Pyrenees – guest house for sale
Completely refurbished, insulated and sold as going concern. In the high mountains. 10 mins ski resort
Summer and winter seasons : turnover of €40k+
Price reduced: € 299,000 *
This is a 5 bedroom 3-star guesthouse in a village at the end of one of those valleys in the Pyrenees which seems to snake into the heart of the high mountains. But its only 75 minutes from Toulouse (and Andorra) with easy, snow-free access to major highways.
The Vicdessos valley is one of the most exciting of the Pyrenees: winding up towards the 3000 metre peaks around Montcalm from Tarascon, it is home to a number of important prehistoric sites including the astonishing Grotte de Niaux with its paintings of bison and deer. There is a ski resort – Goulier Neige – perched on a north-facing slope and numerous trails and footpaths leading up to the high peaks on the border with Andorra. The upper stretches of the valley are often used by the Tour de France as the riders head for Massat and the fearsome Mur de Péguère by way of the Port de Lhers or on to Aulus-les-Bains and the Col de Core.
The guest house is bang in the centre of this valley – facing Montcalm – and at the foot of the climb up to the Lhers pass. This perfect location means that it can operate more or less all year round. In summer the climbing schools and the Via Ferrata attract a lot of people but for the most part it is families who enjoy hiking in the mountains. Out of season there are cyclists testing themselves against the stiff climbs, hunters looking for the abundant game in the beech forests and weekenders seeking peace and quiet from Toulouse. The winter season is short – December to February – but the presence of snow-cannon in the local ski resort means that there is a steady stream of visitors.
The house itself is one of two built in the 1930’s for the chief engineers at the local aluminium plant (since closed and dismantled). The company spared no expense on the construction of fine, three-storey houses with solid staircases and well-worked wooden doors and fittings. As befitted their status, the houses are on their own grounds above the village looking south to the high peaks.
The present owner has completely refurbished the house to modern standards – insulation, double-glazing, wiring, heating have all been overhauled – and put in a nice 10 metre pool. Each guest room has an ensuite bathroom. The main living and dining areas are spacious and well equipped, as is the kitchen. Water is heated by solar tubes on the south-facing roof. A massive soapstone wood-burner heats the entire ground floor … very cheaply.
The local village has a bakery, chemist, doctor and supermarket. Primary and secondary education are within 10 minutes. Train station is in Tarascon (12 minutes) and the nearest airports are Toulouse (75 mins) and Carcassonne (90 mins).
In 2017 the B&B managed over 491 bednights and nearly as many table d’hôte meals resulting in a gross turnover of almost €40k.
This property is sold as a going concern. There is also the possibility of buying the ‘sister’ house next door (fitted out as gites rather than B&B … for a further €295k). The positive elements – recently refurbished, good location, pool – mean that a new owner can take over with little or no risk. Development potential? We would encourage cyclists to use the B&B by putting a storage/workshop space at their disposal (in the basement). We would also build links to the local ‘high performance’ sports centre for top athletes (built on the former aluminium site) to ensure a steady flow of tenants throughout the off-season.
What’s For sale?
Renovated stone-built house – four levels
5 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, living room, dining room with soapstone woodburner, kitchen. Basement with three (unused) rooms
wood-fired soapstone woodburner and water heating by solar
10 metre swimming pool
* agency fees included reference n°: 037
more information or to arrange a viewing – email
- Ref n°: 37
- Summary: A simple B&B in the high mountains on a habitual Tour de France route. Works all year round with hikers and cyclists in the summer and mushroom-hunters and winter sports enthusiasts in winter. 5 guest rooms and a cosy communal area: the host does a table d'hôte avery evening which keeps the guests happy. There's a pool - unusual in the mountains - and above all there are those stupendous views!
- Address: Vicdessos, Occitanie
- Price: €299,000
- Commission: 4% (included in asking price)
- Bedrooms: 5
- Bathrooms: 5
- Pools: 1
South of Gascony and Toulouse, the area covered by the central Pyrenees is more or less the départements of Ariège, Haute Garonne and Hautes Pyrénées. This is where the Pyrenean range rises straight up like a wall with very little piedmont of foothill area, to a uniform height of over 3000 metres.
Seen from the plains below words like majestic and stunning are too feeble. The Pyrenees are everything one expects from a mountain range: impressive, high, easily accessible and covered in snow. Unlike the Alps they are home to a carpet of deciduous forest - beech, larch, elder - which make for real seasons as springtime green turns rich and dark in summer before fusing into reds and flame yellows in autumn.
The main cities in the region are Foix, Tarbes and Pau - all associated with ruling kings and dukes who protected their citizens from invaders and terrors both real and imaginary. Lourdes, the other big town of the region, is actually in the mountains, surrounded by towering peaks and steep valleys.
Obviously winter sports play a major role in local tourism with a number of resorts serving urbanites from Toulouse and Bordeaux as well as a smattering of foreigners. The other big attraction is spas, of which the region has many. Although some of these are 'medicalisé' (you need a prescription to take the waters), the trend is towards a more open approach with each spa town vying to provide well-being water products for the tourist.
Finally, we can't speak of the Pyrenees without mentioning cycling. The moment of truth in any Tour de France is when the riders attack mythical passes such as the Tourmalet, the Aubisque or the Port de Balès. Here, we are a few kms from the long and difficult Col de Lers and the fearsome Mur de Péguère.
On your bikes!