Serre Chevalier is not a French commune. Often nicknamed Serre-Che by connoisseurs, it is a quite famous ski resort spreading over a number of mountain towns and villages connected to each other mainly through cable cars. The resort is an exceptional place for skiing, located in the middle of the Alps, a quite impressive and gorgeous mountain range. The very asset of this resort is the diversity of styles amongst the picturesque villages. UK people are rare in some of the villages, which maintains a quite traditional atmosphere.
The towns and vilages composing the resort are Briançon, Chantemerle, Villeneuve, Monêtier-les-Bains and villages around these towns. Life in the resort is centred about nature, sport and enjoying the après-ski life. Snow is always of high quality, landscapes are simply stunnning and restaurants serving the local specialities are often praised by holidaymakers. During summer Serre Chevalier is a perfect area for activities such as watersports (lakes and mountain rivers), mountain biking, climbing, sledding and paragliding.
In 2009, the cost of property for sale in France is on average €3,197 /square metre and, for rent €12.22 /square metre /month. Property value in the Serre Chevalier area is roughly indexed on prices in the town of Briançon, which is €2,760 /square metre.
The typical price of a house in the resort is €224,500, due to the modest availability of such property in the area. Figures tend to show that apartment prices are as follows: studio flat €2,870 /square metre, 1 to 2-bedroom apartments around €2,800 /square metre, 3-bedroom apartments about €2,500 /square metre. The average price of an apartment in Serre Chevalier is thus €2,770 /square metre.
Buying in the area is a clever choice if you plan to rent property. Indeed, the resort is very renowned in Europe for its beauty and there is a constant demand for rentals, in any season. This is also due to the plenty of activities on offer.
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Sport lovers' heaven: the resort is ideal for ski lovers but also offers many activities during summer. It is not rare to see steps of the Tour de France cycling contest come to a stop in the resort. Thanks to the diversity of villages you will easily get to know the area and these great places. One of the eyecatching peculiarities of Serre Chevalier is the slopes generally lined with trees over hundreds of metres.
Location – transport links: the villages are linked to airports such as Turin or Grenoble, served by many budget airlines connecting the area with the UK. The train station in Briançon is served by high-speed trains connected with the Eurostar network and thus London Saint Pancras. By road, some of the villages are linked to motorways, mainly through Grenoble.
Good food: food is very important in a ski resort. Indeed, the apres-ski life contributes a lot to the atmosphere of a place. Some of the local specialities are the Oreilles d'Anes are a local dish perfect after a day out on the slopes. Made of spinach, cream and ham along with other ingredients, it can be quite heavy however. The Genepi liqueur is a renowned drink made from more than a hundred of plants. It can be added in classic recipes such as meat and fish ones or desserts. The Tourton is a fine speciality that is well worth tasting. Made from a paste stuffed with mashed potatoes, cheese onions and/or spinach, they can also be sweet and stuffed with prunes or apple jam.
Climate and weather: the climate is one of the big assets of the area. The fact that Serre Chevalier’s villages are overwhelemed by mountains does not only create micro climates but also produces an air of high quality. Many towns of the valley thus offer medical centres dedicated to lung diseases or asthma. This draws extra visitors – with different needs though – to the resort all year long.
Rental opportunities: as a popular tourist destination, Serre Chevalier is quite sought-after and it is easy to rent property all year long. An ideal place to buy if you wish to have property in the Alps and benefit from an excellent rate of return on investment.
The architecture of this part of Hautes Alpes is actually seldom Provencal. Indeed, even if there are mas and other stone houses galore in the plains, the mountainous style is very strong in Serre Chevalier.
Chalets: with influences from the neighbouring Rhone Alpes, chalets in this part of the Provence region are generally covered with wooden panels while the lower part of walls are made of stones or concrete. Depending on the villages in Serre Chevalier, buildings can have painted walls or shutters but it’s quite rare. On the chalets’ roofs, slates, flat tiles or gneiss (a naturally formed rock) are used.
Provence houses: Provencal houses can be detached or attached properties, both in a town centre or on the outskirts. This style offers walls painted in diverse colours such as yellow, green, blue, red and purple. Plaster and stucco are used to finish walls. Terracotta tiles are often seen on the floor. Inside, (coloured) curtains are quite important to finish off the decoration of rooms.
Apartments: apartments are quite numerous in the different villages of the ski resort. They are the most sought-after properties for the fast return on investment they provide and the great value brought by the area. The style of these apartments is rarely traditional though, which is a pity.
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