We have just discovered Camurac – and we both love it! It is a village set in glorious, unspoilt countryside. But, in the winter, in this property, you could lie in bed, look at the slopes, decide which to tackle today and be – in Jennifer’s phrase – “Boots On” in 10 minutes. In summer, think the same, but for randonée and picnics! The current owner, with help from an architect took a collection of very, very old farm buildings, renovated them sympathetically, added all modern comforts, ensuites to all bedrooms and hugely generous communal spaces, and created a human scale, ready made ski resort and summer outdoor playground! Icing on the cake is that he also applied for – and received – Planning Agreement for a further, seriously large, multi-unit or single family home higher up on the land. The scope to create a seriously gorgeous tourist project or family retreat is huge!
This property has a lot of land, over 4000 sqm to be exact. The lower part, adjoining the 5 bedroomed resort building, is utterly lovely – rising from the flat areas around the side and rear of the property up the slope in a series of gentle curves, starred with Autumn crocuses when we went to see it. It is hard to describe how beautifully the placement of the buildings fits into the land, giving privacy, yet within walking distance to the shops in town – but Jennifer’s photos really prove “a picture being worth a thousand words” – it’s a magical place.
The upper part of the land flattens out into a gorgeous field bounded by a “chemin rural”- literally a rural lane – and the views to every side are breathtaking. To one side you look over to Camurac’s ski station, close enough to see the ski lifts with their little cabins floating on their wires against a clear blue sky. Swing around slightly and you are looking at unspoilt countryside in every direction. Underfoot, wild flowers, and tough hill grass, with the sound of cowbells faint in the distance. It is the sort of place that is a marvellous secret, unspoilt, beautiful at all times of year, and the photos the current owner showed us of winter scenery were like a picture of a winter fairyland.
From the outside the property still looks like an old farm, natural stone walls, hugely thick, settling into the hillside with an air of having been there forever. Opposite are two barns that are currently garages – Jennifer felt that they could be converted into yet more accommodation – and she is utterly right. They could make charming, generously spaced studios for rent as gîtes. The ground floor of the property has kept its original, functioning bread oven – a huge one that could also bake pizzas – and provides a focal point for apres ski drinks and meals. There is an existing kitchen area – to meet restaurant legislation you would probably need to separate various areas for various functions but there is plenty of space to do this and still have the other half of this vast space as a dedicated restaurant area. This is just such an intelligent renovation – there is also space at ground floor that has been converted to allow people to come straight off the slopes or hiking trails, take off their skis/boots, even use the shower room if your activities included falling over a bit – as people tell me can happen – and then go directly into the restaurant/ sitting room to relax and talk over the day’s pursuits. Cleverest of all, the current owner has left sufficient space to fit an indoor pool or spa area – ideal for warming up and relaxing muscles after a hard day of fun.
The rest of the interior is equally well thought out – imagine a sitting room with a minstrel’s gallery above, large enough to provide a second, generous sitting room – imagine the “dortoir” space with more than one bed, often used as a dormitory for children and teens – imagine 5 generous bedrooms, all with their own en suites and some with their own mezzanine beneath the cathedral ceilings for reading/ television/ workspace. The design is simple and functional yet everywhere we looked we found delightful detail – double doors with a fanlight above that came from a chateau and have been incorporated into the design – the original beams that have been lovingly restored and reused – beam ends that have been handcarved to the original design. It is these personal touches that set this property apart – it is unique – it has been created, lovingly, over a 10 year period by the current owners using top quality materials and local craftsmen – and it really shows.
Jennifer and I both know that ski properties in Andorra are becoming very sought after – with a price tag to match. Camurac is, as yet, largely undiscovered. It is very close to Ax les Thermes and about 45 minutes from Andorra itself. Yet this fabulous property is significantly more affordable. We reached the price at which it is offered for sale by evaluating completed price then deducting build costs for the second property – and we both feel that this offers astounding value as an investment property. It really is one of those “get in at the ground floor” properties – the sort of property that we all kick ourselves for not buying 5 / 10 years before prices rocket. Even if you choose to not develop the second property for some years, we believe that you will have an appreciating asset that will offer you a very generous return on your original investment. Equally, you could decide to sell on part of the land – the part with planning permission – and keep a huge and luxurious family home to simply enjoy yourselves. Wonderful choices to make – (1) to develop fully / (2) to just live in and enjoy / (3) to part develop – possibly choosing to run a restaurant and offer some accommodation / (4) to build a home further up and enjoy the income stream from the original property – which has a proven income capacity (figures available) – in all this is a rarity and an utter joy.
To precis :
- Building Plot with Permissions
- Central Heating - Oil
- Chambre d'Hôtes Option
- Equestrian Potential
- Office space