I think the first time I came to Serre Chevalier was in 1997. I was on tour with my band called The Harper Brothers. As far as I remember we came for two weeks and did something like 15 gigs during that two weeks. Some days we were playing apres ski shows in bars and then doing a night-time show later on, other times we were taking all the equipment up the mountain and playing outside mounting bars. I seem to remember it was around Easter time as it was certainly very sunny and I didn’t see one flake of snow. I met some great people and I just love to see the sunshine and blue skies.
When we returned to England it was very different, it was still very cold, still very wet and I didn’t see the sun again for a long time. I think this was when I realised that I’d probably suffered from seasonal affective disorder or SAD as it is more commonly known. This all changed in 2001 when my wife and I decided to move here and try out a winter season. But that first season we lived in a caravan, sure it was cold but we did have electricity and a small electric heater. Our caravan was probably designed for a summer holiday in Cornwall, not the subzero temperatures of the Alps!
In 2003 we bought our first property in the Alps which was a two-bedroom apartment in Chantermerle. This was a superbly located apartment just two or three minute walk from the main ski lifts of Serre Chevalier. Our first daughter arrived following year in 2004 and the apartment began to feel a little overcrowded. By 2006 we were seriously looking for a house with a garden and in 2007 we found our current home just on the outskirts of Briancon.
In 2009 our second daughter was born and now the house is starting to feel a little crowded too. It will do for the moment as the location is superb and there is a wonderful school, Fortville, just a few minutes walk from our house. The view in the photograph is from about 100 m behind the location of our house. As you can see the scenery is completely breathtaking and it will be very hard to live anywhere else than here.
We are totally realistic though, and there are other places we would like to live and maybe some other places where it would be easier to work. We sometimes think about living in Spain and sometimes we think about returning to England (although maybe not permanently) and we do like to spend a reasonable amount of time in both these countries. Living in another part of France is also a possibility, we have an affinity for the Languedoc Rousillon department near the Pyrenees. In 2002 we spent a whole summer hanging around the South of France and Spain’s Costa Brava, we certainly enjoyed the sunshine and the outdoor life so maybe we will give that a go sometime. But from now our home is in Serre Chevalier and this is likely to continue that way for at least another two years.