The Cinema One book Melville on Melville by Rui Nogueira has this exchange:
Q: What do you think of the Nouvelle Vague style?
A: There's no such thing. The Nouvelle Vague was an inexpensive way of making films. That's all.
You have to admit that - as influential as the movement was to world cinema - in France it was indeed a series of lower budget films made by a wave of new directors that managed for a while to get more attention than the directors of the bigger budgeted films. But eventually some of the Nouvelle Vague directors came into the fold.
It's too bad they had a falling out because in retrospect the cinema of Melville is as good and significant in its own way as the cinema of Godard, Truffaut, Chabrol and Rivette.