Holiday homes: the French resorts with Swiss connections

Buy a holiday home in The Portes Du Soleil and thanks to 14 linked villages, you can get the best of both countries from as little as £77,000...

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We British certainly love to ski. More than six million of us seek out the slopes each year — most of us head for France, with Switzerland a creditable second.

But why settle for just one of these countries when you can enjoy both? The Portes du Soleil resorts make up one of the world's largest linked ski areas covering France and Switzerland, meaning you can maximise the miles criss-crossing the border, before choosing between Swiss rösti or Savoyard tartiflette for lunch.

There are 14 linked villages in the Portes du Soleil — eight in France, six in Switzerland and most within 90 minutes of Geneva airport. In total, they provide 400 miles of gorges, snow parks and pistes, ranging from gentle familyfavourite blue runs to the infamous, thigh-trembling Swiss Wall.

Resorts include the picturesque year-round farming village of Morzine and purpose-built Avoriaz, recently voted France's best resort by the Ski Club of Great Britain for its winning combination of quality accommodation, value and extensive snow-sure skiing.

Due for completion in early 2017, Chalet l'Ô Rouge's two to four-bedroom apartments start from £292,500.

Power of the pound: a good time to buy
Sterling's continued strength against the euro has encouraged Britons back to buy property in French resorts, says Jeremy Rollason of Alpine Homes, with Morzine particularly popular.

"Almost all foreign demand there is currently coming from UK buyers," says Rollason. "Values in Morzine are broadly similar to those on the Swiss side of the Portes du Soleil in either Morgins or Champéry, although there is a renewed energy and vibrancy on the French side."

Erna Low Property highlights two French Portes du Soleil resorts in its top five Alpine picks for this season — Châtel and Avoriaz.

Châtel historically played second fiddle to Morzine and Les Gets, but has had substantial infrastructure investment in the past year. A new aquatic centre and improved lifts linking up the Super-Châtel area have made it "superpopular and the best seller in the Portes du Soleil" for Erna Low this year, says the company's François Marchand.

"It's hard to please everyone on a family ski trip, but the best resorts combine ski-in property, a large ski area, good altitude and year-round activities," says Marchand. "Summer tourism is expanding significantly in the Alps and the Portes du Soleil offers everything for an active holiday, with mountain biking, archery, tennis, golf and swimming pools."

The French Side: Châtel
Châtel Erna Low has properties that are close to Châtel, priced from £77,000 for one-bedroom apartments. A new development a third of a mile from the centre and due for completion in early 2017, Chalet l'Ô Rouge comprises 18 two- to four-bedroom apartments priced from £292,500.

In the centre, with direct access to the ski lifts, Residence Lion d'Or has 12 two- and four-bedroom apartments priced from £238,300, also through Erna Low.

In 2013, apartments in the first phase of MGM's Les Chalets d'Angèle in Châtel quickly sold out. Recently released in the next phase are 30 one and two-bedroom furnished apartments from £155,000, excluding VAT, with an obligation to rent for part of the year.

MGM's development of one-and two-bedroom houses start at £155,000. Visit

The Swiss side: Morgins and Champér

Switzerland retains its exclusivity and cachet, says Rollason, and with mortgage interest rates close to all-time lows of 1-1.5 per cent, it makes for a compelling buy.

The dramatic, jagged peaks of the Dents du Midi dominate Champéry on the Swiss side of the Portes du Soleil, 90 minutes from Geneva by car or train.

It's a centre for mountain biking, with a good range of shops and restaurants, so it buzzes in summer and winter, with good potential rental returns. A cable car from the centre links directly into the Portes du Soleil.

A three-bedroom loft apartment in in the village city centre at The Lodge costs £1,146,000. Visit

A light-filled three-bedroom loft apartment in The Lodge, a new chaletstyle building in the village centre with underground parking spaces and ski lockers, is £1,146,000 through Alpine Homes.

In Morgins, also in the village centre, a fully furnished four-bedroom chalet over four floors, with a garage, is £759,000.

Unfurnished apartments with no rental obligation start from £231,300, including VAT.

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