My experience of buying a home in the Italian Alps.

My experience of buying a home in the Italian Alps.

My experience of buying a home in the Italian Alps.

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In August this year, I had the great surprise of my mum telling me she wanted to give me an advanced inheritance. She knew I always wanted to have a home in the mountains, but there was no way that I could afford it with my salary and that of with my husbands’. We were vacationing in Normandie when she told me so. I could not hold my excitement and started looking in all real estate websites.

Going in our ride from GVA to Courmayeur. My experience of buying a home in the Italian Alps.
Going in our ride from GVA to Courmayeur. My experience of buying a home in the Italian Alps.

I’ve started with some of the British ones, but sooner came to check the Italian websites. The Guide to Buying a Home in Italy gave me lots of ideas of how to start and the contact of my property lawyer: Alessandro Clemente, who was great! I’ve talked to him before starting and he told me all the things I needed to take into account when going to scout properties. That was very important as I could have done all things wrong if I was not in the know.

We’ve planned to have a short trip end of August to visit some places. Idealista website was the one I’ve finished using to seeing the different offers and sorting what I want to do and an agenda on how we were going to go around. At first, I was thinking in two areas: Courmayeur and Cervinia. I’ve seen some flats in Cervinia – (Valtourneche really) with views of the Monte Cervino that seemed fabulous. Digging a bit more into what they were offering, this was part of a programme where you need to use your flat only some weeks and the rest the administration of the building takes care of it and rents it out. That kind of discouraged me because I wanted to have the option that if in the future I want to move to Italy, I have a place! Then talking to my mum, she told me that if I like so much Courmayeur and the Valdigne (the Valley of the Mont Blanc), why don’t I focus on that area only. Which really made my job easier in focusing how to use our three days better.

The balcony at the Gran Baita Hotel with a view of the Dente del Gigante - even though a cloud is covering it at the time. My experience of buying a home in the Italian Alps.
The balcony at the Gran Baita Hotel with a view of the Dente del Gigante – even though a cloud is covering it at the time. My experience of buying a home in the Italian Alps.

Got the flights to Geneva and transfers to Courmayeur. Got the hotel (Gran Baita) in Courmayeur and started looking each day at the Idealista website and sorting which flats I would want to visit. I had two weeks to talk to everyone and sort a pretty busy agenda. I’ve started to get excited!

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A Foodie Guide to on-Mountain Dining in Courmayeur.

Maison Vielle with the Mont Blanc in the backdrop - the place to eat in the mountain- Photo credit: The-Ski-Guru. A Foodie Guide to on-Mountain Dining in Courmayeur.

A Foodie Guide to on-Mountain Dining in Courmayeur.

Courmayeur Mont Blanc is a well renown ski resort for its vistas and also for its food! Stopping while skiing or boarding for coffee, hot chocolate or an aperitivo, plus having lunch, is part of what makes Courmayeur so special. However, with so much offer, you have to think where you want to go, and if not lining up for a sandwich, then you need to make a reservation early on if you want to eat in a specific restaurant! This is more so if you are visiting when it is high season. You can attempt to ski into the restaurant early morning and reserve a table there or do so over the phone. I’ve seen that also some restaurants are accepting reservations online.  In very high season, it would not be a bad idea to book your table even a day or more in advance.

Restaurant Christiana in the base of Plan Chécrouit. A Foodie Guide to on-Mountain Dining in Courmayeur.
Restaurant Christiana in the base of Plan Chécrouit. A Foodie Guide to on-Mountain Dining in Courmayeur.

As you know, the mountain of Courmayeur is divided in two sides: The Plan Chécrouit side – accessed from the centre of Courmayeur with the Armani funicular or from Dolonne with the cable car, and the Val Veny side, reached by the Courmayeur funicular from the parking lot of Val Veny, located just before the start of the Mont Blanc Tunnel, and across from the Skyway rotating gondola parking lot. I am only focusing on the restaurants in the mountain in this post, not on Skyway (maybe on another post in the future I’ll do that!)

Plan Chécrouit Side:

Bar du Soleil – As soon as you get up the funicular or gondola, you go towards the ski schools in Plan Chécrouit and you’ll find it on the left-hand side, across from the ski schools. Mario and Luisa are your hosts. It is a place of good value for money, a typical quick place for a coffee before dropping your kids at ski school and to grab a good pizza and pasta for decent prices. It has a big terrace to eat outside. Dogs are allowed.

Cafe Bar du Soleil in Plan Chécrouit.A Foodie Guide to on-Mountain Dining in Courmayeur.
Cafe Bar du Soleil in Plan Chécrouit.A Foodie Guide to on-Mountain Dining in Courmayeur.

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