Alpine holiday home builder steps up construction as French Alps prove summer hit


French alpine holiday home builder steps up construction in response to growing popularity of summer in the mountains. ADVERTISING FEATURE

Did you know??

Top ski resort’s summer visitor numbers up by more than a third

?The variety of summer activities on offer is bigger than ever

?All-terrain wheelchairs improve access for disabled visitors

The leading developer of holiday homes in the French Alps – hitherto regarded by many Britons solely as a winter sports holiday destination – is stepping up construction in a bid to keep pace with the growing demand for accommodation in the summer months when temperatures can top 40°C.

Most of the new properties being sold by MGM French Properties are being snapped up by private individuals and families seeking year-round holiday homes which they can also use to produce a modest income when rented by visitors in areas where more tourist accommodation is needed.

Among mountain villages and resorts which have seen a significant increase in the variety of summer facilities on offer include Châtel, Flaine, Valmorel, Samoëns, Tignes and Val Cenis. Hiking, biking and climbing remain popular but the variety of other activities on offer in the region is bigger than ever before.

Fishing enthusiasts are among those attracted to the picturesque family-friendly village of Châtel on the French-Swiss border, just 90 minutes by road from Geneva Airport. In the nearby Abondance valley are more than 85 km of streams and rivers where, between March and October, they catch the wild fario or Mediterranean trout which has adapted to mountain waters.

Châtel has introduced a Famille Plus card giving access to family adventures. Typical is exploration of the village and surrounding hamlets on a little train before taking a pedestrian chair lift up the mountain to walk though dramatic mountain scenery and then returning to the village for a round of mini-golf or to swim in the Forme d’O aquatic centre.

The number of summer visitors to fully-pedestrianised family-friendly Flaine – one hour by road from Geneva Airport or a six-hour drive from Calais – has grown steadily in recent years. It is expected to top 30,000 this summer.

At the heart of the resort is an open-air sculpture museum. Works on display – owned by the Pompidou Centre in Paris – include La Tête de Femme by Pablo Picasso. Flaine’s Art Centre is popular year-round for art shows and exhibitions by cartoonists and photographers. The Music Academy attracts international performers.

New activities offered free of charge with this year’s Flaine summer pass include a forest adventure park, comprising a route through trees on rope bridges and Tarzan swings, as well as accro-bungee with elastics on a trampoline to assist acrobatics.

Tennis, archery and fitness classes take place throughout the summer. White water rafting is available nearby. For some preferring a more relaxed pace, pony trekking appeals.

At an altitude of 1,900 metres, the nearby Pierre Carrée 18-hole golf course has panoramic mountain views from every tee.

Occupying a dramatically beautiful mountain location within the Grand Domaine area and a two-hour drive from the airports at either Lyon or Geneva, is Valmorel. Designed in a traditional Tyrolean style and popular for holidays all year round, it is a purpose-built family-friendly pedestrianised village with panoramic valley and mountain views.

In summer, quad-biking, downhill scooting and dog-walking are among popular activities.

Disabled visitors are specially welcome in picturesque Samoëns, an archetypal French Alpine market town where all-terrain wheelchairs, all-terrain tandems, single-wheeled all-terrain chairs, trial paragliding flights and riding help to make accessibility available to many who would have been unable to enjoy them previously.

Kayaking and river boarding also can be enjoyed in Samoëns.

Underlining the growing popularity of the French Alps in summer is Tignes – one of the region’s top ski resorts – where the number of summer visitors has increased by more than a third in the past six years.

During the summer in Tignes it is possible to ski and play a round of golf the same day. The ski slope on the Grand Motte Glacier is only a seven-minute funicular ride from the centre of the resort. Also nearby is an 18-hole lakeside golf course, the highest in Europe.

The Sportignes Card available in Tignes is a passport to enjoyment of more than 20 other sporting activities in the resort.

For more unusual summer fun, Val Cenis – close to the Italian border in the Haute-Maurienne region and 90 minutes by road from Chambery Airport or a 595 mile drive from Calais – offers experiences ranging from deep diving in a high mountain lake and walking with pack donkeys to opportunities to experience life as an alpine farmer.

? MGM has brand new year-round holiday homes for sale in Chatel, Flaine, Valmorel, Samoens, Tignes and Val Cenis at prices starting at €179,000. For details call MGM’s UK office in London’s West End on 0207 4940706, email [email protected] or visit

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