‘You want us to be guinea pigs?’ I said.
‘Yes,’ said Kat and Stuart Pagram, young newly-weds, recently moved to France from the United Kingdom. ‘We need you to test our new chalet – the food, beds, bathroom, hot tub and sauna.’
Well, who could say no to an offer like that? So I drove to the picturesque French alpine village of Bourg-Saint-Maurice…
Chalet des Sangliers
Based in the Paradiski area of Les Arcs & La Plagne, the second largest skiing area in the world, Chalet des Sangliers, within walking distance to the town centre, as well as Super U and Intermarché supermarkets, was easy to locate.
Bourg-Saint-Maurice railway station is located just a few minutes from the chalet, and the ski train from St Pancras International, London, arrives Saturday mornings or evenings in Bourg-Saint-Maurice. You can also fly in, with direct transfer from the local airports of Chambéry/Grenoble/Geneva.
Comfortably ensconced in the cosy living area, with views across the snow-capped peaks, a glass of cool French white wine in hand, I asked Kat and Stuart about the story behind their dream chalet.
When did you get the idea of a winter/summer chalet, and why France?
We had the idea about six years ago of moving to France and running a business. As we both love skiing and Stu loves mountain biking, we thought a chalet in the Alps would be perfect!
Was it a lot of hard work, to achieve your dream?
We realised that we needed to have the capital to be able to move and didn’t want to have the pressure of a huge mortgage in France. In the UK we worked at our day jobs and in the evenings we completely renovated our house and built a two-level extension then sold it at a profit, investing the money in to our new French home. Since moving here in October, we’ve worked day and night to make Chalet des Sangliers gorgeous, but it’s been worth it!
Our chalet sleeps eight adults and two children in four en-suite bedrooms. Each bedroom has a hotel-quality pocket sprung bed (twin or super-king double), UK Freesat television, Egyptian cotton towels and bed linen are provided along with bath robes.
Did you look at a lot of places before choosing this one?
We spent a long time looking online at different ski resorts. And we took two trips with our Land Rover and roof tent exploring the Alps, staying in the different areas we were thinking about. We narrowed it down to Paradiski, Alpe D’Huez, Les Deux Alpes and Morillon, based on the summer mountain bike trade as well as the winter ski trade. We lined up chalets to view in each area and then ruled out all except Paradiski. As we were going to live in the Alps all year the summer season was important to both of us, as well as the sense of community. We fell in love with our house the moment we saw it. We put an offer in the next day which was accepted and the rest is history!
The amount of paperwork you have to do is unreal compared to the UK! Just trying to register a business or even a doctor seems to take forever! Luckily we have Stu’s French mum as our official translator, which really helps. We love that everyone says ‘Bonjour’ to each other and people are very friendly and welcoming.
Well I’m sure guests will be knocking down the door of Chalet des Sangliers, Kat, to stay in such a wonderful place!
The Chalet des Sangliers is not only a winter skiing getaway. In summer, there are many activities to enjoy, from lift-assisted mountain biking to road cycling (into Italy!), hiking or kayaking/canoeing… and much, much more.
In the Winter, there’s no better way to relax those aching muscles after a great day skiing at La Rosière, than to hop in the 8-person, wood-fuelled hot tub. Oh là là! And then to enjoy some of Kat’s delicious home cooking.
By Liza Perrat, an Australian author who lives in France. Find out more about Liza on her Website