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If you’re looking for a holiday home with a bit more va-va-voom, the French Alps are about the most exciting option on the planet for four-season thrill-seeking.
Did you know that Chamonix in France now attracts as many tourists in the summer as it does in the winter months?
More than 12 million tourists visited the Alps last year, a million more than in 2014. Anyone who ventured to the French Alps for their summer holiday this year, perhaps to a second home, will know that these days Europe’s most famous mountain range not only offers the best skiing in the world, but plenty for thrill-seekers and nature lovers in the warmer months too.
Besides the healthy environment, fantastic views and culture, the Alps offers a huge range of outdoor activities, all year
The Alps offers a variety of summertime attractions, as our new Prime Minister Theresa May, who spent her summer vacation just over the border in the Swiss Alps, could attest. Besides the healthy environment, fantastic views, sightseeing and culture on offer, there is a huge range of outdoor activities you can take part in. Many resorts that previously focused primarily on the winter season are improving their facilities to appeal to visitors year-round, building better leisure facilities, such as swimming pools and health and fitness centres, including spas.
This is all great news for anyone thinking of investing in a home in the Alps, especially if the plan is to rent it out – buy wisely and you can expect rental income in the summer months as well as the winter months. Here are five summer activities that might tempt you to consider an Alpine home, and places where you can do them.
That the world’s most famous cycle race, the Tour de France, passes through the French Alps each year is testament to the area’s appeal to cyclists, both those on road bikes and those that prefer mountain-biking. The Portes du Soleil area, which straddles France and Switzerland, is famed for both types of cycling. There, the resort of Châtel boasts 15 chairlifts able to accommodate mountain bikes in the summer and offers 600 kilometres of tracks, 19 trails and a bike park.
The Savoie and Haute Savoie départements form one of Europe’s most picturesque destinations to play a round of golf. There are a surprising number of courses to choose from too, including Chamonix, Avoriaz, Megève, Tignes (the highest course in Europe), Les Arcs and Courchevel. The family oriented resort of Les Gets, in the Portes du Soleil area, has an especially scenic 18-hole course.
Many Alpine resorts have public tennis facilities but serious followers of the game will know that Courchevel, with its own club, is an international tennis hub, hosting professional tournaments. Flaine, part of the Grand Massif, is another popular resort with facilities a cut above the average, which are used for tennis camps during the summer.
Buy wisely and you can expect rental income in the summer months as well as the winter months.
The Chamonix Valley, in the shadow of Mont Blanc, is a favourite destination of paragliders from around the world. It’s a good place for beginners as well as experienced flyers, thanks to the selection of flying schools and range of high and low altitude take-off and landing points.
Rafting and canyoning
Canyoning – navigating rivers and gullies in a wetsuit – and rafting are two of the most exhilarating ways to experience the natural beauty of the French Alps. There are some fantastic rivers in the Haute Savoie suitable for both activities, including L’Isère, the source of which is near the similarly named Val d’Isère, and the Dranse, which is only 30 minutes from the Châtel ski resort.