Dual seasonality key to the future of resorts in the French Alps

Posted on 25 March 2014

Ongoing investment in the French Alps is increasing the year-round appeal of property ownership there, said ski property specialist in March, adding that today’s international buyers seek dual seasonality when choosing a mountain resort.

Tourism and property in the French Alps no longer focus solely around winter sports and the length of the ski season – due to end in most French resorts next month. In 2014, both tourists and second homeowners are visiting Alpine resorts to enjoy the activities and lifestyle available in the warmer months, as much as to experience the world-class skiing in winter.

“Before the real boom of French resorts in the 1950s, when skiing began to become a popular form of holiday, the Alps were more summer destinations than winter,” said director at Julian Walker: “Now French resorts are being re-discovered as summer destinations and rightly so, given the scenery, range of activities on offer and modern-day accessibility. Chamonix, which is benefiting from an ongoing multi-million-euro investment plan, is the hub of summer activities in the Alps and is setting a great example – it welcomes as many tourists in the summer months as it does in the winter. Another example is Les Arcs, where a new development next to the championship golf course offers ‘golf-in’ as well as ski-in!”

Here, highlights five summer activities in the Alps, besides trekking, and where to buy a ski property to be able to enjoy each.

That the world’s most famous cycle race, the Tour de France, passes through the French Alps each year is testament to the area’s appeal to cyclists, both those on road bikes and those that prefer mountain-biking. The Portes du Soleil area, which straddles France and Switzerland is famed for both types of cycling. There, the resort of Châtel boasts 15 chairlifts able to accommodate mountain bikes in the summer and offers 600 kilometres of tracks, 19 trails and a bike park. has property for sale in Châtel, with prices starting from €190,000 for leaseback apartments.

The Savoie and Haute Savoie départements form one of Europe’s most picturesque destinations to play a round of golf. There are a surprising number of courses to choose from too, including Chamonix, Avoriaz, Megève, Tignes (the highest course in Europe), Les Arcs and Courchevel. The family oriented resort of Les Gets, in the Portes du Soleil area, has a scenic 18-hole course – has a selection of apartments for sale in the resort.

Many Alpine resorts have public tennis facilities but serious followers of the game will know that Courchevel, with its own club, is an international tennis hub, hosting professional tournaments. Flaine, part of the Grand Massif, is another popular resort with facilities a cut above the average, which are used for tennis camps during the summer. has apartments for sale from €620 milion in Courchevel and for less than €200,000 in Flaine.

The Chamonix Valley, in the shadow of Mont Blanc, is a favourite destination of paragliders from around the world. It’s a good place for beginners as well as experienced flyers, thanks to the selection of flying schools and range of high and low altitude take-off and landing points. Bordering Chamonix Valley is the picturesque resort of Combloux, where has smart new-build chalets for sale from €1.48million.

Rafting and canyoning
Canyoning – navigating rivers and gullies in a wetsuit – and rafting are two of the most exhilarating ways to experience the natural beauty of the French Alps. There are some fantastic rivers in the Haute Savoie suitable for both activities, including L’Isère, the source of which is near the similarly named Val d’Isère, and the Dranse, which is only 30 minutes from the Châtel ski resort.

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