Category Archives: Latest News

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

Good reasons to buy in the Alps

The first one is in The Times, it’s topical as it features Vallorcine (see Chalet Regards above) in it’s article “Where to ski this winter”. Here is a link to the article, and a little image too.

The Telegraph has the “Worlds best ski runs”, the Haute Savoie gets one, the Swiss Wall in Champery, though they claim it’s in Avoriaz, France, doh!

and the best family ski resorts, Avoriaz again and Flaine.

The Guardian went left-field with an article by Andrew Gilchrist, very engaging too with loads of comments.

Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc update

Here are some images from the 168km Ultra Trail race that took place last weekend in the Mont Blanc area.

Competitors left Chamonix at 4.30pm Friday and these pictures are from the first feed station in St Gervais. The earliest runners reached it in under 2 hours. Volunteers, friends and family lined the street to cheer them on, very conscious of the mental and physical challenges that lay ahead: to get through the entire night and following day, running. Just running.

After St Gervais, participants were headed for Les Contamines and then over the col de Croix de bonhomme into Italy and finally through Switzerland back to Chamonix.

 The Frenchman Xavier THEVENARD, won the race after 20:34 hours.

My friend who took part said it was the single most difficult thing she has ever done in her life. She finished after 37.58 hours, coming 11th in her category which is amazing in itself given she has only seriously taken up running a few years ago after the birth of her second child. When I saw her Sunday afternoon she was understandably beyond exhausted having had just a few hours sleep since completing the equivalent of ascending twice Mt Blanc from sea level and running 100 miles.

‘The last 10 hours of the race were brutal and no longer enjoyable’ she reckoned, as I struggled to comprehend how any of it can be undertaken for fun. My hat goes off to this busy mum of two young children, for completing this monumental event and for returning to work as a full time cardiac nurse after a day’s rest!

Next time my 10k runs drags on, I will think of her. Bravo to everyone who took part!

On of the pictures above is of David Kadunc who was came 27th overall with 25.35 hours of running.

The Chamonix Trail Running Jamboree

If you fancy stretching your legs this week, then look no further than the North Face races.

A now yearly occasion, the 4 events are taking place in and around the Mont Blanc area, departing and finishing in Chamonix.

Today, 28th August the TDS and PTL races are currently happening and on Friday 30th, it is the turn of the UTMB and CCC.

In summary the races are:

UTMB- Ultra trail du Mont Blanc – 168km ,9600m of ascent

CCC-  Courmayeur Champex Chamonix – 100km , 5950m of ascent

TDS- Traces des ducs de Savoie  – 119km, 7250m of ascent

PTL – Petite trotte à Leon  – 300km, 24,000m of ascent – done in teams.

the fountian

The UTMB, starts in Chamonix, passes through Les Houches, St Gervais, Les Contamines before going over the col Croix de bonhomme to descend into Italy and Courmayeur and then on to Switzerland. It largely follows the Tour du Mont blanc route, one of Europe’s most popular long walks that takes an average of 7-11 days to complete.

Runners of the UTMB will however, be attempting to do this well within 46 hours. The quickest of them will finish in about 21.30 hours.

Starting this Friday at 4.30pm in Chamonix, the runners are expected to pass through St Gervais from about 6-8pm and then in Les Contamines from 7-10.30pm. There’s usually a very emotional and electric atmosphere in the village when spectators witness the 2,300 contestants coming down from the ridge that separate St Gervais from the Chamonix valley. Supporters line the streets to cheer and offer encouragement knowing that these incredibly fit participants are going to run through the night, the next day and the following night to finish no later than 2.30pm Sunday afternoon.

I will be watching the event on Friday so will post some images from the feed station in St Gervais.

In the meantime if you want more information then see or to follow the events in real time here

We currently have Chalet Fontaine, smack bang on the Tour de Mont Blanc route and close to the UTMB trail. I live 2 doors down from this property and watch from my decking the hikers with backpacks and sticks walk in the direction of Les Contamines through out the summer months. Almost everyone stops at the fountain to fill their water bottles and take pictures of the lovely hamlet. The picture above is of the fountain in winter. Chalet Fontaine is just out of sight.

Chalet Fontaine can be viewed here:

St Gervais is centre stage

Acclaimed French director, Claude Lelouch is starring the little town of St Gervais in his latest film.

Lelouch is well known in France , winning Palmes D’Ors at Cannes and Oscars for some of his 50 films.

His current creation Salaud on t’aime, loosely translated as We love you, you bastard (excuse my French, as they say!) has made use of a couple of our lovely Mont Blanc locations. Last winter, scenes were filmed at the cemetery in Combloux along with locations in Praz-sur-Arly.

A few days ago, the last 4 of the 40-day-long film schedule, has been centred around a number of places in St Gervais; The Tramway du Mont Blanc station, France’s highest rack and pinion tram; the Col de Voza to which the tramway passes through before reaching the Nid D’aigle -the Eagle’s nest, and which forms part of the ridge that separates St Gervais/Les Contamines from the Chamonix valley; and finally, the centre of St Gervais and the church.

The film itself is a story is about a war reporter/photographer, Jacques Kaminsky, played by none other than the French star – Johnny Hallyday.

Kaminsky has retired to the mountains following a lifelong career to which he had dedicated himself to, and this, to the detriment of his relationship with his four daughters, amusingly named Printemps, Eté, Automne, Hiver. The focus on his work is something he now regrets and the story concentrates on his friendship with a Doctor from Médecins sans frontiers, played by Eddy Mitchell. Other than this, details about the story are few and a closely guarded secret, but all we know for sure is that some of the final scenes will be filmed around the St Gervais church.

On the last day, I was in St Gervais and took a look at what was happening. Billboards with Jonny Hallyday’s image were plastered around the church (don’t worry guys about drilling into the 17th century building to fix them mind!) and large TV trucks of kits were parked outside. Initially, when I got there, they were filming inside the church, but once completed, people spilled out to make the most of the aperitifs that were laid on in the square along with a live band. A ‘thank you’ dinner was also prepared for the extra’s who were recruited from St Gervais to star as walkers, alpinists or tourist at the various locations.

We’ll have to wait for 2014 for the release of the film itself, but in the meantime, if Johnny has taken a shine to St Gervais, we will be expecting house prices to sore imminently!

Here are a few pictures from the event.

TF1’s news coverage can be seen here.

Like the look of St Gervais? Check out our latest gem; a stunning property which has been completely renovated on a quiet road, in the heart of the village.

A short stroll brings you to the square and church featured in this article. We think this one is a great find!

More photos of the town and area, Click here.

French Capital Gains Tax changes announced

The last update I published on Capital Gains Tax in France was last summer, you can see what I said here “FRENCH CGT” , François Hollande has recently been interviewed on the French TV channel M6 and one of the subjects he spoke about was some upcoming changes to these tax rules. He said that the French government intended to reduce the time taken for this tax liability to reduce to zero from the current 30 years to 22 years.  In fact 22 years was the “old” length of time that was in place before the rules were changed last year. This is in response to the fact that property transactions declined significantly across France in 2012 and they look to be down in 2013 too. Here is a link to the story in French at Le Figaro

This is good news and will reduce the tax liability for people selling their French properties.

In other news….we’ve just taken on a lovely new chalet in Beaufort near Albertville.

Chalet for sale in Beaufort

I first mentioned this village at the end of last summer after making a visit with my family. I wrote about it here. It’s a lovely place and I’m pleased we are spreading in that direction. This property is 1km from the centre of town, has 3 bedrooms and is good value at 395 000 €. Click on the picture above for more information. Some more pictures below:

Police patrols above Chamonix

Europe’s highest peak Mont Blanc, towering over the valleys of Chamonix, St Gervais and Les Contamines in France and that of Aosta on the Italian side, stands at 4,810m2 high. Though visually very much part of the Chamonix mountain range, the administration of the mountain is shared with the town of Saint Gervais and Courmayeur in Italy, with St Gervais having the largest share of the area. It is therefore the Maire of St Gervais, currently Jean-Marc Peillex who decides on matters of safety and access of the mountain (and, not Chamonix as many people think).

Since it was first climbed by 1786 by Paccard and Balmat, whose names you will see gracing the streets in both Chamonix and St Gervais (Place Balmat, Avenue Paccard), it has seen the likes of US president Roosevelt in 1886 and countless others, make attempts to the summit. Today, 20,000 people ascend on average each year during the summer months.

Many consider it a reasonably easy mountain to climb, with some routes being long , but not technically difficult for fit, acclimatised people. Despite this, the rescue service flies an average of 12 times during peak weekends in summer to assist people who are often ill equipped or ill prepared and there are many fatalities.

For 10 years, St Gervais’ Maire has campaigned for better monitoring of the situation. Finally, the Prefet of Haute Savoie- the region in which Mont Blanc is located, has just announced that the 2 mains routes up to the summit via the Gouter and Three Monts will be manned by the Gendarmes (PGHM) during this June through to September.

Whilst putting police on high mountains could be considered extreme, much of their intent is to inform and educate climbers on best practice, mountain safety, ecology and to prevent problems. This will be achieved by reviewing people’s kit, fitness and advising on the weather for summit ascents. They will also play a part in protecting the site from an environmental perspective by keeping an eye out for illegal bivouacking which is only authorised at Tete Rousse.

In addition to this, St Gervais is providing 4 “ambassadors” who will offer tourists information. They will be stationed at the Tramway du Mont Blanc that passes through St Gervais town on the way up to Nid D’aigle and at the Tete Rousse hut. These measures are hoped to reduce accidents and manage an increasingly busy area.

The announcement of police on the mountain has been met with mixed reactions; Some are concerned about preserving what should be a pure sport and wonder whether the future holds a ‘copper behind every rock’ as one internet commentary read; Others, consider that the sheer number of people visiting the area demands some management for the good of all.

Some of our properties with the best view of Mont Blanc include: Chalet Tagues, Chalet Grepon, Chalet Champoutant, Chalet Mont Blanc, Chalet Bossons, Chalet Joux and Chalet Chouette, and check out our “Views to cry for” here on pinterest from past and present places.

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!

400 Properties for Sale

400 Properties for Sale

Alpine Property is approaching its 14th anniversary, every year at around this time I do a review of the number of properties for sale we have displayed on our website. I also update the history of the company and who does what.

It’s possible 400 doesn’t sound like a lot of properties for a web based agent. The fact is we operate like a traditional agent. We know each individual property and for each one we visit, take the photos and arrange a contract with the owner. We do not just “re-advertise” the properties for other agents. You might consider our “areas” as different branches of a regional chain. If you think of it like that then it would be like having 8 branches of the same company.

Alexa (Amazon) provide a tool that archives a website throughout it’s life. This means you can see Alpine Property evolve throughout time!*/

This is also an interesting place to browse if you want to see what a property might have been worth 10 years ago!

So here is the data for number of properties visible on the website.  I’ve also added initials by the year each team member joined.

Spring 2000 – goes online with 15 properties SN/CB which overed St Jean d’AulpsMorzineLes Gets and the Chatel Valley – AKA The Portes du Soleil

Spring 2001 – 24 properties GJ/JN

Spring 2002 – 28 properties – website mk 2

Spring 2003 – 32 properties

Spring 2004 – 37 properties  JD helping GJ

Spring 2005 – 109 properties – website mk 3 DB/JC, adding SamoensChamonixMegeve

Spring 2006 – 96 properties VM, helping DB (the counting changed this year to exclude “under offer properties”

Spring 2007 – 95 properties LM, helping CB,

Spring 2008 – 152 properties – website mk 3.5 RO, adding Les Carroz

Spring 2009 – 195 properties – SW helping JC

Spring 2010 – 234 properties VA adding the Espace Diamant and EO starts out with Claudia developing Chatel and AB with Claudia

Spring 2011 – 330 properties JG developing Le Petit Bornand

Spring 2012 – 385 properties

Spring 2013 – 404 properties – AA adding the Vallée Verte, DM helping EO, and CH starting out in Annecy

The initials stand for

  1. SN = Steve Norris
  2. CB = Claudia Buttet
  3. GJ = Gareth Jefferies
  4. JN = James Norris
  5. JD = Jo Davison
  6. DB = Denis Barbier
  7. JC = JC Skiera
  8. VL = Valérie Maes
  9. LM = Lee Massey
  10. RO = Richard Owens
  11. SW = Sarah Watts
  12. VA = Val Ainaud
  13. LO = Liz Owens
  14. EO = Ed Ockleton
  15. AB = Ailsa Bishop
  16. JG = Jackie Gay
  17. PK = Pernille Kjaer
  18. SE = Steve Elsdon
  19. AA = Anna Allen
  20. DM = Debs Mairie
  21. CH = Carol Harrison