Category Archives: St Jean d’Aulps

Col du Corbier, montagne douce

The Col du Corbier is situated on the pass between the Morzine and Chatel valleys. If you are planning to drive between the two passing over the col is the quickest route, despite what many visitors think the col is kept open throughout the winter. Apart from the fact it is the quickest route between these two busy valleys it has to be kept open because there is loads of accommodation on the col itself, about 750 apartments/chalets with 4,000 beds. It is an old ski resort that used to go by the name of Drouzin le Mont, it has a rather tortuous history.

Probably the best place to get the background is from Wikipedia. This English version is not bad but the French version is better.

Montagne Douce.

Since the ski area ceased operation the local commune of Le Biot has made huge efforts to support the community and maintain a life on the col. They have overseen the dismantling of the ski lifts, something that is often overlooked. In addition they have constructed a large restaurant and bar that is the current focus of all the activities. I’ve been there a few times recently and can attest to its popularity! Unsurprisingly because of the history the property prices have fallen considerably which has increased the interest in the area, despite this there are still plenty of activities to do and the skiing is not far away.

# St Jean d’Aulps (Espace Roc d’Enfer)- 18min
# La Chapelle d’Abondance – 22min
# Morzine – 26 min
# Chatel – 30 min
# Avoriaz (Ardent) –  30 min

You don’t even need a car in the holidays. There is a bus that runs 4 times a day to and from the Espace Roc d’Enfer.

I had read about the various activities that are being promoted at the col so decided to go up to look. It was on a freezing cold grey day and I was amazed by what I saw. Plenty of people having a great time, all for free. A great opportunity in the holidays.


# Electric powered Fat biking, guided and with bikes provided.
# Snowshoeing, guided by the well known local guide Michel Robin.
# Ski-joering and pony riding organised by Samuel et Catherine Bailly from the Ranch in St Jean d’Aulps.
# AND…Archery, blow pipe target shooting! Sledging and some food.

These activities don’t run everyday so you’ll have to keep an eye on the “animations” page of the Vallée d’Aulps Tourist Office or their Facebook page.

I rode as far as Drouzin on the pisted track

The commune is still grooming one of the tracks after each snowfall, it is not too steep and suitable for a fatbike trip or an easy ski randonnee that will give access to the old pistes. A great introduction to the sport. I’ve included a map here of the groomed track track. You should call the Mairie if you need to check if it is open (04 50 72 12 06)

The Mairie has mentioned developing the activities in the summer and possibly putting in an “espace loisirs” by the lake. Watch this space.

Our property that is gaining all the attention is Chalet Snowy, 3 bedrooms, 237,000€, click on the picture for more information.

A video from 2019 is here


Trail Running in the Portes du Soleil

New for 2017, Trail Running in the Portes du Soleil

400km of signposted trails with 48 different routes across the 12 towns and villages of the Portes du Soleil. This is a big project that should be ready for summer 2017. It is one of the results of the drive by tourist offices around the Alps to diversify from a focus on alpine skiing.

It’s a great idea. The Portes du Soleil is ideally suited to trail running, it’s not a new activity, in fact fell running has been around forever, it is however a new idea to “package” it like this, providing signposting and resources to open it up to more people.

There is a website up and running and there will be leaflets available in the relevant tourist offices. An app is available for iOS and Android that will help with the mapping and tracking of each trip.

trail runnin


The trails are all graded from easyish valley trails to some fairly extreme “skyrun” trails


It looks like they have wisely missed out an obvious candidate for the “Skyrun” routes, the “Roc d’Enfer” pictured below.

trail runnin_5

This is all part of a bigger network of Trail Running centres that can be seen here. 

There are already a couple of trail races in the area

and this

and of course the crazy KMV in Montriond now in it’s 7th year




Renovations in St Jean d’Aulps & Vallée

Renovation round-up in St Jean d’Aulps & Vallée

Renovation projects are increasingly difficult to come by in the Alps. The more “Grand Design” farmhouse restorations that are completed, the fewer there are left for the rest of us to do the same!  If there are not many old barns left, an alternative project is to transform an out-dated hotel or holiday centre into apartments for resale or rental. Investors with cash in the bank earning little or no interest can see better returns on investing their money in this type of project.

The attraction of a renovation project is two-fold: You can create a unique property tailor-made to suit you, and then you can make a profit on the blood, sweat and tears you’ve put in! The profit can either be in the form of a one-off lump sum when you sell (cashing in the value added), or as a rental income, particularly apt if you’ve created more than one apartment with your refurbishment project.

Here’s a quick round-up of the different types of renovation projects on offer in the Vallée d’Aulps:




Ferme de la Moussière d’en Haut:
This old farmhouse is ski-in, ski out, and would probably be best suited for conversion into a single family home. The structure is in great condition, so no worries about big remedial works! Full details on this link



Rénovation le Crêt:
This project is ideal if you want to self-build, but you can’t be bothered with the headache of all the paperwork or the slog through the mud of putting in the foundations. All the messy hard work is done, leaving you to do the fun stuff! Full details on this link



Maison la Charrette:
With an already-habitable 3 bedroom apartment, this property is ideal for someone looking to “live-in” whilst doing the property up themselves. This property is very large, and would lend itself well to being divided up into a handful of apartments. Full details on this link



Les Grands Clos:
This is another enormous property, with two habitable 3 bedroom apartments, and space for a few more in the huge barn! There’s lots of flexibility with this property, and more space than you can shake a stick at! It’s in a really pretty location too, with great views from every angle. Full details on this link

Don’t hesitate to contact us for more info on any of these properties, or for more info on realising your renovation dreams!

Rain across the SE of France, the Haute Savoie gets flooded!

After 36hrs of continuous rain the Haute Savoie has woken up to floods, damage and a fair amount of clearing up to do. According to the Dauphine Libere, the rainfall figures are:

– Est de l’AIN : 50 à 80 mm localement 130 mm à Chézery
– SAVOIE : 50 à 90 mm localement 140 mm (Valmorel, Aillon-le-jeune)
– HAUTE-SAVOIE : 60 à 100 mm localement 175 mm à Thônes, 190 mm aux Gets.
– ISÈRE : 50 à 80 mm sur le relief, localement 120 mm à St-Pierre-les-Egaux, 160 mm au Verney.

You’ll see that Les Gets takes the rather soggy biscuit.

I took this picture yesterday, the Passerelle in St Jean d’Aulps, shortly after the Commune turned up with a digger and removed it!


a before and after video of the bridge.

.and then this was taken the next day, if you watch you’ll see a big tree being uprooted.

I’ve been out this morning and taken quite a few pictures around Morzine and St Jean d’Aulps.


This is the same spot, the bridge is gone, the river is twice as wide and the school is starting to lose its playground.

river trail 2

Further up the valley, this is the “river trail” across from Carrefour, or it was, it’s totally gone and there is no prospect of replacing it. If things carry on like this we’ll lose the road next.

river trail

More “river trail” pictures, this one is up by the Plagnettes roundabout.  No sign of the trail here. This at least is repairable.


Plagnettes again, near Morzine, the owners of the house probably had a sleepless night.


Lac de Montriond and the Verdoyant.

montriond lac

The Bout du Lac end of the lac.

Les Mouilles

Near my house!

Some background to the episode here.

The previous record for rainfall in Chamonix was 59mm (May 2010), this time they got 81mm. Les Gets got 190mm!

New Chalets in St Jean d’Aulps

If you thought all building work stops in the Alps in the winter (so all the tradesmen can go off to their second jobs as ski instructors), then think again. It is still the case on a small-scale but in general the tradesmen try to keep working all year around. The idea is to make a structure waterproof so work can carry on inside during the winter months. As an example have a look at this development of the Chalets des Cimes project, it has been continuing throughout this winter in sight of the pistes. The developer has just sent me these photos.

chalets in st jean d'aulps

This is my favourite as you can see the piste and the ski lift in the background.

These chalets are excellent quality. Note the copper guttering, the granite faced first floor walls (this is an option for an extra cost), the charred and brushed Douglas Pine (this means you won’t need to varnish or treat the wood). I wrote an article where I mentioned the quality of chalets we see in the Alps and how it’s hard to compare with a cheap build in the UK. These chalets are a good example of this.

Don’t forget that these chalets are at the base of the piste at La Grande Terche (Espace Roc d’Enfer), they are in the Portes du Soleil and only 20 minutes drive from the skiing in Morzine or Avoriaz.

chalets in st jean d'aulps 2

Out of the 9 that are being built, a couple of them are sold and another 2 more are “in negotiation” (as of 18/Feb/2014), we’ve listed the different types on our website here:

Les Chalets des Cîmes, No. 9 
600 000 €uros, 5 bedrooms, 144m2

Les Chalets des Cîmes, No. 3 
580 000 €uros, 4 bedrooms, 133m2

Les Chalets des Cîmes, No. 4 
550 000 €uros, 4 bedrooms, 121m2

Les Chalets des Cîmes, No. 2
525 000 €uros, 4 bedrooms, 121m2

Ski investment at the Espace Roc d’Enfer

Investment for this year includes groundworks on many of the pistes making them better for skiers at a cost of 130.000€. Snow canons have been added at La Cheverie side from the top of the Graydon chairlift all the way down to La Cheverie itself at a cost of 460.000€. A new drag lift called ‘teleski du lac’ is being built to bring skiers up from the Roc d’Enfer circuit allowing them to easily ski back down to the bubble lift. This is 350m long and is costing 330.000€. There are also plans for a new blue piste in the forest from the top of the bubble lift all the way down to the bottom.
I’ve taken some pictures of the work and plotted the line of the new lift.

and some photos here taken 22nd of December 2013

The latest piste map with the area in question circled.
espace roc d'enfer piste map

French Mortgage rates

We’ve just had an update for the French mortgages rates with the bank we work with. The last update we received was 6 months ago in January, the rates have been coming down steadily over the last couple of years and these figures are no exception.

The new French mortgage rates we have are:

Standard variable 2.65% to 2.85%
Standard variable rates from 2.65% to 3.00% with a +1% cap
Fixed rates from 3.10% to 3.90%.

Compared to the old rates of:

Standard variable rates in capital repayment from 2,90% to 3,10%
Capped rates in capital repayment from 2,80% to 3,45%
Fixed rates from 3,80% to 4,45%

If you are interested in more information just contact us at Alpine Property and we’ll arrange for a quote.

This might be a good time to mention a couple of the new properties we have for sale. From the “high end”

Chalet Lanos near St GervaisChalet Lanos, 1.390.000€, 5 bedrooms and situated between St Gervais and Les Contaimes, click on the image above for more info.

To the more modestly priced:


Apartment Diamant Blanc near the skiing at St Jean d’Aulps, 2 bedrooms and 203.000€

This is the time of year where we experience peak property availability. This is combined with the cheapest time to fly into Geneva too. So if you wondered when the best time to look was- this could be it!

Chalets for less than 300,000€ in the Portes du Soleil

These are some of our best selling properties. Chalets, houses or homes to buy near the main ski resorts of the Portes du Soleil valued at less than 300,000€.

First off we have Maison La Cachette, 255,000€, 6 bedrooms and in the Chatel valley. It’s a renovation project. Click on the image for more information.

Then how about the Apartment Bayard, 219,600€, 4 bedrooms and in the center of St Jean d’Aulps.

And in no particular order, Chez Patou, also in St Jean d’Aulps, 275,000€, 3 bedrooms and room to expand.

Between Les Gets and Praz des Lys in Chalet les Côtes Derrière, 299,000€ and 4 bedrooms. Only 8 minutes to the skiing and located in complete seclusion!

And finally Maison Le Biot, a 5 bedroom property in Le Biot, priced at 275,000€