Les Gets: the family-friendly French village in the Alps

British buyers flock to Les Gets in the Alps, won over by its year-round charm and easy one-hour drive from Geneva
Summer in the Alps and the living is easy, especially if you are in Les Gets, the small French village with a loyal British following. Small enough to feel cosy, big enough for full-on family-friendly activities and high enough to have a good winter snow record, Les Gets is a winning Alpine village that — joy of joys — is only an hour from Geneva airport.

Holiday homes in Les Gets
Les Gets is in a sublime Alpine spot, perfect for a whole family to enjoy

Holiday homes in Les Gets
£589,900: Annapurna offers 44 three-bedroom apartments on a rare village centre pilot. Through Anthea Advisors. Call 020 7471 4500
"The appeal is simple," says Gareth Jeffries of Winkworth associates Alpine Property, and a long-term local resident. "You can't overestimate the importance of the easy access to Geneva. Les Gets is a pretty Savoyarde village that is truly year-round. It links directly into the Portes du Soleil with 400 miles of skiing for winter and is just above Morzine, which is at the epicentre of excellent summer mountain biking."

Les Gets' year-round population of 1,300 swells to 16,000 in peak weeks and its reputation as a very British resort is unfair: 82 per cent of visitors are French, says Gaelle Le Coz of Les Gets Tourist Office. The buzzy, compact centre has 100 shops and over 40 restaurants and bars while a free bus connects to outlying hamlets.

For summer visitors there's an 18-hole golf course and well-linked footpaths suitable for all ability levels, with plenty of places to stop for a mountainside lunch. The exceptional Bikepark caters for beginners to advanced riders while 50 miles of cycle tracks lead across green pastures to Switzerland.

The downsides — the resort is on the western edge of the Portes du Soleil and away from the snow-sure high spot of Avoriaz — don't seem to bother its hardcore fans. Property prices are 25 per cent down from their 2008 highs but remained stable throughout 2011 and last year.

Les Gets properties are 30 per cent more affordable than those in Chamonix, ranging from 20-year-old studios for £86,330 to substantial villas up on the Route des Chavannes for about £1.76 million. Most buyers, says Jeffries, want a chalet.

New-build homes in Les Gets
There are good-value chalets at lower prices. Athena Advisors is selling off-plan homes in Les Gets from £332,430 for two-bedroom semidetached chalets by the ski lift in Les Perrières. Twelve apartments in the K2 project next door, at the same price, sold out this year but the five-bedroom penthouse has come back to the market for £842,000. Visit athenaadvisors.co.uk.

Two- to five-bedroom chalets at Kilimandjaro, an easy walk to the centre of Les Gets, have also sold well. The homes are on a slight slope which provides good views, and start from £440,370. Annapurna is perhaps the best of all: 44 three-bedroom apartments from 645sq ft to 1,400sq ft on a rare village-centre plot close to the ski lifts with underground parking and spa, from £588,900 through Athens Advisors. Visit winkworth.fr.

Winkworth has a new furnished two-bedroom apartment 200 yards from the ski lift in Les Gets for £237,500 and a three-bedroom one beside the Perrières piste for £272,000. A newly completed three-bedroom chalet is £462,000.

Holiday homes in Les Gets
Chalet Grand Corniche offers renters six en suite bedrooms as well as spectacular views of nearby Mont Blanc
Chalet comforts
British businessman Martin Lightbody bought a plot of land above Les Gets and has built one of the resort's most comfortable chalets.

Grand Corniche is a four-floor light-filled chalet with six en-suite bedrooms sleeping 12 and a further four in a small adjoining mazot (mini chalet). Inside there is a snooker room, a glass sauna, even a covered aluminium slide from the top floor into the wine cellar, while the open-plan living area with wraparound terrace has views to Mont Blanc.

Martin chose Les Gets after considering several other French and Swiss resorts. Val d'Isère, he felt, was a long transfer from Geneva, Megève was attractive but had limited skiing, while Verbier was too expensive.

"Les Gets was one of the prettiest villages with access to marvellous skiing," he says. "Add to this transfer from Geneva and very sensible prices and it was an easy decision." Grande Corniche is available to rent fully staffed and catered from £10,800 a week through Consensio.

Contacts
Athena Advisors: athenaadvisors.co.uk (020 7471 4500)
Winkworth France: winkworth.fr (020 8576 5582)
Consensio: consensioholidays.co.uk (020 3393 0833)

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