Snowgums is our wonderful, renovated, old farmhouse on the edge of Briancon, on the Serre Chevalier side. We are a quirky chalet with heaps of character in a quiet village and with a large walled garden and huge field in front of the house, great for sledging in the winter, that runs down to the glacial Guisane river which you can hear from our garden. It is a great spot for families, visitors with dogs, and those who want a calm and tranquil holiday, and yet with the convenience of everything you need, shops, all facilities and two ski stations, Briancon and Chantemerle, within five minutes of the house.
The farmhouse was built around 1770, and has all the typical features of farmhouses in the area, four levels of vaulted ceilings, and beamed ceilings throughout all the other rooms, plus a few unique features such as the beautiful wooden ceiling in the main room of apartment 1, and the quirky 'peek-a-boo' hand holds in the beautiful old stairway. We have also converted a small hay barn in the garden into a great play house for children, complete with it's own old step ladder to climb into it.
We are blessed to be working with local artisans trained in conservation work on national monuments, and are renovating the farmhouse using authentic traditional materials and techniques such as the local wood, larch, and lime for re-creating interior wall finishes. Wherever possible we re-use materials, such as old doors and beams, and source other materials and decoration for the apartments at vide grenieres (attic clearouts). The apartments are a wonderful mix of practical modern convenience, such as wifi throughout, and plenty of hot water heated by all the sunshine we have here - 300 days a year!, and traditional wisdom, such as metre thick walls which keep you cool in the hot summers!
From Snowgums' garden you can hear marmot, cowbells, cuckoo, and owl. We leave the grass to grow as a wildflower meadow, each year bursting forth in layer after layer of colour, each time with flowers we haven't seen before. In early summer there are a carpet of wild strawberries growing over the top half of the garden, and we have lots of different fruit trees and bushes, including raspberries, cherries, apples, plums, blueberries and redcurrants. Sometimes we have goats, sheep or even a horse and donkey, in to graze the garden. If you are very lucky you might see our resident hedgehog, Frank. Children are welcome to play in the garden, and the converted hay barn which is now a cool Club House/ Wendy House, whilst adults may prefer to use the BBQ to prepare dinner, relax with a glass of wine in the shade of the cherry trees, or enjoy the magnificent mountain views from the bench at the top of the garden.
For your winter visit we provide a ski boot room, and there is an extensive games cupboard for all ages, and books for all ages. There is a free ski bus from near the house, running half-hourly to Chantemerle, dropping you right in front of the cable car and saving you the hassle of snowchains, digging out the car, parking etc. We encourage visitors to think about coming here by train, overnight from Paris or by TGV fast train to near here, as for a winter trip you don't need to have a car once you are here. We also work with a great ski hire shop at Chantemerle which offers our clients 25 - 40% discount off their ski hire.
Spring, summer and autumn there is also so much to do here, see our what's on page, both close by and a lifetime's exploring within an hour of here. We have excellent, safe bike storage in the ski boot room at street level.
We look forward to welcoming you to Snowgums!