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Driving to the slopes

Posted on 13 February 2017

If you’re in the process of scouring the Alps property market for your very own ski home, have you considered how you’ll travel there once you have the keys? On the face of it choosing whether to drive or fly 1000 kilometres to your new pad is a no brainer. Hopping on a short flight from the UK means you can leave early in the morning and be on the slopes by lunchtime.

Wave goodbye to baggage restrictions

But things are about to change. Gone will be the days where you stay in a rented chalet, so there’s every chance you’ll want to make the most of your precious time in your new home by taking more possessions with you. To do so you won’t want to be limited by those good old budget airline baggage retractions that certainly don’t allow for the multiple layers of ski attire, cumbersome equipment  and creature comforts you’ll need to pack. The best way to do this is to load up the boot of your car, buy a roof box, top up on antifreeze and hit the road.

If you’re ready to buy a ski property in France, click here to download the FREE guide to buying a home in France

Road trip

Driving through France is suddenly starting to sound more appealing and the benefits don’t end there. France is a much larger than the UK but with a similar population, meaning the roads are considerably quieter than back home – there’s every chance that a day driving through France will be easier than an hour on the M1. France’s geographical diversity will take you on a spectacular drive through its changing landscape, allowing you to take in stunning alpine views at your leisure as you wind your way through the snowy mountain passes. Plus you’ll be able to use your car to get around once you arrive.

Logistics

With an average journey time of 10/12 hours from the south-east of England, the Alps are easily accessible via an excellent network of motorways and by far the most flexible way to travel. This includes your trip over or under the English Channel to Calais, on a quick car ferry from Dover or Eurotunnel Le Shuttle from Folkestone. If you live further north you might prefer to opt for a North Sea crossing, to avoid the schlep south on the UK roads. Arguments over directions and failing to realise you’re holding the map the wrong way round are a thing of the past thanks to satellite navigation systems.

Don’t forget

To ensure your road trip is more Top Gear than Gumball Rally, here’s a quick checklist of key considerations before you embark on your journey:

  • Some motorways in France charge a toll fare. The only way to avoid them is to plan a much slower, more leisurely itinerary on D-roads
  • Check your existing insurance policy is valid for driving in Europe
  • Some UK breakdown policies also include cover in Europe, if not, it’s advisable to take one out – especially in winter
  • Buy snow chains. It’s not necessarily the letter of the law to use them on French roads, but if the mountain access roads are particularly snowy there is a good chance you’ll be forced to put them on by the gendarmerie, or be turned back.
  • It’s illegal to drive in France  with a satnav that shows the location of speed cameras
  • It’s now compulsory to carry a warning triangle, high vis vest and a breathalyser kit in your car when travelling in France
  • Choose your music wisely or arguments will ensue

For a step-by-step guide to buying a property in France, download the France Buying Guide by clicking here.

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