French Alps Property For Sale
The French Alps offer the world’s top skiing destinations with ultra-chic resorts such as Megève and Courchevel nestling in a winter wonderland under the magnificent snowy mantle of Mont Blanc.
French Alps property remains a rock solid investment – whether you’re buying outright or through a leaseback scheme. Capital growth is certain and rental income is bolstered by the resorts rebranding themselves as year-round destinations catering to skiers and non-skiers alike.
As the snow melts and you put away your cross country or downhill skis, your ice-skates or snow shoes, your snow scooter, your snow board or your husky-drawn sledge; you can dust off your walking or climbing boots, get into the saddle of your horse or mountain bike, squeeze yourself into a canoe or strap yourself into a hang glider or whitewater raft. You can even keep your skis on for some glacier or grass slope skiing!
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You can also pamper yourself in health spas, jacuzzis, indoor pools and saunas - whether you deserve them or not. Indulge in luxury shops and gourmet restaurants, and partake of a lively ‘après ski’ scene.
Alps property is at its most expensive nearest Mont Blanc and Geneva airport in the Haute-Savoie department, it becomes progressively cheaper as you go south through Savoie, Hautes-Alpes and then Alpes-de-Haute-Provence.
Megève property is chic and expensive as this is the ‘Paris of the Alps’, the village has a beautiful old world charm which lends it year-round appeal. Megève is a low altitude resort which means it’s not snow-certain but its proximity to Mont Blanc helps. If snow is thin on the ground then there is a lift to the old spa town of St-Gervais and Chamonix is only 30 minutes away. Megève property hot spots are Mont d’Arbois (on a golf course above the resort) and the village of Ormaret which has spectacular views of Mont Blanc. Property in villages such as Combloux and St-Gervais is much more reasonable. Praz sur Arly – the balooning capital of the Alps – is only five minutes away and forms part of the Espace Diamant ski area. Twenty minutes away, Cohennez is a typical Savoyard village – pretty, quiet and with spectacular views.
Courchevel property gives you access to the largest interconnected ski resort in France – the Trois Vallées, with its 640 kilometres of piste. The resort is actually four different villages each at a different altitude; 1300, 1550, 1650 and 1850. Ski-in, ski-out chalets are at a premium with the most expensive Courchevel property found at Courchevel 1850, where you will rub shoulders with royalty and celebrities. Fellow investors include David Beckham and Roman Abramovich. Courchevel 1650 is more authentic and is known as “Le vrai Courch”, it gets an extra hour’s sunlight per day and offers the best skiing. The Combe de la Saulire red is one of the world’s great intermediate runs. Courchevel 1300 (Le Praz) and the nearby hamlet of La Tania are the most family-friendly. * Don’t miss Courchevel’s illuminated sledge runs.
Méribel property is sought after for its location in the very centre of Trois Vallees, it affords access to 720 kilometres of pistes, both nursery slopes for beginners and off-piste for advanced skiers. This is one of the most tasteful purpose-built resorts, it is also the most British influenced resort in the Alps with many British-run bars. La Chaudanne Olympic Park has a swimming pool, sauna and ice rink, it is also a centre for parapenting, snowbiking, ice karting and dog sledding.
Megève, Courchevel and Méribel are perfect dual season locations which afford access to extensive ski networks and cater to all levels of ability.
Expert skiers generally head for high-altitude resorts for the thrill of big vertical drops and more difficult runs. Val d’Isère property and Chamonix property are perfect for daredevil skiers prepared to pay a premium for high altitude, snow-certain conditions. Trendy Val d’Isère also offers ‘extreme après-ski’ with lots of bars and over 70 restaurants! Chamonix property combines access to high altitude skiing with a charming car-free town centre with narrow streets and lots of atmosphere. This is an exclusive resort, new apartments are traditionally constructed, often with superb mountain views. Dog sledding, mountain biking, paragliding, helicopter rides, an ice-rink and a climbing centre are all available. Chamonix and Argentière property commands high prices but Chamonix property bargains can be found on the outskirts in Les Bossons, Chamonix Sud and Taconnaz.
French Property Centre’s ‘one to watch’ is Sainte-Foy-Tarentaise, Sainte-Foy property has more authenticity and charm than neighbouring Val d’Isère property. Only 30 mintues away, this tiny four-lift resort has been created in the mould of a traditional Savoyard village with individual wooden chalets rather than the ubiquitous concrete blocks of some resorts. With eight red and three black runs it is best for intermediates but Val and Tignes devotees sneak over for its superb powder, lack of queues and empty pistes.
Alpe d’Huez property is a good choice as this Grandes Rousses resort is a strong all-rounder. With pistes above 2,500m it is snow-certain through most of the season and it caters for all levels. While some of the architecture is not inspiring, property here is cheaper than in most other top resorts. There are also some ultra-challenging runs like the Sarenne – the longest black run in Europe.
Les Arcs property gives you access to the vast Les Arcs - Paradiski ski area with 500 kilometres of ski runs. The resort comprises child-friendly Arc 1600, lively Arc 1800, snow-certain Arc 2000 and the revitalised Arc 1950 where Intrawest have built the 750 apartment complex Le Village. This leaseback development has pools, spa complexes and treatment centres for bad-weather days, and – as the village is car free - a massive garage built into the rock. Les Arcs is good for all abilities with nursery slopes at 1800 and good off-piste opportunities. There are 18 black runs, 38 red and 10 blue and green runs apiece.
Our top tip is Bourg-Saint-Maurice – a small alpine town of some 150 shops a mere seven-minute ride by funicular railway from Les Arcs 1600 and snow-sure Paradiski. Bourg St Maurice property is a particularly good investment for Brits as you can take the overnight Eurostar service direct from London St Pancras (journey time seven hours) and arrive as fresh as an alpine daisy for your day on the pistes. A by-pass plan is also afoot to improve the road infrastructure of this vital skiing hub in the heart of the Alps. Two large leisure complexes are being built with spas, thermal baths, pools, bowling alley, cinema and casino to boost all-year-round businesss. Property prices are modest for a location with so many aces up its sleeve.
We also recommend unspoilt Samoens, the oldest village in the Alps is listed as a ‘historic monument’ and is a quiet, family-oriented resort. Located one hour from Geneva and linked to the Grand Massif ski area by a new high-speed cable car, Samoens property is a good investment. Outside the picturesque protected village, the area is attracting sympathetic developments by major investors such as MGM - so individual investors are in good company. Alongside the usual summer activities of mountaineering, whitewater rafting and hiking there’s also a botanical garden.
Les Gets property and Morzine property give you access to the Portes du Soleil ski network that links 12 resorts on either side of the French/Swiss border. Les Gets is a family-friendly traditional alpine village which is as geared up to summer as it is to winter. You’ve got grass-skiing, lake swimming and 19 hiking routes across the mountains. Ski lifts are converted to take mountain bikes as Les Gets is one of the top locations in the world for cross-country, free-ride and downhill mountain biking.
Whichever resort you decide on, your French Alps property can be easily accessed by direct flights to Geneva or Chambery from many UK airports. The advent of the Eurostar ‘snow-train’ sleeper direct from St. Pancras to Moutiers and Bourg St Maurice adds to the investment potential of the area.
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