CHALET…..OR SHAN’T I?
Fresh mountain air, the wind beneath your skis and miles of white slopes giving off that ‘give us a go’ invitation – who could resist dreaming about a place in the mountains.
But a property in the French Alps doesn’t have to be just for winter, for many chalet owners the benefits of enjoying the scenery all year round with endless activities (or just plain relaxation) makes their investment a really secure one.
He says ‘I decided pretty quickly that I wanted to stay, so made a conscious effort to make friends with French people and learn the language, which makes life out here much easier. I love being able to chose the days to go skiing or boarding in the winter, and in the summer I spend all my spare time either paragliding or fly fishing – unfortunately leaving the mountain bike, golf clubs and walking boots to gather too much dust. Being manager for the Alps keeps me in close contact with what is going on in each village and the resorts up and down the valleys, and despite the fact that I cover a wide area, the scenery along the way never fails to impress me. And I love discovering new places…’
Recently voted by the Sunday Times as the ‘best up and coming resort’ is the smaller expat haven village and resort of St Foy. Here you’ll find a good community thanks to the fact that it’s further down the hill (the air is warmer and summer lasts longer!) but only 15 minutes from Val D’isere and Tignes. There are only 15 pistes in winter, and its very family orientated, but thanks to this has very few serious skiers which means if you are a serious ‘off pister’ then you can get some of the best untouched powder runs around. It also means that prices for luxury property are still very reasonable.
To the North, at the foot of Europe’s highest peak, Mont Blanc, you’ll find the off piste meccas of Argentiere and Chamonix – the birthplace of mountaineering, and one of the most awe inspiring settings in the world to live all year round. Being less than an hour from Geneva airport it is perfect for those wanting an easy to reach weekend retreat. The town has a fabulous atmosphere with an excellent selection of great bars, restaurants and shops, making it all very cosmopolitan without losing its Alpine history.
Chamonix and Argentiere have undoubtedly the best off-piste runs in the Alps for the serious skiers, whilst their neighbour, Les Houches provides for all the family with its gentler tree runs. Thanks to the fact that the property market here is much bigger than in most other resorts (which are generally dead for the inter-seasons), prices and availability of prestige properties is still very good value for money. Year round rental yields are good, and, as across most of the Alps, constructible terrains are harder and harder to find, and building permits even more so, which means that this is one of the safest property investments available.
Most people only think about ski holidays when they imagine the mountains, but there really is so much to do year round – from walking in the national parks (Vanoise, Ecrins, and Vercors), to mountain biking, paragliding or fishing just about everywhere, to swimming, jet skiing, sailing and countless other watersports in the lakes of Aix les Bains and Annecy (the paragliding mecca of Europe, and also considered France’s most beautiful lake town).
For anyone working in Geneva or Lausanne, this luxury chalet in Evian, with stunning views of Lac Leman, is perfect. This property is just 50 minutes by car to Geneva, 35 minutes by boat to Lausanne (they run all day), 15 minutes to the resort of Bernex and 50 minutes to Morzine – but half the price of similar properties in any of these locations.
It is in pristine condition, with 3 en suite bedrooms, indoor pool, and a very spacious and bright living and dining area. The price was recently reduced from 1.4 million, for a quick sale – asking price: 1,263,000 euros. Ref: HH-4665389
Finding a chalet in the 3 valleys isn’t easy. This 150m2 property in Les Allues (just 5 minutes from Meribel and the pistes) was built to the highest standard in 2008 and is a fraction of “resort prices”. With 3 en suite bedrooms, a spacious open plan living/dining/kitchen, and 750m2 of land, who needs the noise of the the town? Ref: HH-4664962 Price: 1,365,000 euros.
This is possibly the most stunning Chamonix town centre apartment we have ever seen. Redeveloped in an 1860 farmhouse, just minutes from the town centre, this triplex apartment, with views of Mont Blanc, has a spacious open plan kitchen/dining and living area, 3 bedrooms (all ensuite), with the top floor ready to turn into either an office, home cinema room, or further bedroom.
It is finished to a beautiful standard, with old wooded beams, sandblasted brick wall, designer fireplaces (on 2 floors), glass floor/ceiling, and steel fittings. Ideal low maintenence Chamonix getaway, just minutes from the action. Ref: HH 4608760 Price: 1,380.000 euros
This 8 bedroom (all en-suite) luxury chalet on the pistes in St Foy (described as best resort in the world by the Sunday Times) has one of the best views on the Tarantaise valley, and is minutes from the heliskiing capital of France – Rosiere, on the Italian border, 5 minutes from the Villaroger lift to Les Arcs (Paradiski) and 15 minutes from Val d’Isere (Espace Killy).
It has been built to the highest standard in traditional style, using old wooden beams and local stonework, with a huge open fireplace and spacious living area. It has a 3 car garage, huge balconies, seperate staff acomodation, and is currently rented out by a tour operator – so has excellent rental return. Ref: HH 4593708 Price: 2,860.000 euros
If you would like to talk to Chris Leder and his team about properties and businesses available in the French Alps and advice on areas, then please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org
Photos copyright and courtesy of Tristan Shu.