French Alps - year-round magic

Year-round holiday homes in the French Alps have special appeal for British buyers

The popularity of Samo�ns, one of the most picturesque traditional market towns in the French Alps, means that MGM French Properties has sold all but 18 of the 70 apartments it is building at Les Chardons Argent�s, its sixth development in the town.

“Growing numbers of Britons are opting for properties in locations like Samo�ns, where they can pursue a lifestyle which enables them to integrate with local people while enjoying good skiing as well as a huge variety of other activities throughout the year,” reports Richard Deans who heads the company’s London-based UK sales office.

In addition to skiing, they include dog sledging, raquette trekking, and climbing frozen waterfalls. In the summer they include rock climbing, archery, paragliding, white water rafting, horse riding, walking, cycling and fishing.

“For British buyers, a special appeal of Samo�ns is the fact that it is only one hour from Geneva Airport by road, making it ‘four hours door-to-door’ from London,” says Richard. “Furthermore, the prices of the MGM apartments for sale in the town can be around 25% lower than those for comparable properties in big name resorts like Tignes and Chamonix.”

Les Chardons Argent�s comprises nine traditionally-styled chalets together containing 70 apartments ranging in size from 43 sq m one-bedroom properties to four-bedroom, two-bathroom duplexes of 110 sq m. All come with underground parking and storage space.

The apartments feature modern interiors and spacious accommodation. Externally they are finished in timber and stone, continuing a local tradition spanning hundreds of years.

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Available for outright purchase – not leaseback – and incorporating an indoor pool for use by residents, the apartments are within walking distance of the shops, caf�s and restaurants in the centre of Samo�ns. Nearby is a cable car providing access to the ski slopes.

In the archetypal French Alpine town of Samo�ns, the focus is on its central square – largely unchanged since the Middle Ages – with its church, fountain and the 16th-century grain market rebuilt in the 19th century. The ruins of its ancient castle can still be seen close to the square.

The oldest witness of life in the town is the 570-year-old Linden tree which dominates the square.

In evidence throughout Samo�ns is the work of its stonemasons whose skills were in demand throughout Europe and as far afield as America in the seventeenth century. A mason carving a dolphin is depicted in an old wall painting on a building just off the square

Every two years Samo�ns hosts a gathering of stonemasons whose works can be seen on display throughout the town.

The nave of the church in Samo�ns – the tallest building in the town – was built by its stonemasons in the 16th century. Notable, in addition to its striking stained glass windows, is its font carved from polished limestone, known locally as “the black marble of the Alps”.

Close to the church is the entrance to a botanical garden which attracts summer visitors.

A clue to the location of Samo�ns is in its name, a derivation of the French words for seven mountains. Located within the Grand Massif area, Samo�ns in winter is at the heart of the third biggest ski area in the French Alps, offering great skiing for families as well as experienced skiers. This Haute-Savoie area between Geneva and Chamonix boasts 265km of slopes at altitudes of up to 2,500 metres. As many of the major slopes are north-facing, they retain their snow for longer periods than many other resorts.

The prices of the apartments still available at Les Chardons Argent�s start at €251,000 for a one-bedroom property rising to €476,000 for a 90 sq m three-bedroom duplex. For more information about the properties available from MGM in Samo�ns and elsewhere in the French Alps, contact the company’s UK office at Kingsland House, 122 - 124 Regent Street, London W1B 5SA, telephone 0207 4940706, email london@mgm-immobilier.fr or visit the website www.mgmfrenchproperties.com