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Get ‘pièce’ of mind when choosing your home in the Alps!

Posted on 10 September 2013

The flexible living space offered by purpose built ski apartments means that British buyers in the French Alps shouldn’t necessarily base the number of people a property can sleep on the number of bedrooms it has.

A two-bedroom apartment with fold-out beds in the living area or a mezzanine area is a more affordable – and often practical – alternative to an apartment with three bedrooms. To reflect this, French property descriptions refer to a property’s ‘pièces’, which translates to rooms rather than specifically bedrooms, as any room that isn’t a bathroom or kitchen could potentially provide bed space.

A spokesperson for a French developer said: “In my view, it makes sense to think this way when it comes to buying an apartment to accommodate a family in the French Alps, because making the best use of the space is more important than counting the number of bedrooms.

“What’s more, the way of life during a holiday in the French Alps is essentially outdoor, either on the ski slopes in winter or enjoying the countryside in summer. Our studies reveal that the amount of time owners actually spend inside their apartments is minimal.”

In the longer term, an under-used third bedroom can become something of a financial burden as, when children grow up and find family holidays less appealing, their parents are left with a spare bedroom which, in a French résidence de tourisme, incurs a higher annual service charge than they would face with a two-bedroom apartment.

Furthermore, the annual income for owners in a résidence de tourisme is maximised when two-bedroom apartments dominate those available to rent. Figures provided by a property management company in the Alps show that, at well over 60 per cent, the strongest demand from those wishing to rent a holiday home consistently is for two-bedroom apartments.

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