Le Grand Bornand is a typical village of Haute-Savoie, in the Rhone Alpes region. It accounts for some 2,200 Bornandins living in a preserved and tranquil area for the density of population is indeed only 34 inhabitants per square metre. Situated on the west side of the Aravis Massif, this both summer and winter tourist resort has developed around an ancient village. It therefore benefits from a unique attractive status.
Le Grand Bornand encompasses the village but also the ski slopes and is part of the Aravis Massif. The first part culminates at 1000m of altitude and offers nice architectural monuments as well as a lively life. 6km higher is the Chinaillon, which makes the visitors sort of jump back in time in an ancient high mountain pasture hamlet. Heritage in Le Grand Bornand is federative and traditions are to be found everywhere. It accounts for more cows than inhabitants and despite its ski resort status, it admittedly attracts tourists but is not touristy. It is a very preserved area boasting a lifestyle truly one of a kind.
Agriculture and tourism are the two major inputs for the local economy. With 2,400ha of agricultural area and 65 operating farms, it is the first agricultural village of the department. Cradle of the Reblochon cheese, it benefits from its success. On the other side, its very green surroundings and its authentic lifestyle have made of Le Grand Bornand a town loved by tourists, without being crowded however. Besides, the ski resort activities account for a significant part in the town’s wealth.
As Le Grand Bornand is an ideal place to spend some time away of a daily stressful life, it accounts for 80% of second homes, which is almost eight times more than the national average. This small ski resort also offers plenty of nature-linked activities in summer and attracts lots of people all year long. It therefore represents very good opportunities in terms of buy-to-let investment.
Buying prices vary according to the type of property. You can count on average €4,730 /sq m for an apartment, €5,200 /sq m for a typical chalet and €4,800 /sq m for a farmhouse. With an overall average of €4,822 /sq m in August 2009, prices can appear expensive but do not forget that the whole Haute-Savoie department has high prices due to its popularity; so is Le Grand Bornand.
The city has been spared by the economic crisis and for one year real estate prices have remained quite stable. If you plan to invest, Grand Bornand is a safe bet thanks to its privileged status of both ski resort and station verte (green station). It boasts a truly unique haut-savoyarde atmosphere seducing more than one.
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Gourmet food: the regional gastronomy will satisfy all fond of good food people. Land charcuterie is there cooked over a wood fire and the diots are small sausages stewed in white wine. To accompany them, four cheeses are the proud of the Aravis area, amongst which the free-range Reblochon. This latter has an aftertaste of hazelnut and is perfect for local specialities like the Polenta or the famous tartiflette. Potato is also the queen of several traditional dishes such as the Péla or potatoes strudels. For the gourmands, desserts are not left behind. The Bugnes are yummy fried pastries, the delectable rissoles are traditionally baked for holy days and the biscuit de Savoie and Bescoin are also to try. The typical eau-de-vie produced in the area is the Gentiane.
Natural surroundings: you cannot help being seduced by the beauty of the scenery. The village is surrounded by gorgeous mountainous landscapes: Chaîne des Aravis, Vallée du Bouchet, Col des Annes, Pic du Jallouvre, Pointe Blanche, Col de la Colombière,... It means pleasure of the eyes but also a wonderful adventure area for mountain activities. Le Grand Bornand has developed in the very heart of nature and is a much typical haut-savoyard hamlet. A brilliant original way to enjoy these magnificent surroundings is to take a ride on a hot-air balloon. The soothing natural surroundings make the local life really nice and peaceful.
Wide range of activities: snow linked activities have of course pride of place in winter. Downhill or cross-country skiing of course but also snowmobile, ice-skating, snowshoeing, ice waterfall hiking or heliskiing are on offer. You will not for all that get bored the rest of the year for there are always plenty of things to do. Numerous outdoor activities are available, such as paragliding, horse-riding or adventure course amongst others. Hiking alone is really worth and allows you to enjoy the beautiful scenery. As far as culture is concerned, the choice is also wide. The artist minds are nurtured with several artistic workshops, and for the heritage lovers discovery courses are organized around different topics; for instance hand-crafted cheese making and sacred art.
Lifestyle: the town boasts a unique lifestyle full of authenticity. The yesteryear ways and customs are carefully maintained and passed on. The traditional reblochon market on Wednesday morning gathers many locals who enjoy sharing convivial times. Besides, several fairs and traditional festivals take place all year round and make you discover the history and traditions of the area. A traditional company is here to entertain you and plunge you in the village's culture. Living in Le Grand Bornand allows you to revive an often lost way of life. This mountainous hamlet will surely delight you!
Different types of properties make up the landscape of Le Grand Bornand, but apart from the prevailing bornandins chalets, they do not really have a particular style. Apartments have mainly a tourist purpose and many farmhouses are to be found, already refurbished or to renovate as one chooses. Most of the dwellings are covered with wood tiles called tavaillons. The chalets for their part are regarded as real gems of the alpine heritage.
Chalets: essentially made of wood, these typical properties possess an irresistible charm. You can recognize them to their typical pointe d’âne (the main beam), the solaret (luminous attic used to store hay), the crédence (kitchen piece of furniture integrated in the wall) or the little adjoining outbuilding where good food was kept. With a warm welcoming interior, each room tells a story of authentic way of life. Chalets are now really functional while having a modern architecture inspired of the yesteryear ones. Formerly built according to the pastoral activity, they now constitute a harmonious architecture and contribute to the so unique quality of life ruling in Le Grand Bornand.
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