A charming Swiss resort in the Portes du Soleil
Champéry is one of Switzerland’s oldest tourist destinations and is a charming village with traditional slate roofs and hand carved balconies. The village is filled with small shops, restaurants and bars. With a large cable car and a new 6-seater gondola now in operation it is possible to enjoy this quiet Swiss mountain village whilst indulging in the vast Portes du Soleil network on its doorstep. Skiing here suits all abilities with easy access to the French resorts of Avoriaz and Châtel. The Champéry Palladium sports centre hosts the Skating School of Switzerland as well as indoor and outdoor swimming pools, tennis courts, basketball and volleyball. The surrounding mountains provide extensive hiking and biking options.
Property for Sale in Champéry
How about ski chalets and apartments for sale in Champéry? There is a handful of new build two, three and four bedroom property developments in the village and a relatively limited amount of resale property compared with many other Swiss resorts. While there is no ski in-ski out property, the resort’s modern infrastructure, extensive winter and summer activities and proximity to Geneva mean prices have fallen less here over the last five years than in other Swiss resorts.
A Guide to Champéry
Champéry has a rich history. For centuries it was a stop on the ancient smuggling routes through the Val d’Illiez in Valais. Swiss mercenaries from Champéry fought for Napoleon during his campaigns. It lays claim to being one of Switzerland’s oldest tourist resorts dating from 1857. Wealthy British travellers on their Grand Tour of Europe found the pretty village at the foot of the majestic Dents-du-Midi and Dents Blanches mountain ranges to their liking, and the first hotel was built. A railway followed in 1897 and in 1939 one if Switzerland’s first ski lifts. Despite this long history Champéry has maintained its charm and its development has been sympathetic to its roots. It feels more like a mountain village than a ski resort, there being no ski runs down to the resort itself. Accommodation is a mixture of hotels, apartments and self-catered chalets. Access is easy, Geneva airport is 1.5 hours by car.
Champéry ski area
Champéry is the largest resort on the Swiss-side of the Portes du Soleil. The resort sits at 1050 metres altitude and a 125-person cable car whisks you up to the skiing at 2000 metres in just five minutes. Alternatively take a free bus ride a few minutes up the valley to Le Grand Paradis and a fast six-seat chairlift. From here at the Planachaux bowl you have the 650km and 194 ski lifts of one the world’s largest ski areas at your fingertips. Champéry’s pistes are mostly open and sunny. There is no direct ski access back to the village, skiers must either take the cable car back or if snow conditions permit it, ski down to the Grand Paradis and return by free bus.
The beginner runs are all around Planachaux, however they can be quite challenging for skiers and boarders alike. There is a good selection of runs that link at Les Crosets, some nice long cruise runs as well as tree-lined descents to Morgins. Confident intermediates can really take advantage of the access to the wider Portes du Soleil ski area. On the Swiss side of the Pas de Chavanette, the famous Swiss Wall is an ungroomed itinéraire with enormous moguls forming quickly after fresh snowfall. Elsewhere there is some tremendous off-piste and powder to be found for both skiers and boarders who can also find terrain parks in Avoriaz, Morgins, Champoussin, Torgon and the Superpark at Les Crosets. There is a small amount of cross-country skiing, 150km of snowshoe trails, curling, ice-climbing and skating at the Palladium National Ice Sports Centre.
Après Ski in Champéry
The après ski scene in Champèry is mostly hotel based though there is a selection of bars and nightclubs. Mitchell’s has a large terrace which gets very busy in season.
Eating Out in Champèry
There is a wide selection of mountain restaurants starting with the Croix-de-Culet in the cable car station. Chez Coquoz above the village has over 200 wines to chose from and delicious home-made ice creams.
The Café du Centre is a popular restaurant in an historic village building. The Farinet is famous for its steak frites, and also has a nightclub. Try Chez Joe for American classics and Restaurant 42 for French cuisine.
Summer in Champèry
Champéry is a joy in the summer with access to the 800km of hiking trails and 600km of biking trails across the area. The Portes du Soleil Tour is open from the end of June to the beginning of September. Starting from any resort in the area, it is served by 21 lifts. It takes in 1000 metres of positive altitude difference and 6000 metres of negative altitude difference. Mountain bikers have a choice of 50 downhill trails, 5 bikeparks and various circuits. Other activities include indoor and outdoor swimming pools, Via Ferrata, rock climbing, a climbing wall at the Palladium, tennis, paragliding and more. The thermal bath complex is just down the hill at Val d’Illiez.
For more details on Mountain Biking in Champèry, check out our blog: Where to go Mountain Biking in the Alps
If Alpine property for sale in the Champéry area is not of interest, consider properties nearby in Villars.
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