The two valleys are to be found just south of lake Geneva and just west of the border with Switzerland in the French Alps. The Morzine valley includes the villages of La Forclaz, La Vernaz, La Baume, Seytroux, Le Biot, St Jean d’Aulps, Essert Romand, La Côte d’Arbroz and the village/ski resorts of Morzine/Avoriaz, La Grande Terche and Les Gets. The Abondance valley includes the villages of Chevenoz, Vacheresse, Bonnevaux, Abondance and the village/ski resorts of the Col de Corbier, La Chapelle d’Abondance and Chatel.
Both valleys are gateways to the famous Portes du Soleil skiing domain, which boasts 12 resorts in 2 countries and 650km of slopes.
The two valleys are both halfway between lake Geneva in Thonon and the mountain resorts of Morzine and Chatel. This perfect location means that summer in the two valleys now attracts nearly as many visitors as the ski season. Geneva airport is just over an hour away, making it possible to come and stay for weekends without losing lots of time in transfer. Chamonix and Mont Blanc are also just over an hour away as is the beautiful city of Annecy which is famous for its lake, its canals and old town and for its shopping.
The climate in the two valleys is perfect, hot enough to enjoy long months on a beach or on a boat on the lake and of course cold enough in winter for snow covered ski slopes all winter long. Spring time is beautiful as the pasture land appears from under the snow and produces fields of mountain flowers, as is the autumn when the leaves turn all shades of yellow, orange and red.
The architecture in the two valleys is greatly influenced by the neighbouring Swiss. You will find huge sprawling farmhouses, particularly in the Abondance valley and loads of chocolate shop ski chalets. High rise building has been kept to a minimum and contained to the purpose built resorts of Avoriaz and La Grande Terche. Prices in the two valleys are still lower than in the three valley resorts and the opportunity for all year round renting is much better here, due to the area’s proximity to Lake Geneva and Geneva itself.
Both valleys are famous for their abbeys, the abbey in St Jean d’Aulps has a new visitors centre and hosts a medieval festival in the summer while the abbey in Abondance still houses a church, cloisters and visitor centre. Again the Swiss influence is felt (or even tasted) in the local cuisine. Abondance produces a cheese that is famous around France, while other specialties include of course, fondue, raclette and charcuterie.
The annual events calendar in the area is exceptional and caters for all tastes: you can even experience events in two different countries! Just a few things you can enjoy all within an hour or two drive away include: the Mont Blanc rally in September, the autumn wine fair in St Jean d’Aulps, the Geneva and Montreux Christmas markets, World cup skiing and snowboarding events in the Portes du Soleil, world cup mountain biking and paragliding events in Les Gets and the spectacular 4th of July firework displays on lake Annecy.
If you are looking to move to the 2 valleys permanently, the local schools and services are excellent. The local hospital is situated in Thonon and the commute to Geneva is just over an hour. Work is quite easy to find particularly ‘in season’ and for all types of tradesmen. Salaries are lower than in the UK so expect a drop in salary but a raise in your quality of life!