The French Alps – Fall in love with the mountains all over again in Summer.
The French Alps are synonymous with winter, famed for their ski resorts, their snowfall, their après ski social lives. However, even in the Alps, winter doesn’t last forever, and when summer arrives the best of the Alpine villages take on a whole new warmer persona.
Buying a property in the French Alps that meets your winter snow needs is pretty straightforward but finding a property for all seasons can be significantly tougher.
To make the choice a little easier we have prepared a selection of some the very best areas to buy all your all season property.
Annecy, known as the Alpine Venetia because of the network of canals crossing its streets, lies on the northern tip of Lake Annecy. Lake Annecy is popular for swimming and water sports. It is known as ‘Europe’s cleanest lake’ because of strict environmental regulations introduced in the 1960’s. Clean and extraordinarily beautiful: painted, most famously, by Paul Cezanne.
Annecy offers the benefits of a charming and lively community conveniently situated just 22 miles south of Geneva international airport.
Chamonix, Europe’s premier ski resort, is a vibrant and exciting Savoyard town. It serves as a base for almost all types of outdoor activity, especially the dangerous ones, such as ice climbing, rock climbing, extreme skiing, paragliding, rafting, canyoning and even wing-suit flying.
Chamonix is also a mecca for alpine mountaineers, drawn to the area by challenges like the north, west and south-west faces of the Dru, the Frendo Spur on the Aiguille du Midi, the north face of the Grandes Jorasses and the massive face climbs on the south side of Mont Blanc.
Traversing the Alps on the GR 5 footpath or a more challenging excursion like reaching the summit of the Mont Blanc is also popular.
Chamonix is also famous for its spectacular cable cars and during the summer months it is possible to cross the entire Mont Blanc massif by cable car.
Les Contamines and Saint Gervais-les-Bains
If you prefer peaceful and traditional then villages such as Les Contamines and Saint Gervais-les-Bains make a great choice. Summers here are full of abundant flora and fauna, with countless nature reserves and nature trails to be enjoyed.
Numerous mountain lakes offer a range of water sports and there is plenty to amuse children (tree climbing and miniature boats).
St Gervais has quick access to Chamonix and the main motorway to Geneva. Most residential areas are based in the village or along the valley floor. St Gervais is comparable to a Victorian holiday town, with “Belle Époque” architecture and its own spa.
Les Contamines is at the head of the valley and next to the nature reserve. It is a smaller village than St Gervais and tends to be much quieter out of season. One of the most desirable areas with mostly individually built chalets is La Frasse, which is accessible from the centre of the village and benefits from a great sunny exposition.
These villages exude old-fashioned charm with narrow streets, small squares and quaint stone and wood buildings. Here you can to escape the crowds, breathe fresh mountain air and discover real – as opposed to tourism-inspired Alpine life.
Its not just about sport and walking in the Alps – High culture has long held a seat in these parts, look to the Saltzberg, Geneva and Lucerne festivals (taking place between July and September each year) for world class concerts, opera and drama.
Choosing the Alps as a summer destination is an increasingly popular choice for a great many people and families. As such, owning a year-round property is the ideal solution for the vast majority of buyers, especially those wanting to buy a property to rent out in France.
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