Saint Lary, which full name is actually Saint-Lary-Soulan, is a renowned ski resort located in the Pyrenees range, in the Hautes Pyrenees department. This 1,100 inhabitant town is located in the middle of the mountain (only 20 km from the Spanish border) and as a result is the perfect place to go skiing in winter and hiking in summer.
Saint Lary is located in the Aure Valley, in High Mountain. The highest picks around the town are Pic Long (3,194 m) and Néouvielle (3,092 m). The name of the valley would come from the Latin word for breeze, aura. Indeed, in spring and autumn a warm wind, called the Foehn blows over the valley, making climate mild and pleasant.
Saint Lary is actually divided into two parts separated by 1 kilometre: the Saint Lary village and the Soulan village. The merge of both towns occurred in 1963 in order to extent the Saint Lary ski resort towards the Soulan one.
Saint Lary is not only one of the best Pyrenees ski resort, it is also a beautiful and authentic Pyrenean village, which boasts an unspoilt architectural and cultural heritage. Not to mention the beauty of the landscape around the town, which you will appreciate in spring and summer. The town displays also a thermal bath centre.
If you are a Tour de France watcher, then you might have heard of Saint Lary, as it is often one of the stops in the Pyrenees.
As Saint Lary is a touristic and sought after area, house prices are obviously pretty high. Since the national average for property prices in 2009 is around €3,200/ sq m, Saint Lary with €3,015 in July 2009 can be considered as an expensive area. It seems even more expensive if you compare it with the department average (€1,680/sq m).
The explanation for those prices, once again, is quite obvious. Saint Lary is a sought after area, where rental opportunities are very high all year long. As a consequence, demand for both markets (buying and renting) is very high, which brings prices up. However, if you have the funding, it can be a good move for you to invest in Saint Lary.
To get updated info about the property prices in Hautes Pyrenees, please browse our French Property Market Reports published in the News Section every month.
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Ski resort: Saint Lary ski area spreads over 3 zones, from 1,700 m and 2,515 m of altitude. The Pla d’Adet, Espiaubes and Saint Lary, also called Vallon du Portet. The ski area spreads over 100 km of fully equipped slopes, which makes it the second largest of the French Pyrenees (after Tourmalet). In Saint Lary you can do both Alpine skiing and cross-country skiing. In the first case, there are 53 ski slopes, with 32 ski lifts, and in the second case the office de tourisme of the town will provide you with a map of all the paths you can follow.
Breathtaking landscapes: Saint Lary is located at the heart of the Pyrenees natural park and of the Néouvielle nature reserve. Owing to its natural heritage (fauna, flora, lakes, etc.), the later has been listed as a Natura 2000 site. 9,500 ha are hence protected and represent a very rich and diversified area. The best way to discover this natural and unique beauty is to go for a hike in these unspoilt mountains. There are many walks on offer, from 4 hours to 4 days, everybody will be satisfied.
Cultural heritage: the town received the label Pays d’Art et d’Histoire, which aim is to preserve and emphasize the cultural and historical heritage, by organising events, etc. As a result, the town council organises visits of the town. The main places of interest are the following: the Fornier house, which is the current town council; the Debat mill, built during the 17th century, is today a vestige of the agro-pastoral activity; and Soulan village which is a very authentic village, as it was virtually isolated until the annexation to Saint Lary in 1963.
Outdoor activities: the Pyrenean town is a paradise for lovers of outdoor activities. As already mentioned it is one of the best places in the south west of France to go skiing. The natural environment is also the perfect setting to go hiking. By following the GR 65 you will be able to discover this unique natural landscape without getting lost. The tracks will also take you to the few mountain refuges that are at your disposal. Thanks to rivers running down from the mountain, the town also offers visitors some high speed water activities, such as canyoning, rafting, hydro speed, air-boat, etc. In addition to the adrenaline provided by these activities, you will also discover another facet of the Pyrenees. Finally, Saint Lary has developed a Mountain Bike Park, for the delight of bikers.
Barns: these properties are very numerous in the Pyrenees, as it used to be, and still, a very rural area where agriculture was the main economical activity. Nowadays, these pebble properties are being beautifully renovated and are still called barns only for the authenticity of the name. Even though they were former barns, the comfort and modernity of equipments make them more some kind of chalets than barns.
Mountain houses: usually built during the 19th century, these properties are made in stone (or more accurately pebbles found by the river.) You access the house from a porch which leads to an inside courtyard. They are two storey dwellings: on the ground floor you will mainly find the kitchen with a living room, and on the first floor the bedrooms with a bathroom. In both floors you will find a fireplace, as winters are harsh in the area. These houses also come with outbuildings (barn mainly), and with a garden in addition to the courtyard. They are a perfect second home to spend holidays with all the family.
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