French prop­erty dreams

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In the lap of lux­ury in Méri­bel

To­day’s lux­ury chalet mar­ket is big­ger, bolder and more ir­re­sistible than ever, and if you have big bucks to spend and long trails to carve, the only hard­ship you face is de­cid­ing which beau­ti­ful moun­tain re­treat to call home.

For most peo­ple, lo­ca­tion is key – and to have the com­bi­na­tion of a tra­di­tional Alpine vil­lage and ac­cess to hun­dreds of kilo­me­tres of gleam­ing snowy ter­rain is their ul­ti­mate goal. One re­sort that fits this bill plus a lot more be­sides is Méri­bel.

A méri old time There are plenty of rea­sons to love this Alpine re­sort, not least for its pretty, chalet-style ar­chi­tec­ture, wooded sur­round­ings and friendly, vil­lage at­mos­phere. But the prime rea­son is its cen­tral po­si­tion within the Trois Val­lées, one of the world’s largest linked ski ar­eas of­fer­ing over 600km of pistes.

Founded by Bri­tish skier Pe­ter Lind­say in 1938, Méri­bel has al­ways been pop­u­lar with Brits and its shel­tered set­ting means its runs lead­ing into the re­sort are pro­tected by the steep-sided moun­tains and en­joy more set­tled weather con­di­tions than in the ad­ja­cent broader val­leys.

Feed­ing into Méri­bel by shut­tle bus and gon­dola are three lower out­ly­ing re­sorts, one of which is the ‘orig­i­nal’ vil­lage of Les Al­lues at 1,200m, where this spec­tac­u­lar chalet is sit­u­ated. The Olympic gon­dola sta­tion is only a kilo­me­tre away from the chalet, con­nect­ing skiers di­rectly with the main ski area.

On the mar­ket for a cool €4,500,000, Chalet Ap­sara is a brand-new res­i­dence ar­ranged across three floors – one a mez­za­nine – with a to­tal of 390m2 of liv­ing space. De­signed in tra­di­tional Alpine style, it re­tains the rus­tic el­e­ments ex­pected of a chalet with­out skimp­ing on mod­ern ac­cou­trements: state-ofthe-art light­ing, a flat-screen TV and un­der­floor heat­ing from geo­ther­mal en­ergy ex­tracted from rocks be­neath the chalet to name just a few.

Eight peo­ple can be ac­com­mo­dated in supreme com­fort in four dou­ble bed­rooms, each with its own sump­tu­ous bath­room equipped with basins and WCS by French de­signer Philippe Starck. All four rooms over­look the spa­cious ter­race and bal­cony, soak­ing up the sun­shine and breath­tak­ing panoramic views of the Tarentaise val­ley.

The chalet’s kitchen con­tains the lat­est Kitchenaid ap­pli­ances and walls are fin­ished in an at­trac­tive mix of old tim­ber and stucco, with floor­ing in gran­ite tiles and grey par­quet. It goes with­out say­ing, of course, that the chalet in­cor­po­rates fit­ness and steam rooms and a jacuzzi on the up­per level, plus a ski store with boot heater down­stairs (nat­u­rally).

“Chalet Ap­sara is with­out doubt very spe­cial,” com­ments Richard Deans of MGM French Prop­er­ties, the agency that built and is mar­ket­ing the prop­erty. “Its in­te­ri­ors are stun­ning. I par­tic­u­larly love the open-plan liv­ing space – the fire­place is a real beauty and I can pic­ture my fam­ily snug­gling in front of it af­ter a day on the slopes.”

Open sea­son But Chalet Ap­sara isn’t just a place for eas­ing off the ski boots. Méri­bel is as pop­u­lar in July as in Jan­uary, with op­por­tu­ni­ties for hik­ing, bik­ing, ca­noe­ing, paraglid­ing and golf.

This not only means you could en­joy a con­trast­ing Alpine ex­pe­ri­ence in the sum­mer months your­self, but also a suc­cess­ful rental re­turn for this pe­riod should you de­cide to let the chalet out.

The après-ski is lively here too, with var­i­ous piste-side bars as well as places in town for pre-din­ner drinks or live mu­sic, and there are res­tau­rants cater­ing to all bud­gets both on and off the slopes. Get­ting to Méri­bel is straight­for­ward, either from the air­port at Cham­béry (96km) or Geneva (136km) by bus or train. The near­est train sta­tion is at Moûtiers, 18km from the re­sort.

MGM French Prop­er­ties Tel: 020 7494 0706 mgm­french­prop­er­

Once au­tumn rain has given way to win­ter snow and sparkling slopes, could your French prop­erty dream be any­thing other than a chalet in the Alps? Rachel John­ston ar­gues not Chalet Ap­sara isn’t just a place for eas­ing off the ski boots. Méri­bel is as pop­u­lar in July as in Jan­uary, with op­por­tu­ni­ties for hik­ing, bik­ing, ca­noe­ing, paraglid­ing and golf

Lap of lux­ury: liv­ing it up in mag­i­cal Méri­bel

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