A story of men
The first major phase of Les Fermes de Marie was the recovery of old materials. From 1983 to 1988, Jean-Louis dismantled the farm with his "boys", who took advantage of the off-season to work alongside him as ski instructors and mountain guides. As the days and years go by, friendships are forged within the team over work... and a glass of eau-de-vie. "Today, it would be impossible to do that again. It wasn't about money, it was about people. For Jean-Louis and Jocelyne embarked on this project with a heavy heart. As Jocelyne confides: "We've always done things we liked, without any marketing plans or studies. We're lucky enough to be a family, and above all we want to enjoy our work. So, in 1988, after dismantling dozens of farms, Jean-Louis began to think about what he could do with them... With the help of a small-square notebook, he took notes and began making cardboard models, while looking for a plot of land, which he still didn't have...
"I found this land and negotiated for a year with a farmer who only wanted to give it up under certain conditions." Fortunately, they finally reached an agreement. From there, things moved very quickly. With an architect friend, he worked from the plans of his model and began to design the project. "In those days, the hotel business was just about stacking rooms to accommodate people, but there was no art of living. The Sibuets, on the other hand, decided to go against the grain of what was done at the time, as when they imagined rooms of over 30 square meters with a large bathroom, even if this seems normal today.
A crazy project
Construction of Les Fermes de Marie began in 1989. In fact, most of the Fermes was completed in just nine months, opening in December of that year. "I had found a mason who was passionate about his work. During the week, he would build the walls. At weekends, I'd form the walls, then he'd pour the slabs. In other words, Jean-Louis Sibuet works day and night, building the structure during the day, then decorating the stone walls in the evening... before sometimes joining Jocelyne, who works on the furniture, which she not only hunts down but also designs, like her bedside lamps.
In just nine months, with the help of some fifty people, the main part of Les Fermes was designed. Specifically, some 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 future spa structure, including the basement, and even the swimming pool." It felt like the end, when in fact it was the beginning. It seemed immense... I even asked myself what I had done, if it wasn't inordinate..." Especially since the couple had embarked on 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 it couldn't be done like that! It was funny. So, at a time when Megève had lost some of its former lustre and was no longer in vogue, Jean-Louis Sibuet went to see around twenty bankers, until he found one who understood his idea and followed through with the project.
"I wasn't reckless, just carefree. In the summer of 1990, the indoor pool and spa were completed. As for the surroundings, they seemed to have been there forever.
Imaginingthe art of mountain living
In this rare place, Jean-Louis and Jocelyne Sibuet have breathed soul and a true art of living into the hotel business, something that hadn't existed until then. They had already laid the foundations with their first hotel, Au Coin du Feu, a little jewel which they have completely redesigned. Inspired and inspiring, the Fermes de Marie are unaffected by the passage of time and fashion. Les Fermes de Marie was built with soul and determination; money can't do that," concludes Jean-Louis. A project carried out with total commitment: financial, human and familial. And customers in search of authenticity have made no mistake. Loyal customers who return generation after generation.
And that's just as well, since Les Fermes de Marie was designed with this in mind.We always wanted Les Fermes de Marie to be a family hotel, 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, in her words, has the "spirit of a luxury boarding house". An upmarket place, out of the ordinary and above all not a show-off.
In short, a place that is emblematic of the Sibuet style and, of course, the art of mountain living, where tradition, simplicity and authenticity go hand in hand with elegance and refinement, down to the smallest detail. A true success story... A truly beautiful story.