A pretty, undiscovered rural valley village, set amid forest with easy access to the extensive alpine region of the Grand Massif.
Samoëns is the only winter and summer sports resort in France to be listed as an 'Historic Monument', an ideal holiday destination if you enjoy walking, mountain biking or a range of other summer sports but it's equally popular with visitors desiring a friendly village with its special character. Once a thriving stone-cutting centre, the medieval village still retains an ancient church, medieval fountains and a variety of old rustic buildings.
Despite recent growth on the outskirts of Samoëns, the many excellent traditional-style bars and restaurants, cobbled streets and medieval-style shops still give a feel for the 'real' rural France. Guided tours are a good way of exploring the old Samoëns village (unfortunately only in French, except for groups), and Wednesday holds a feel of the village lifestyle as it's market day in Samoëns church square.
There are many activities available in Samoëns and the surrounding areas with the rivers Giffre, Dranse, and Arve for fun in the water, and 4 ski lifts easing access to the highest points. The 18 hole Golf courses at Les Carroz and Les Gets boasts fantastic views, and uncrowded fairways. Other golfing challenges in the area include an 18 hole course at Les Gets, a 9 hole course at Avoriaz, and a practice range at Samoëns with a driving range over water and a putting green.
The Giffre and nearby Fer à Cheval provide the backdrop for endless itineraries that can be enjoyed by walkers, hikers and mountain bikers. Most activities can be enjoyed by adults and children alike, and both will enjoy the Indiana Adventure Park.
Slightly further down the Giffre Valley from Morillon (4 minutes) and just before Sixt, Samoëns is only a 20 minute drive from the motorway exit near the TGV train station of Cluses and only 55km from Geneva.
Places of interest in Samoëns
· The Great Lime Tree - this impressive tree is also extraordinarily old. It was planted in 1438 to celebrate a judgement decreed by Duke Amédée of Savoie the 5th, so to Samoëns residents it is a familiar character in the square. Samoëns’ main square is indeed named the “Great Lime Tree Square” as homage to this magnificent historical tree.
· The Dairy, Frutiere de Samoëns: Visit the gallery and see cheese manufacture, the maturing cellar, drying room, film projection, and sale of local products.
· La Ja sinia Botanic Garden: Alpine garden created in 1906 by Marie-Louise Cognacq-Jay, on 3.5 acres of land. Houses more than 2500 varieties of Alpine flora from around the world, together with waterfalls, castle ruins from the Xll century, and a chapel from the XVlll century.
· Clos Parchet Living museum: Visit this old farm and discover the history of the families from Samoëns.
Interested in buying an apartment in Samoëns? See our Buying in the Alps section