This is a short guide to help start your search for property in the Southern French Alps mountain resort of Serre Chevalier. The area is most famous for it’s skiing, but there is plenty happening in the summer too. For example most years the Tour de France bike race comes through the valley, but it attracts cyclists and mountain bikers from all over Europe too. Most foreigners looking to buy property in Serre Chevalier have usually fallen in love with the place after a skiing holiday.
Serre Chevalier has four main points for jumping onto the ski-lift system: Briançon; Chantemerle; Villeneuve; and Le Monêtier les Bains, so this is where the property buyer should start if convenience for the ski lifts is what you’re looking for. However if you are not so fussed about being next to the piste and do not intend to rent your property out, then there are some bargains to be had by just moving a kilometer or so away from the ski lifts.
Briançon (Serre Chevalier 1200) is the main town, so convenient for shopping, the train station, swimming pool, but the pistes are south-west facing so become slushy and rock-strewn very quickly.
Chantemerle (Serre Chevalier 1300) has a lot of cheap 1970s purpose built blocks and is quite spread out, somewhat more commercial than picturesque. Chantemerle has lively evenings – for Serre Chevalier.
Villeneuve (Serre Chevalier 1400) is a mix of some 1970s blocks as well as the pretty area of the old village, just over the Guisane River.
Le Monêtier les Bains (Serre Chevalier 1500) is the most exclusive village with a lift, the least commercialised spot with a lift, due to the mayor’s office seeing what was happening as the development ran rampant in the valley and blocking such moves taking place.
The valley also has any villages such as Le Casset, Les Guibertes, Fressyinet and Saint-Chaffrey, which have maintained their charm, but you will have to consider their remoteness, many do not have village shops at all – and snow plough services in the winter might not come right to your door, well not for free anyway.
There is also the ‘taxe foncière’ which is the ‘land tax’ to consider as well as the ‘taxe d’habitation’. The valley boasts five very individual mayorships and there can be a couple of thousand euro difference in the various charges you have to pay on property along the valley.