News: Profiting on the Piste in France

Tue, 02 Oct 07

When picturing the south of France, many people imagine sun-kissed beaches and Mediterranean bathing, perhaps set against a backdrop of the vineyards that cover much of the region....

However, the large landmass that is France offers a range of climates within its borders and these in turn offer a wide variety of leisure and sporting pursuits. People that are not interested in whiling away their time lazing around on the beach might be more at home hurtling down the side of a mountain on two slivers of plastic. For them, the French ski holiday is an excellent choice.

France's prime ski country is to be found in the south. On the south-west side, the Pyrenees separate it from Spain in impressive, snow-capped fashion, while to the south-east, the Alps - a truly massive mountain range - run from the eastern edge of France and take in Austria, Slovenia, Italy, Switzerland, and Germany.

Value for money

The Pyrenees are home to many popular ski resorts, which provide a mixture of cross-country and mountain skiing. Gourette is one of the larger resorts, offering more than 30 marked pistes over 90 hectares in the winter. Aside from straightforward skiing, there are also snowboarding courses and a number of hiking, biking and mountaineering routes.

The Pyrenees and the Alps are both popular choices for property investment according to property comparison and advice website BuyAssociation. Overseas property editor Paul Collins says that both areas are different from many other French regions in that they still offer value for money despite their popularity.

"The south-west is still very popular, and still seeing some really good price rises, so investors are doing quite well down there. If you're looking at the French side of the Pyrenees, there are some good places there, " he explained.

Great in the summer

As far as the Alps are concerned, Mr Collins believes they "are great in the summer as well because there are plenty of golf facilities around, and the weather is usually really good in the Alps in the summer, so that does tend to attract a lot of people and does quite well for investment".

British property investors with an interest in the French market might be interested in the results of a report by the Economist. The value of the French property market was determined to have increased by 87 per cent in the years between 1997 and 2005.

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