/ Living in Briançon Area
So my wife and I currently live in a ski town in the US and are now set on moving our home base to the Alps. Visa and jobs are not a consideration, we both work remote and have EU citizenship. We love to climb (mostly sport and some trad) and ski (off-piste and touring) and we have identified the Briancon area as a possible place to base ourselves. We have never been however, so we are heading there next month to scout the area.
My question is people's thoughts on where to actually live in the area. We would like to purchase a home with a garden so it seems as you get outside Briancon the value is much better for property. What about living in one of the Serre Chevalier villages, is it way too touristy and in-authentic? Does it feel too isolated further down the valley like Saint-Martin etc?
Anyone have experience or opinion about living in the Vallouise valley perhaps near Puy-Saint-Vincent or Les Vingeux? Further down in Argeniere-le-besse as well? Really the only thing we'd like to have within striking distance is a supermarket for cooking meals etc.
Id imagine if we chose Briancon, we would spend a lot of time skiing at Serre, however if we were further down valley we have the option of Mongenvere and Vars as well. Any opinions on that would be great too.
p.s. please excuse my butchering of the french town names spellings:D
I can't offer much advice but will be keeping an eye on this thread as we're looking at the area too. We currently live in the southern Vercors (about an hour each from Grenoble and Gap) and have been here 7 years. However for a number of practical reasons we're looking at moving and some of the areas around Briancon tick the box - we've even looked at property in the Val de Pres area - but we're keeping our options open and are looking at the Savoie and the norther Vercors as well as maybe the Jura.
We still need to be close (well no more than 90 minutes drive) to an airport but want a bit more in the way of facilities including schools before too long.
I've raced in the area loads, and visited Briancon as a tourist a few times and there's no doubt the area is stunning and there's a lot going for it.
There's one or two people on the forum who live in the area who will no doubt come up with better information than me.
> Anyone have experience or opinion about living in the Vallouise valley perhaps near Puy-Saint-Vincent or Les Vingeux? Further down in Argeniere-le-besse as well? Really the only thing we'd like to have within striking distance is a supermarket for cooking meals etc.
Worth making contact with Jerry Gore at Alpbase for advice. He lives in the Valouise area and manages chalet accommodation and is generally up on property in the area and could probably sort you out with a purchase. His number and email are on the website: www.alpbase.com/
We've been looking for somewhere in the Hautes Alpes but more Champsaur or around Guillestre than Briançon. Monetier les Bains (part of Serre Chevalier) seems a pleasant small town based on a couple of short visits but all of that valley gets horribly busy on winter/spring weekends with the ski traffic. Don't forget there are many other ski areas which although smaller can be great fun eg the resorts in the Queyras, Puy St Vincent, etc and the skitouring is also very good in these other areas.
No knowledge on actually living there, but I was in the area just over a week ago. Staying in L'argentiere, which was really nice and had a decent sized supermarket and a small town centre.
Les Vigneaux looked really nice, and some more pleasant looking residential roads, similar situation in the town centre (and a great via ferrata!)
Hopefully that's of some use
I live just outside Les Vigneaux down from Vallouise, absolute love living here there is so much to do year round.
I would say I am in the perfect spot (Well I would wouldn't I).
for me Serre Che is a bit to touristy and can be very quite out of the main winter season (I have friends who live there and they will probably disagree)
I find I do most of my climbing (sports cragging) south of Briançon, and only really head up that way for the Cerces (great multi pitch climbing).
My local skil resort (15min away) is Puy St Vincent its a good resort some really good off piste, but its not big, plus to that is a cheap lift pass that includes days at other resorts, and its not far to any of the other bigger resorts and La Grave is 50 mins away.
Ski touring I can head up my valley in 20 mins to attack this side of the Ecrins, or its not a far drive to the serre Che/Cerces areas, and I can get to most places in the Queyras in under an hour so not to bad.
I have quick access to the N94 road so can get easily and quickly around, we house sat for friend in Puy St Vincent one summer and its a stunning place, but that extra 20 min to get any where else started to drag, yes in winter you could walk to the piste, but you will still want to head out the valley and tour in other areas.
Shops I am 5 min from L'Argentiere with two full size supermarkets (by french standard) some of the higher villages have a small (expensive) shop that may only be open in the tourist season.
Now I have finished patting myself on the back, I have to say there are lots of places round here that offer a similar deal, some of the villages you won't of heard of which is good because they then tend to be cheaper. and to be honest I would be happy living in any of the areas you mentioned.
How about when you head out here we catch up for a beer or a climb, and I would be happy to tell you of my experience, the great the not so great etc. Could maybe get some expat friend's who live in Serre Che to come to tell you why I am wrong and they are right. ;-)
drop me a email firstname.lastname@example.org
Speak to Jerry Gore at Alpbase, he'll point you in the right direction
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