UKC

Moving to France in order to climb more. What is the ideal location?

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 raam86 23 Nov 2021

I see this is a recurring topic but I would love to hear more about my specific question. 

Basically title, I was thinking Chamonix as it has a sizeable English speaking community and access to ice and mixed during winter (as well as skiing). However I saw some users comment that there are better places to live with better weather so I would love to hear about that. I would like to avoid tiny villages though if possible and so Briançon is probably a bad fit unless i misunderstood the place. 

thanks in advance

 Doug 23 Nov 2021
In reply to raam86:

Briançon is a reasonably large town, not a village

 Fergal 23 Nov 2021
In reply to raam86:

How easy is it to move? 

 Martin Bennett 23 Nov 2021
In reply to raam86:

The city of Briancon, I feel sure, has a higher permanent population than Chamonix. It undoubtedly has better weather.

 yorkshireman 23 Nov 2021
In reply to Martin Bennett:

It does (12k to 9k respectively). 

Surely it depends on what the OP is looking for. Are they coming to do a season as a climbing bum or looking for somewhere to live/make a life that happens to have great access to climbing?

 GDes 23 Nov 2021
In reply to raam86:

Briancon would be an amazing base. Great rock climbing (although you'd need to drive for a while in winter). It's a decent sized town with plenty going on. 

 raam86 23 Nov 2021
In reply to Fergal:

pretty easy I think! i was considering short term air bnbs for a while until i got a feel for the area as well 

 raam86 23 Nov 2021
In reply to yorkshireman:

I will be working remotely so not bumming. The idea is to live near a place that i can walk / drive 10 minutes to before/ after work or on the weekend. Definitely a long term thing. 

 raam86 23 Nov 2021
In reply to Doug:

Thanks Doug, I was never there so I was hoping to be wrong. do you have any recommendations? things i should look into? 

 wbo2 23 Nov 2021
In reply to raam86: I assume you have EU citizenship.  Also will you be registered for tax purposes there? Other than that  it's the same as moving anywhere else

 raam86 23 Nov 2021
In reply to wbo2:

yes, agreed. and yes to all the questions 

 treesrockice 23 Nov 2021
In reply to raam86:

Grenoble no? Big(ger) city thus big community/scene too, with rock in the city.

Presumably similar to briancon but bigger?

In reply to raam86:

Briancon has a lot of ice climbing and skiing in the winter. The Alpine climbing in the Ecrins is good but not up to the standard of Chamonix.

 yorkshireman 23 Nov 2021
In reply to raam86:

> I will be working remotely so not bumming. The idea is to live near a place that i can walk / drive 10 minutes to before/ after work or on the weekend. Definitely a long term thing. 

Great because in my opinion it makes a difference. I live in a small mountain town outside Grenoble but the place is big enough to have a community and isn't overly reliant on tourism and agriculture (since commuting to Grenoble is feasible) which means you can live a 'normal' life which will be important once the novelty of easy crag and mountain access wears off. 

I work remotely too (but officially through the French entity of a global company) but got in 10 years ago so Brexit wasn't an issue. If you don't have an EU passport things will obviously be more difficult than when we just loaded up the car and drove over making it up as we went along but maybe you've got this all sewn up. You can fly under the radar for a while but I wouldn't recommend it. 

 racodemisa 23 Nov 2021
In reply to raam86:

Gap is a nice town no climbing you can walk to but lots of world class climbing(eg ceuse..and southern Briancon area ) within 20-45 mins away.Easy access to Provence.Very active local climbing scene.2 climbing gyms where you could hook up with partners possibly.

 Kevster 23 Nov 2021
In reply to raam86:

Another question you may have is how easy are partners to come by? A friend in Chamonix struggled finding partners of the right ability/ ambition. May just have been them.... 

In reply to raam86:

> I will be working remotely so not bumming. 

 

Suit you sir!!

In reply to Fergal:

> How easy is it to move? 

What? Move Briancon?  Quite difficult I reckon. 

In reply to Bottom Clinger:

Seriously dudes, I’ve been to Briancon loads. One of my Bessie mates lives nearby and when I used to climb ice one of may favourite places to eat was here...


In reply to raam86:

Hi raam86,

I live 20 mins from Briancon, I moved here for the climbing, skiing, kayaking and walking. over all it one of the best adventure playgrounds in the world. 

rock climbing is amazing with everything to go at from, good bouldering venues, sports climbing across 6 different rock types 3300+ routes. lots of multi pitch and alpine rock.

The alpine climbing is not going to be as good as Chamonix and some other places but it does have some good stuff and as packages with the other activities its hard to beat.

For ice there are lots of ice and mixed venues, from Valley cragging ice to high mountain lines, the season for ice is maybe not as long as it once was, but you can always find something to climb.

local ice climbing festival - https://ice-climbing-ecrins.com/#teasers17

Skiing, for resorts there are loads to go at from the very big to little 3 or 4 lift local resorts, and you are about 1 hour from La grave. for ski touring there is loads to go at here is a link to a talk I did recently on ski touring here -  youtube.com/watch?v=ty13NurYC7g&

Walking is amazing to as you are on the junction of the Ecrins nation park, the Quyeyras regional park and the Cerces. So more than you could do in a few life times.

Lots of other activities such as some of the best kayaking in France, 26 via ferrata. and road and mountain biking that is amazing.

To top it of it gets the most settled weather in the alps, so you get out more.

Briancon is a city (a very small one) but will have most of the stuff you need. kind of depends why your prefer a city? 

The down side the travel links aren't great, nearest airport is Turin 2 hours away. 

in terms of expats/English speakers they do tend to be a bit spaced out, Briancon is the start off the serre Che ski area and you get quite a lot based in the different areas of this resort. you also have the Vallouise valley which is probably more where the climbers are based but this is in smaller villages.

If you have any questions or would like to chat about what its like here, feel free to get in touch.

rob@ecrinscollective.com

 wbo2 24 Nov 2021
In reply to raam86:  Bouldering is a good point to bear in mind , esp. if you want to climb early in the morning as you're not reliant on partners.  

 Lankyman 24 Nov 2021
In reply to Bottom Clinger:

Do they have a spit roast at the Coq Hot?

 raam86 24 Nov 2021
In reply to ecrinscollective:

amazing reply, thank you very much. 

will email! 

 raam86 24 Nov 2021
In reply to Kevster:

I do notice Ski is the big deal here here but seems to be a bunch of facebook groups as well 

 raam86 24 Nov 2021
In reply to yorkshireman:

I am in a very similar situation actually… I do think i am too old to bum and also i would like this to be a long term thing which will be hard with a van i reckon 


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