If your passion is the mountains – skiing in winter, hiking in summer and taking part in the many outdoor activities on offer – you’ll probably gravitate towards the Alps. After all, that’s where you’ll find Europe’s highest mountain (Mont Blanc), the most famous resorts (Chamonix, Morzine, Les Gets, Courchevel, Tignes, Meribel, Val d’isère, Val Thorens…), the most challenging pistes and the world’s largest linked ski area (Les Trois Vallées). But property prices are also high – a whopping €345,500 average in the Haute-savoie department!
The Alps are not the only mountain playground in France, however. The Pyrénées, Massif Central, Jura and Vosges ranges all offer laidback, family-friendly resorts, where the welcome is warm and the property prices are welcoming.
With an average house price of €129,000, the department of Hautes-pyrénées is home to the ski resorts of St-lary-soulan, Cauterets, Barèges, Luz-stSauveur and multiple smaller places. These villages may not be world-famous, but they’re popular with French and Spanish skiers, who know they’ll get value for money. That includes ski passes and eating and drinking out as well as properties to buy and rent.
Moving to the heart of France and the Massif Central, you’ll find the ski resorts of Super-besse and Le Mont-dore in the Puy-de-dôme department (average €154,900), and Le Lioran in Cantal (€78,000 – less than a quarter of the Haute-savoie average!).
With an average price of €125,000, Jura is another option – ski resorts include Les Rousses and Métabief – while Vosges is even cheaper (€97,000), home to the resorts of Gérardmer and La Bresse Brabant. (You can find out more on the Vosges on p50.)
The Pyrénées, Massif Central, Jura and Vosges all offer laidback ski resorts, where the welcome is warm and the property prices are welcoming
An impressive view of the Pyrenean ski slopes at Barèges
Family-friendly resorts like Gérardmer are ideal for beginners