Written by Beth Nicholson,
Last Modified: 9th November 2022

Love winter sports but can’t quite afford a ski chalet in the likes of Courchevel or Meribel? Then why not choose a country home in a more affordable location, that’s just a couple hours’ drive to the slopes? Here are some options for French country homes with skiing nearby.

For those who love winter sports, relocating to a new French country home can offer the ideal opportunity to be nearer to their favourite ski resorts. So, why not combine the best of both worlds? By looking for that dream property within a rural location, but also easy reach of your favourite winter holiday destination.

From the most expert and adept skiers to the total novice, France offers some of the world’s best skiing. And is rightly proud of it, as it’s one of Europe’s favourite destinations for winter sports holidays. While some ski resorts are at an altitude to be snow laden year-round, others offer spectacular countryside vistas once the last of the snow has melted. So, what better place to search for your ideal perfect French country home. Within easy reach of your favourite resort?

La Toussuire, Les Alpes, France

The Alps

The Alps in France offers the broadest range of resorts. Bordering Switzerland and Italy. Due to the altitude, it provides the highest guarantee of favourable snow conditions. From the start of December until the end of April (sometimes longer, dependent on weather conditions) people flock to the Alps to get their winter sports holiday fix.

Europe’s greatest mountain range reach their peak on the French Italian border in the form of the magnificent, year-round snow topped Mont Blanc. Sitting at an impressive and imposing 4,810 metres above sea level. Popular for sports such as skiing, snowboarding, trail running, hiking and of course, climbing.

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Surrounding the Alps

Within easy reach of the Alps is a popular place for expats to relocate. Many choose to establish their new French country home here. Properties within and around beautiful towns like Annecy, with its glorious lake, and the nearby spa town of Aix-Les-Bains are highly sought after. Both have good road links and Aix is also directly accessible by train. Making it easy to travel both to and from.

Autumn in La Clusaz village, French Alps

If you’re looking to live in the heart of a place offering snow during the winter and surroundings reminiscent of “The Sound of Music” during the summer, then look no further than La Clusaz. Situated 27km east of Annecy, at the foot of the Aravis massif and the Aravis pass. Its status as a ski resort was formally established in 1955 with the construction of a cable car from the village. Which allowed the development of shops, hotels and restaurants. Well and truly establishing the commune’s tourist status.  Be warned though, that traffic in this small village in winter can be frustrating.

For those looking for a French country home within easy reach of a large vibrant town as well as easy access to the Alps, the countryside around Grenoble offers wonderful opportunities for property. A beautiful and historic university town, full of life and activity. Grenoble’s heart is focused on a magnificent bar and restaurant-lined Quay. The city has fast become one of Europe’s most research, technology and innovation centres. Offering a wealth of employment opportunities within these arenas.

Pricing in the region

Property prices are understandably at a premium within reach of the Alps. In Annecy average house prices reach around 6790€ per m2. With Aix-Les-Bains slightly more affordable at 4534 € per m2, and the surrounds of Grenoble much better value at approximately 3852€ per m2.

Buying in France - The Oriege river in Ax-les-Thermes - France, Midi-Pyrenees

The Oriege river in Ax-les-Thermes – France, Midi-Pyrenees

Pyrenees

Skiing in the Pyrenees is deemed one of France’s best kept secrets. Stretching over 270 miles from the Atlantic coast in the west to the Mediterranean coast in the east, and bordering Spain. Hugely popular with the French, due to the lower volume of crowds, it offers spectacular scenery, immaculately manicured pistes. It also offers great value for money.

The largest ski resort here is the Domaine du Tourmalet (or Barèges-La Mongie) located in the Hautes-Pyrénées, south of Lourdes. During the height of summer, the only snow in the Pyrenees is the ice on the glaciers. This area is hugely popular with walkers, ramblers and nature lovers.

Aerial view of Pau, Pyrenees Atlantiques

Surrounding the Pyrenees

Situated 25km from the Pyrenees, sits the commune of Pau. Popular with expats searching for that dream French country home, the panorama of the mountain range, particularly from the Boulevard des Pyrenees, is truly something to behold. Pau is renowned for its wet, mild winters, with warm, mild drier summers. Its proximity to Spain is perhaps another contributing factor to its popularity.

Quillan is also a popular spot for expats looking to relocate. Very easy to see why. This commune, situated in the Aude department of Southern France is located in the foothills of the Pyrenees. On the road between Carcassonne and Perpignan. With vineyards and fields of sunflowers stretching for miles and snowcapped peaks visible in the distance, this is a view many could quickly become accustomed to. With ski resorts, as well as the beaches of the Mediterranean no more than an hour away is potentially the best of all possible worlds. Blessed with the historic city of Carcassonne a 45-minute drive away, a French country home situated here offers you the luxury of activities to suit anyone’s tastes, within reasonably easy reach from all sides.

Pricing in the region

Prices for houses in Pau come in at a very reasonable 2538€ m2. And Quillan offers even more value for money averaging house prices at 1540 € per m2.

Panoramic landscape of volcanic mountains (view from Puy de Sancy, Massif Central, France)

Massif Central

The volcanic area of the Massif Central is immense, covering around 15% of the whole of France. There are approximately 450 extinct volcanoes in the area and the scenery is absolutely breathtaking. Part of this mountain range is within the Auvergne, where some of the most remote and spectacular countryside within France can be found.

The peak culminates at Puy de Sancy at 1,885 metres. The main resorts in this area are Chastreix-Sancy, the Roman thermal spa town of Mont Dore and Super Besse.

Surrounding the Massif Central

The massif central is surrounded by a series of natural Parks. One is spoilt for choice on locationswithin which to find the perfect French country home within a peaceful rural location here. The stunning countryside of the Ardeche is renowned for its tranquillity and is a relatively sparsely populated department. With 71% of inhabitants having been recorded in 2015 as living in communes with less than 3,500 inhabitants. So, you can be sure to find your own piece of heaven here.

Viviers, Ardeche region

Puy-de-Dôme is one of the original 83 departments within this region created during the French Revolution on 4 March 1790. The countryside of this department naturally lends itself to tourism. Acting as a popular weekend getaway destination for French city-dwellers. With 464 communes within this area of natural beauty, there are opportunities galore here to bag yourself the perfect French country home.

Property in the Ardeche averages around 2111 € per m2. While prices in Puy-de-Dôme sit at around 1865 € per m2. Making this area perhaps the most affordable place with the largest area of potential possibility to find that dream home within reach of those snowy peaks.

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So, if you’ve always been a fan of jetting off in search of snow in the winter, perhaps your relocation is offering you that perfect opportunity. To find that idyllic French country home, surrounded by spectacular countryside and views, but within an easy journey to your happy holiday place.

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