Posted on 07 March 2022
Step aside Paris, because there have been more enquiries over the last three years about the best places to live in the French Alps. One reason was COVID. Global real estate markets changed as buyers turned to more remote locations, and with more people working from home, they can choose anywhere they want. Of course, the French Alps attract those who want to be outdoors, regardless of sport or skiing enthusiasts. In certain places, small pockets of expats have integrated into village communities and enjoy stunning landscapes, French alps culture, and different lifestyles, with much more time and beauty.
As more resorts turn themselves into year-round locations, foreigners also have more choices of towns and villages. However, some places still specialise in specific niches. For example, Courchevel promotes upmarket living, whereas others specialise in après ski or family-friendly environments. So, let us look at the best places to live in the Alps and the reasons why these towns and resorts rank throughout Europe.
Best Places to Live in the French Alps
1: Scenery in Annecy
Annecy’s nickname, “Venice of the French alps”, sums it all up in four words. Easily luring in couples, this town on the border with Switzerland offers stunning landscapes views of lakes, canals, and alpine peaks. So naturally, outdoor travel is extensive, and thanks to the lack of land available for building, it maintains a vibrant yet small population. With 40% green spaces, Annecy keeps French alpine ambiences and maintains its traditional roots despite being popular in Europe’s tourism scene. If food is your passion in life, look at Annecy because there are many restaurants.
2: Head to Pretty Chamonix
Sitting at the bottom of the Mont Blanc Mountains of France, foreigners can easily access Chamonix within 1 hour from Geneva airport, making this great for people who still need to maintain roots in their home country. With much tourism in summer, from people who flock for outdoor activities, its popularity rose for expat experiences in the French Alps.
Potential residents would do well to consider Chamonix by separating into various districts like Cham sud, Les Praz, La Flegere, le tour, and Argentiere. When living in Chamonix, expect everything on your doorsteps, including traditional French alpine shops, as well as decent nightlife scenes. (Read a Local Guide to Chamonix.)
3: Meribel Ski Resort
Many people own apartments and chalets in Meribel either for investment or winter holidays in the French Alps. Still, like Chamonix, Meribel attracts people who dream of enjoying mountains and Mother Nature at her best. Meribel brings everyone out for weekly street markets with stalls selling everything, including traditional alpine cheese and food. In addition, residents are proud of Meribel because the town kept its roots and local architecture promotes those alpine, chocolate box-like houses.
4: Excellent Grenoble in the French Alps
Grenoble is an excellent place to live if you want to be in the heart of city action. Surrounded by the Le Vercors, Belledonne, and La Chartreuse Massifs peaks, there is a large student population, but Grenoble also does well to attract artisans looking for inspiration. If arts, culture, and history are what you seek, you will feel right at home in Grenoble. Additionally, this French Alps city has its airport and connects to other countryside places through an impressive transport network. As an official city, don’t expect fast-paced urban lifestyles that engulf otherworldly cities because Grenoble sits in a league of its own.
5: Great Outdoors and Places in Tignes
As well as attracting skiers to France, Tignes does well to lure in snowboarders, even outside of winter, because high altitudes ensure decent snow coverage. Furthermore, Tignes does exceptionally well in summer alpine activities outside of snow, making this perfect in France for those who want to spend every day outdoors. Altogether, Tignes breaks down into five villages, including Le Lac, Le Lavachet and Val Claret at 2100 metres, and Les Brévières and Les Boisses further down the valley. Read about all the villages of Tignes here.
6: The Best of Neighbouring Val d’Isère
Val d’Isère attracts foreigners because the town has invested millions into infrastructure and aesthetics in recent years. This makes the town a forward-thinking cultural gem of France with charm and even more critical if you plan to buy property because of capital appreciation potential. Despite high altitudes, the town attracts many skiers, and since Val d’Isère sits next door to Tignes, homeowners have the best of both worlds. Both Tignes and Val d’Isère tap into Espace Killy ski area, one of the world’s best runs and infrastructure.
7: Famous Samoens
As another town in France with a large expat population, prices have risen considerably over ten years, putting Samoens out of reach for budget buyers in the French Alps but perfect for those who can afford it. Often called one of France’s most beautiful towns, the name means seven mountains, and Samoens carries the French family-friendly title. Belonging to France’s grand massif domain, the town sits just an hour’s drive from Geneva, and old traditional houses, built from stone are a pleasant surprise. With a pedestrian-only, car-free town centre, expect everything that an upmarket destination should offer, and more.
8: Opportunity in Morzine
Delightful Morzine belongs to France’s Portes du Soleil area and is easily accessed by a unique infrastructure system of lifts and cable cars. As a leading town, especially for British expats, Morzine still keeps traditional alpine ambiences, making the town one of the French Alp’s most popular towns for living and holidays. Sitting at an altitude of 1000 metres in the northern French Alps, residents wake up to stunning landscape views and an impressive collection of bars, restaurants, and shops.
9: Wonderful Les Gets of the French Alps
Sitting an hour away from Geneva airport in France, Les Gets, another town in France with a healthy foreign population, is simply adorable. In the Haute-Savoie region of South-East France, Les Gets taps into the western side of the Portes du Soleil ski area. Offering beautiful Mont Blanc region views, green valleys from spring to autumn, and splattering of snow in winter, expect typical Savoyard ambiences since Les Gets perfectly twinned benefits of modern living with traditional cultural heritage. In addition, there are designated children’s areas for beginner skiers as a family-friendly region and sitting near popular Morzine.
Also, About the French Alps
Is a Ski Chalet a Good Investment? Sometimes, clients ask us if a ski chalet is a good investment. Wise buyers wish it to pay eventually and, in most cases, make passive money streams or cover expenses from renting. So, we put together this article which discusses the benefits of owning, tips for buying, and rental investment markets.
About Us: Our ongoing commitment to our clients includes advice on where and how to buy property in France. If you have any more questions, contact us today and speak with a local agent. Otherwise, browse our portfolio of apartments and chalets for sale, and use the contact details to find out more or arrange property viewings of the best places to live in the French Alps.