From food to festivals, seven resorts that make life in the French Alps extra special

Posted on 30 October 2015

Competition to attract more visitors is driving French Alpine resorts to offer far more than just good skiing, said in October, adding that buyers choosing a ski home should look beyond the slopes and consider a resort’s full offering.

“Aside from the skiing, different resorts stand out for different reasons, with some ticking a number of boxes,” said Julian Walker, director at “It could be restaurants, shopping, festivals or nightlife. To help buyers choose where to buy, we’ve listed seven favourite resorts that offer something special.”

Favourite architecture – Megève
Megève is pure chocolate-box beauty. As one of the oldest resorts in the French Alps, it was created in the 1920s by Baroness Noemie de Rothschild. Inspired by Switzerland’s St Moritz, the Baroness commissioned the construction of 200 chalets in the style of traditional mountain farmhouses, which still today form the centre of the resort, complete with cobble stone streets and horse-drawn carriages. Little wonder Megève became known as the ‘21st arrondissement de Paris’. has properties in Megève priced from €4.95million to €10million.

Favourite shopping – Chamonix
Chamonix is the year-round nerve centre of the French Alps. It is a popular base for trips to Mont-Blanc and the surrounding area, and as such its shops cater as much for tourists as for its 10,000 permanent residents. The shopping experience is far from limited to snow sports clothing and equipment, and includes boutique fashion stores, jewellery, art galleries, antiques, bookshops, local handicraft, speciality foods and souvenirs. has properties in Chamonix priced from €295,000.

Favourite food – Courchevel
Courchevel has more Michelin-starred restaurants than any other resort in the French Alps – you could fine dine somewhere different every day of the week. Eating hot spots there include Courchevel 1850’s two-star Le 1947, a creation of the Parisian chef Yannick Alléno with an open kitchen serving up refined Savoie mountain fare. The other Michelin-star choices include La Table du Kilimandjaro, Le Chabichou, Le Kintessence, Les Airelles, Le Strato and Azimut. has properties in Courchevel priced from €460,000.

Favourite après ski – Val d’Isère
A favourite with youngsters, including university students, Val d’Isère has a large choice of drinking holes on the pistes as well as down in the resort. The range of bars is broad too, from quieter, cosy bars to thumping clubs open till the early hours – wherever you are in Val d’Isère, you are never far from somewhere to enjoy a vin chaud or cold beer. has properties in Val d’Isère from €900,000.

Favourite festivals – Les Deux Alpes
Every June, Les Deux Alpes celebrates the Fête de la Musique, a free event that treats spectators to all types of live music, played in bars, restaurants and in the street. Then come December, the resort hosts the Rise festival, which combines live music with an ice disco, cinema screenings, winter beach party, snow sculpture contests, photo-pods, clubland, camp fires and chill out areas.

Favourite street market – Méribel
Many resorts have a weekly market, but Méribel goes a step further and has one twice a week! For homeowners there, it’s a fun way to shop for your groceries, with stalls selling local produce, including cheeses, cured meats and confectionery. has properties in Méribel from €567,000.

Favourite for Christmas – La Clusaz
The pretty resort of La Clusaz embraces Christmas like no other, hosting a week-long festival called Les Pestacles du Père Noël. Under an enchanting display of Christmas lights, the event includes games, street entertainment, story-telling and concerts, and on Christmas Eve a procession of Father Christmases skis into the village by torchlight before a fantastic fireworks display takes place. has properties in La Clusaz from €142,590.

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