France is home to 11 national parks – fabulous natural playgrounds that are superb to enjoy in both winter and summer – and we are not just talking downhill skiing. Four of the parks are in the mountains, a paradise for snow-shoeing through fairytale landscapes, ice-climbing, snow scootering (yes it’s a thing), igloo-building and even astronomy. Here we’ve picked properties in three of the national parks that are perfectly placed to enjoy nature.
Les Ecrins National Park…
… is a steep passage between the Northern and Southern Alps with a deep valley between 15 mighty peaks. It’s 20km from Briancon, the highest town in the EU! But this park is perfect for hikers and gourmets, with its locally produced cheese, honey, meat, and more. This is a great two-bedroom ski apartment with a balcony in Serre Chevalier – with change from €300k!
Mercantour National Park…
… is where the Southern Alps reach the Mediterranean Sea – nestled close to Monaco and the Italian border. If that hasn’t sold it already, we can mention its wild beauty, its lack of light pollution that makes it game for star-gazing, perched villages on vertiginous peaks, as well as the chance to spot ibex, marmots, and chamois. This is a wonderful two-bedroom ski lodge in Auron, with nature on its doorstep.
The Pyrenees National Park
Nestled against the Spanish border, the Pyrenees are already a popular place for home buyers. There’s the world-class road-biking climbs that feature in the Tour de France, the ski resorts and spa towns, and authentic story-book villages and chateaux. Moonlit snow-shoeing anyone? This three-bedroom house in Salles, renovated with traditional style, makes full use of the superb views.