Set amid magnificent mountains on the edge of a national park, there's something magical about Auron, the largest ski area in the Alpes-Maritime. Located above the Tinée Valley just 90km north of Nice, it possesses an unmistakable air of sophistication. Forming a part of the Stations du Mercantour group along with Isola 2000 and St. Dalmas, Auron has elevations of between 1,600 and 2,450 metres.
Auron's variety and access to the French Riviera makes it a firm favourite with property investors. Well considered infrastructure, awesome natural beauty, diverse slopes and plenty of return visitors mean it's likely to retain that popularity for years to come. There's something here for every kind of mountain lover!
Living in Auron and Things To Do
The resort was established in the 1930s and has three ski areas - Las Donnas, Sauma Longue and Demandols - with over 135 kilometres of diverse slopes. There's something for every ability at Auron. Beginners can enjoy 60 kilometres of 'easy' blue runs. There are 45 kilometres of more challenging red runs and another 30 kilometres of black runs for 'intermediate' and 'expert' skiers alike. This diversity makes Auron a great base for mixed ability groups. It’s a resort where people experience their very first ski adventure and then return again and again as their confidence and ability improves.
Should you need a change from the slopes, Auron also offers opportunities to enjoy snowshoe hiking, tobogganing and snowboarding in the snow parks. You can eat in cosy alpine huts with magnificent views of the mountains or enjoy the many restaurants and bars across the resort. Le Slalom and Le Bataclan are two popular eating places with their range of traditional cuisine and fantastic local ingredients.
Auron Leisure and Culture
Linked to Auron by gondola ski-lift, the small town of Saint Etienne-de-Tinée has a wealth of history to explore. Its old, narrow streets open out on to squares edged by brightly painted buildings. From here, you can join the Route de la Bonette, which is the highest road in Europe. It takes a steady nerve to negotiate the hairpin bends as it passes over the 2,715 metre-altitude Col de la Bonette beside the 2,802 metre peak of Cime de la Bonette.
Serving as the gateway to the Mercantour National Park and a stunning landscape of mountains, valleys, idyllic villages, olive trees, pine and larch, the area offers a wealth of attractions for lovers of the natural world. Home to wolves and lynx, this is France at its wildest and most untamed.
Saint Etienne-de-Tinée has a wide range of sporting facilities and activities for all the family, from yoga to badminton. From here, you can join guided excursions into the Mercantour National Park, enjoy a coffee in a pavement cafe and immerse yourself in the unique culture that has been preserved in the town. The cuisine combines traditional Alpine favourites with Provençal influences. Auron itself features a beautiful church consecrated to St. Erige with a Romanesque belfry and timber roofing, characteristic of the alpine region. Despite their popularity, Auron and Saint Etienne-de-Tinée have remained unspoiled.
If you tire of the mountains Nice, with its museums, old town and stunning coastline, is less than two hours' drive away and is easily accessed via a regular bus service.
Snow and Weather Report in Auron
The season in Auron runs from early December through to the end of April. The 2017 season saw 483 centimetres of snow over 27 snowfall days. The biggest single fall in one day was 51 centimetres. The average base depth was 94 centimetres, while at the summit it was 149 centimetres. The snow is fairly consistent and half of the total length of Auron's trails are covered by 281 snow cannons. For updated snow and weather reports, take a look at our Auron resort guide here.
Investment Potential in Auron
The combination of superb location, traditional culture, diverse skiing and breath-taking natural setting has helped Auron remain an excellent place for the discerning investor. With its mountain trails, Auron is an all-year-round resort. Its popularity with weekenders from the large cities to the south means that there's always steady tourist footfall.
Contemporary apartments offer an easy lock-up and leave solution for someone who wants a mountain bolthole, while traditional chalets make for romantic holiday homes. Contemporary houses that are in tune with local traditions and the prevailing geography are a popular choice for those who want to combine modern comforts with mountain living.
The Alpes-Maritimes Department - of which Auron is a part - is investing heavily in new roads and services for the young and elderly.
Transport to Auron
Auron is just 90km from Nice and is served by the Nice Côte d'Azur International Airport. From here, you can pick up the 740 Bus which also picks up at Nice's Gare Routière Côte d'Azur railway station. It takes roughly one hour and 40 minutes to drive from the airport to Auron in regular traffic and over two hours during busy periods.