Samoëns is a beautiful old village and has been awarded a ‘Coq d’Or’ for being one of the prettiest villages in France, and is the only ski resort classified by the Caisse des Monuments Historiques. An hour by car from Geneva, this ancient village, famed for its stonemasons, is part of the fantastic Grand Massif ski domain and is connected to high-altitude, snowsure Flaine. The ski area incorporates five resorts – Flaine, Samoëns, Morillon, Sixt and Les Carroz. It offers 265km of well linked piste; 80 per cent of the slopes are north facing, so hold the snow well. The longest run is the 14km Les Cascades (blue) from Grandes Platières (2,480m) to Sixt via the lovely Lac de Gers refuge. For the beginner and intermediate the skiing is ideal, and there's more than enough to satisfy the expert, including the Gers bowl, with an 800m-drop of untracked skiing and a plethora of off-piste and back country terrain. Great guides are available through Zig Zag our recommended local ski school. The Portes de Soleil ski area is 20 minutes drive away (Les Gets) and Chamonix only 45 minutes
It is an all-season destination where real people live and work – a living village all year around surrounded by stunning scenery, including national parks. Samoëns is not the normal ski resort - a ghost town out of season. However, if you are looking for a party destination then this is not it.
The village is a great place as a base for visiting this fascinating area of France with Chamonix, Annecy, Evian, Megeve and the picturesque villages on the banks of Lake Geneva all within easy driving distance
Out of the ski season the valley is full of outdoor activities, walking, hiking, swimming, rafting, climbing, parascending, all types of cycling. You can access the mountains via main lifts that stay open during the summer. There are an abundance of well-marked hiking/biking trails and shorter walks including miles of level easy walking or cycling along the routes in the valley bottom along the banks of the beautiful Giffre river. Mountain and down-hill biking is particularly popular in the area which is considerably less busy than the nearby Les Gets/Morzine. If you don’t fancy the village swimming pool then Lac Bleu, where you can swim and sunbathe on the life-guarded beach, is only a few minutes’ drive or 40 minute wooded level walk.
The centre of Samoëns is traffic free, and has a beautiful square dominated by an ancient lime tree. For the self-caterer, the main street is a delight, full of gourmet shops offering mountain ham, local cheese, wine and mouth-watering pâtisseries. Every Wednesday there is a wonderful market selling local produce. There are over 20 restaurants in Samoëns and there are more restaurants in the surrounding villages. These include bistros, gourmet, traditional French Savoyard as well as take-aways and pizzerias.
Samoëns has a beautiful church, health spas, banks and cash points, doctors, numerous sports hire shops, a chemist, bars, shops, a cinema, an ice skating rink, creche, swimming pools in the summer and of course supermarkets. The Tourist Office puts on various entertainments in the village square ranging from kids' events and live music concerts to antique and crafts fairs throughout the year. And then there's the famous botanical garden, the only one of its kind in the Alps, created in 1906 and with more than 5,000 plants.