felt huge... I even wondered what I'd done, if it wasn't too much..." All the more so as the couple committed themselves to this crazy project - to recreate an authentic mountain hamlet - without having validated its financing. Everything was built," continues Jean-Louis, "but I couldn't pay for it! The banker told me we couldn't do it like that! It was funny. "Also, at a time when Megève has lost its former lustre and is no longer in vogue, Jean-Louis Sibuet goes to see about twenty bankers, until he finds one who understands his idea and follows up the project.
In this rare place, Jean-Louis and Jocelyne Sibuet have breathed a soul, and a true art of living into the hotel business, something that did not exist until then. They had already laid the foundations with their first hotel Au Coin du Feu, a little gem that they have completely rethought. Inspired and inspiring, the Farms do not suffer the passage of time and fashions. "Les Fermes de Marie were made with a soul and a will, money doesn't do that," Jean-Louis concludes. A project carried out with total commitment: human, family and financial. Moreover, customers in search of authenticity were not mistaken.
Faithfuls who return over the generations. And that's good, because the Farms were designed with that in mind. "We have always wanted Les Fermes de Marie to be a family hotel for the family, run by a family," explains Jocelyne Sibuet, like the people she greets who have been coming here for thirty years with their children and grandchildren. For Les Fermes de Marie, to use her words, has a "spirit of a luxury boarding house. An upscale place, out of the ordinary and above all not show off." In short, a place emblematic of the Sibuet paw and of course of the art of mountain living, where tradition, simplicity and authenticity go hand in hand with elegance and refinement, worked down to the smallest detail. And whose success is undeniable... A truly beautiful story.