Châtel

Thanks to recent investment, Chatel is a resort that is fast realising its potential as one of the most charming, well-positioned villages in the world’s largest interconnected ski area.  Located within an hour and a half of Geneva and set at 1,200 metres, it offers access to 2 different sets of slopes, linked to Avoriaz on the French side and Morgin in Switzerland. With 1,300 residents and a spacious lay-out, picturesque Chatel has the air of one of the most relaxed resorts in the Alps.

Recent innovations for the 2016 season saw the opening of a sleek new aquatic centre, combining an in-door and out-door pools with a kids area, sauna, hamman, gym and treatment rooms, and placing Chatel on a level with leading resorts in the French Alps.  The season also saw the launch of two new lift systems, opening up a new blue run and enabling skiers to access the French slopes without having to pass through Switzerland.  This minimises the need for cars and buses and is set to have an impact on outlying property.

Despite these upgrades, Chatel remains a vibrant rural resort at heart, with over 30 working farms dotted around the vicinity.  The result is a lovely local culture, where a strong selection of locally-grown produce can be sampled at the town’s numerous, traditional restaurants.  Come summer, weekly tastings are held at nearby farms.  The summer months also see an influx of fishing enthusiasts and avid hikers, while roebucks are often spotted running through the hills. In the winter, activities include international ski-cross event Le Grand Prix de Châtel, and multiple options for snow-shoeing.

The experts say

This is quite a French resort, so don’t expect locals to speak perfect English. Make the most of the opportunity to brush up your French during the holidays!

The property market in Châtel

Chatel's local chalet architecture is unique to the Abondance Valley, with gently sloping roofs and house and stable conversions. Some of the ski chalets in the region are over 300 years old. Close attention to the preservation of the natural surroundings can be felt in the fact electricity and telephone cables have been hidden underground. Yet despite its many advantages, property for sale in Chatel remains well-priced. Average prices for the best new build property in Chatel range between €6500 to €8500 per m2, which is very low for a mainstream ski area in the French Alps. In comparison, Méribel can cost between €12,000 to €20,0000, while property in Val d’Isère can reach €24,000 per square metre for ski-in ski-out properties. The neighbouring resort of Les Gets commands circa €8000/€9000+ per m2 for well-located, good quality new-builds, while property for sale in Morzine is even higher, reaching €10,000 per m2.  New build properties here are almost impossible to find. Even though property in these resorts has appreciated sharply in recent years, Chatel has remained something of a secret. With the new infrastructure investment and a select number of new build apartment and chalet opportunities now available, we expect Chatel prices to be increasing to Les Gets level within the next 5 years.

How to Get There

By Train

While it's possible to travel to Chatel by rail, in practise most people fly to Geneva and take a transfer by road. Aigle on the Swiss side is the closest station, located 36 minutes from Chatel with direct trains into Geneva and a variety of transfer services. Alternatively, Thonon on the French side offers a bus transfer to the resort.

By Air

Most people travelling to Châtel by air will fly into Geneva Airport, which is just 1hr 20 minutes from the resort. There are lots of shuttle and taxi services available, just be sure to prebook well in advance during the busier periods.

Three insiders tips for Châtel

GET - a stack of ribs at Le Chesery, a small unpretentious restaurant that specialises in ribs.
DO - happy hour at the hotel of the Lion d’Or. It has a fantastic atmosphere, while the cocktails are a wlecome way to unwind after long days of skiing.
SEE - the farms in the village and speak with the locals. Every Tuesday in the summer, Barbossine farm offers tasting of its produce while the owners share tales on their farming.

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