Travel Tuesday: French ski resorts – Part 1

Travel Tuesday: French ski resorts – Part 1The number and quality of the ski resorts in France have helped to preserve its reputation as one of the finest countries in the world for snowsports. Although recent years have seen a range of economy resorts spring up around Europe, the slopes in France justify their admittedly steeper price tag by offering unmatched variety for skiers of all ages and abilities. There are simply too many spectacular resorts to include them all in just one article, so in the first of this two-part series on skiing in France, we’re focussing solely on Les Trois Vallées: the largest ski area in the world and one of the most famous destinations in France.

France’s reputation for variety can be validated just by looking at Courchevel – known for its glamorous guests and air of exclusivity; the resort nevertheless remains an ideal place to teach children how to ski. The towns and villages here are named for their altitude – albeit slightly inaccurately – with 1850 the highest and probably best-known area. Properties here have effortlessly weathered the recession, with value and demand remaining high even at the peak of the problems. Investors with second homes in this desirable resort will be able to explore 150km of pistes, ranging from safe ‘ZEN’ areas for complete beginners to challenging black runs for experts. In a resort that boasts two of France’s eight six-star hotels, you’d expect excellent après ski – and you won’t be disappointed by the gourmet restaurants and luxurious bars that help to attract the European elite each season.

Known for its thriving après ski scene, this is primarily a destination designed for groups of adults ready to party. Families may be better off elsewhere, but for those of a suitable age Méribel is a true playground of spectacular slopes, the best trail park in the area, endless kilometres of cross-country trails and first-rate bars and clubs. If you’re in need of a break, you can relax in one of the spas or simply enjoy a delicious meal of raclette or fondue at a mountaintop restaurant, before heading out for another afternoon on the slopes followed by an all-night party. It’s exhausting, but absolutely worth it.

Val Thorens
The highest resort in Europe, Val Thorens sits at 2.3km above sea level. It’s the sort of resort you ideally need more than a week to explore, with 600km of slopes and ski lifts that connect to both Courchevel and Méribel. The breathtakingly beautiful mountain ridges that surround the valley provide a dramatic backdrop to the excellent red and blue runs – Cime Caron has the longest descent in the resort, making it essential skiing for more confident visitors.

Thanks to a reliable and healthy property market and the obvious benefits of a second home in Les Trois Vallées, investing in an Alpine ski chalet could be the ideal addition to your property portfolio. Engel & Völkers have years of experience in guiding clients to the right home for them, combining local expertise with an international reach to ensure that buyers from all over the world receive the same exceptional level of service. For more information, just visit the Engel & Völkers website.