Alpe d'Huez

Guide to Buying Property in the French Alps

Key insights and knowledge on what to look for, and where to look, when buying property in the French Alps.

Buying a ski property in the French Alps is a fantastic lifestyle investment, a home away from home where you can make fond memories on and off the slopes during the ski season. Plus, with many resorts diversifying their summer offerings, the French Alps are becoming increasingly popular during the summer months too.


Superb skiing

The French Alps are home to some of the biggest and best ski domains in the world such as the Three Valleys which is the largest interconnected ski area on Earth with 600km of pistes distributed between eight resorts. It is here where you will find some of the most iconic ski resorts in the world such as Val d’Isère, Courchevel and Méribel, all of which have earned a place in CN Traveler’s 2019 Readers’ Choice Awards.

Beyond the slopes

Whilst skiing is the main draw, there is plenty to do off the slopes too from sampling mouthwatering dishes from the region’s constellation of Michelin-starred restaurants to treating yourself to some well-deserved rest and relaxation in one of the numerous mountain spas.

In addition, the summer months are becoming just as exciting as the ski season with plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy. From hiking and golf with a view to adrenaline-fuelled paragliding and mountain biking, there is something for everyone.

Investment potential

Whilst owning a ski property in the French Alps is often an emotional decision, it can also be a great way to generate income. With high occupancy rates in winter and growing occupancy rates in the summer, there is an opportunity to generate strong rental yields throughout the year. In addition, with resorts constantly improving their ski infrastructure and undergoing exciting waves of regeneration, such as the ambitious Le Coin project in Val d’Isère, there is strong potential for capital appreciation too.


Proximity to what matters most

As with buying a property anywhere, location is paramount. Once you have decided on your chosen ski resort in the French Alps, you will need to think about where your property is located within the resort. Ski-in ski-out properties in the French Alps can be more expensive, but they offer the ultimate convenience for skiers with the pistes literally on the doorstep and many offer great views over the slopes too.

It is also worth thinking about whether you want to be in a central location with all shops, restaurants and amenities right on the doorstep or if you would prefer something more intimate and don’t mind driving to amenities and services.

New build or resale?

When buying a home in the French Alps, there are two main types of property: new builds and resales. Which type is best is largely down to personal choice and each residence type has its own unique set of advantages.

Investment potential

Whilst owning a ski property in the French Alps is often an emotional decision, it can also be a great way to generate income. With high occupancy rates in winter and growing occupancy rates in the summer, there is an opportunity to generate strong rental yields throughout the year. In addition, with resorts constantly improving their ski infrastructure and undergoing exciting waves of regeneration, such as the ambitious Le Coin project in Val d’Isère, there is strong potential for capital appreciation too.

New-build properties in the French Alps

There are also some great financial incentives for purchasing a new-build property in the French Alps. For example, new-build properties benefit from lower notary fees of 2-2.5% as opposed to the fee of 7-8% which is applied to existing properties. If the future owner decides to rent out their property when not in use, they can also apply for VAT rebate which can reduce the property purchase price by 20%. We explore this in more detail further on.

New-build properties will typically have more modern comforts and will not have been lived in yet so will bear no signs of wear and tear or need any renovation work. Plus, new-build properties in France come with a guarantee.

Buying a property off-plan often gives the owner the opportunity to customise the property and make it their own. This can include choosing the finishes, altering the layout or adding additional extras such as a pool or a jacuzzi.

Resale properties in the French Alps

Though we do have a selection of already delivered new-build properties, such as Manali Lodge in Courchevel, ordinarily, you will need to wait for the new-build properties to be delivered whilst resale properties are ready right away if there is no onward chain. This can be a major selling point for those who want a ski property that they can enjoy or rent out straight away. In addition, as the property is already delivered, the future owner will have the opportunity to see it in person.

Though resale properties do have a higher notary fee in the region of 7-8%, existing properties are often more affordable than a similar brand-new one.

The ambience of the resort

Not only does each resort offer a different skiing experience but the ambience and après-ski culture vary from resort to resort. For those who are looking for somewhere with a lively après-ski scene with lots of bars, fine dining spots and music, resorts like Val d’Isère, Courchevel and Méribel Centre are likely to be right up your street. For those looking for something calm, consider a quaint hamlet like Levassaix in Saint-Martin-de-Belleville or Méribel Village.

Families should also look out for resorts which have been awarded the Famille Plus Montagne label. Having successfully met 110 criteria, these resorts have activities, infrastructure and services specifically geared towards families with children.

Infrastructure improvements – how much will your property be worth in 10 years?

As when purchasing any property, it is important to think about the value of your acquisition for the long-term. Take a look at our destination guides for each resort to discover what infrastructure improvements and developments are coming up in the near future. From new ski lifts opening up nearby to brand-new tourist facilities, all of these improvements can help your property increase in value.

The must-haves

From spacious chalets with private spas and even their own rock climbing wall to compact but practical ski studio apartments right on the slopes, the sheer variety of ski properties available can be overwhelming. To help make sense of it all, it is wise to make a list of what you specifically want in a property and what you are willing to compromise on. Think about the physical qualities of the property like the number of bedrooms as well as any extra comforts or services you need such as gym access, concierge service, a swimming pool or spa facilities.

Dual-season resorts: holiday home for the summer & maximise rental yields

With beautiful Alpine lakes, fantastic hikes, mountain biking and so much more, the French Alps are perfect for summer holidays too. When buying a property in the Alps, it is worth thinking about whether the resort is active during the summer too and what sort of activities it offers.

With occupancy rates reaching as high as 60% during the summer, owning a property in a dual-season resort not only means that you have a home to enjoy the mountains throughout the year, but it can also lead to good rental yields throughout the year, not only in the peak season.

Which developer?

When buying a property off-plan in the French Alps, it is really important that you take some time to research the developer of the project. Is this a one-off project for them or is this one of the many ski developments that they have created?

As well as making use of all of the CGIs and virtual tours available, if possible ask to see photos of previous examples of their work or see if they have a show property you can visit. This will help you get a feel for the quality of the finishes.

At Athena Advisers, we are very selective about whom we partner with, choosing trusted developers with a proven track record of success.








With so many resorts, each with a unique atmosphere and skiing experience, it is near impossible to find a single best ski resort. It’s all about finding the right ski resort for you. Below we have outlined some of our most popular ski resorts in the French Alps.


Around 90 minutes’ drive from Geneva in the vast Portes du Soleil ski domain, chocolate box Châtel is a quintessential French mountain village with preserved chalet-style architecture. Marrying rustic charm with access to one of the largest ski domains in the French Alps, property for sale in Châtel is increasingly sought-after.


Both upmarket and authentic, charming Les Gets is a family-friendly resort in Les Portes du Soleil. Active throughout the year, this dual-season resort is a major hub for mountain biking too. From the delightful village centre to the peaceful Perrières area, discover our selection of the very best properties for sale in Les Gets.


Set at 1,850m, Val d’Isère is one of the most iconic ski resorts in the French Alps, marrying superb skiing with a legendary après-ski scene. Though a mature resort, Val d’Isère is constantly growing and the older Le Coin area is set to undergo an exciting €200m regeneration programme. It is a really interesting time to invest in a property in Val d’Isère.


Part of the Three Valleys ski domain, Saint-Martin-de-Belleville is an authentic Savoyard village with charming architecture and fantastic restaurants. Active throughout the year and with an excellent array of hiking trails, buying a property in Saint-Martin-de-Belleville represents a fantastic lifestyle investment.


Located right in the heart of the Three Valleys ski domain, Méribel is famous for its extensive pistes, family-friendly atmosphere and sunny orientation. When exploring properties for sale in Méribel, it is important to remember that this resort is made up of several individual villages, each with a unique atmosphere and appeal.


Just under an hour’s drive from Geneva Airport, Megève is part of the Evasion Mont Blanc ski domain and is home to 89 restaurants, four of which have been awarded at least one Michelin star. With hiking trails and an 18-hole golf course in the summer, properties for sale in Megève are popular for those looking for a home away from home in an authentic dual-season resort.


From the glitz and glamour of 1850 through to the rustic charm of Courchevel Village, this resort is just as diverse as the vast Three Valleys ski domain it sits within. With prices varying by up to 50% between the villages, understanding its unique villages is key when looking for a property for sale in Courchevel.

CONTACT arrow right close