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Back to the Valleys: Investing in an international winter retreat

As evenings start to draw in earlier and the weather gets colder, Winkworth take to the slopes to discover the best winter retreats to invest in internationally.

As evenings start to draw in earlier and the weather gets colder, we take to the slopes to discover the best winter retreats to invest in.

The towering mountains, hundreds of glistening pistes and high-spec lifts of The Three Valleys ski area in the French Alps have, despite stiff competition from the US and elsewhere in Europe, not lost their allure among those who not only want the best skiing, but luxurious accommodation.

For many skiers, both from the UK and abroad, resorts such as Courchevel and Méribel are the place to be seen, however rusty their parallel turns are.

The Daily Telegraph recently said Courchevel was “everyone’s favourite upmarket ski resort” and that Méribel was the “best positioned” within the area’s ski lift system.

But although there is fierce competition from many European resorts including St Anton, Tignes, Verbier, Val d'Isère and Chamonix, its Courchevel and Méribel’s ‘Saint Tropez in the mountains’ reputation that counts for a lot among property buyers.

“These two resorts did have a name for being very English, but I don’t think that’s really true any longer,” says David King, Winkworth’s Head of International, who has over 30 years’ experience of their property markets.

“The Three Valleys has such an incredible name for itself these days that resorts like Courchevel and Méribel are now very cosmopolitan affairs and not just the preserve of the Brits, as they used to be.”

And unlike less popular resorts offering less choice elsewhere, these two stars of the Alpine firmament offer more stable house prices.

“Getting a mortgage in France requires borrowers to meet much tougher lending criteria than in the UK, and this in the past has helped prevent the sort of dramatic ups and downs you see in the UK, for example,” says David.

With the luxury market, Courchevel property prices now range from €15 million for a large detached ski-in, ski-out chalet to £500,000 for a two-bedroom apartment, while Méribel tends to a little less pricey, with fewer double-digit properties for sale at the top of its market.

“You can buy similar apartments and chalets to those in The Three Valleys within other French ski areas, but they tend to be much further from the nearest airports, not served by such a good road network, and they don’t offer the same choice of bars and shops as Courchevel,” says David.

But he says ski properties, particularly in this area of the Alps, should not be considered ‘property investments’ in the traditional sense.

“Many UK and increasingly international clients who come to us looking for ski properties in these resorts are keen to rent them out when they aren’t there because it helps pay for their running costs, not because it’s going to deliver an amazing return on investment” says David.

“Nevertheless, rental income is becoming more important as resorts such as Méribel – which used to be very quiet during the summer months – as they begin to bustle with tourists outside the ski season going on walking, horse riding or mountain biking holidays.

“Their allure is now much broader than just being the place to be seen skiing in the winter months.”




Courchevel 1850, France

Four bedroom flat in the Rhone-Alpes

Located in the skiers’ paradise of Courcheval, this four bedroom flat for sale in the Rhône-Alpes maintains a rich traditional cabin feel. Snuggly located close by the slopes, it allows goers to enjoy skiing time before the crowds arrive each morning.

Contact Winkworth International on 020 7870 7181 for more information.




Méribel, Rhône-Alpes, France

Seven bedroom chalet in the forest of Meribel

Located amongst the thick wooded forest of Méribel, this seven bedroom chalet provides the perfect getaway for fun and relaxation among incredible panoramic views. Other amenities include a dining room with a cosy fireplace, a ski room, terrace with a jacuzzi, laundry located in the annexe and a garage with the possibility to expand.

Contact Winkworth International on 020 7870 7181 for more information.


Méribel, Rhône-Alpes, France

One bedroom flat with mountain views

This rustic chic, one bedroom flat offers picturesque mountain views. With the added bonus of being located just a two minute drive from the ski departure point. Or, when conditions are just right, a ski-in and ski-out option. The property also contains a private outdoor car park.

Contact Winkworth International on 020 7870 7181 for more information.


Les Allues, 9 minutes away from Méribel


Les Allues, Rhône-Alpes, France

Two bedroom flat in Les Allues

Located in Les Allues, (just nine minutes away from Méribel) this elegant two bedroom flat provides a fantastic escape. The property contains unlimited amenities including the option to ski out, along with an annexe containing a cellar, ski locker, and an indoor car park space.

Contact Winkworth International on 020 7870 7181 for more information.


If you’re looking to buy, sell, rent or let, get in touch with our network of UK and international offices.

For more property for sale in the French Alps visit:

Winkworth International

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