Samoens, 1600m France
This picturesque historic town is classed as one of the most beautiful towns in France located in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region; it holds the prestigious title of “Ville Fleurie” and the name Samonës translated means “the seven mountains” it refers to the peaks around the village and above this charming village on the mountainsides are nine small hamlets that are totally unchanged by time. Samonës has also been awarded the “Famille Plus Montagne” label which makes it the perfect holiday destination for a family ski holiday and it has one of the largest beginner slopes in the Haute-Savoie. Another important note is the restaurant terraces overlook the pistes, which enables parents to relax whilst being able to see their children taking ski lessons. The resort really has taken into consideration numerous factors in the safety and well-being, especially of children. This stunning village is not only a great ski resort but also a fabulous summer destination too. In the heart of the village, there is an impressive and well loved “lime tree” known as a meeting place and this very famous landmark has been written about by authors, musicians and poets. This magnificent lime tree was planted in 1948 and now has a circumference of 9.5m!
Samoëns is an ancient village, famous for its stonemasons and is part of Le Grand Massif ski domain. It is only an hour from Geneva and is situated on the banks of the River Giffre, within a wide glacial valley. The Grand Massif consists of five resorts – Samoëns, Flaine, Morillon, Sixt and Les Carroz – offering 265km of piste, with 80% of the slopes North facing, meaning they hold the snow well. There is a new lift (the Grand Massif Express) at the edge of town, linking up to Samoëns 1600, also known as the Plateau des Saix. In the village of Samoëns, there are numerous examples of the talented stone cutters who gave the village its reputation for excellence, hence why most of the old houses in Samoëns are built of stone, not wood. It’s a favourite destination for many however most of the clientele is French so you really do feel you have gone away on holiday! The closest airport is Geneva which is ideal especially for the foreign visitors to Samonës; it is only around 70km from Geneva airport which makes transfers quick and easy and transfers can be arranged via shuttle bus, private car hire and taxi.
The centre of Samoëns is pedestrian only and the main street is full of gourmet shops offering mountain ham, local cheese and mouth-watering patisserie and there is a market every Wednesday which sells local produce. Not only that, but there are also some Savoyard interior designer shops offering a host of Alpine delights, both quaintly old and fashionably modern. There’s also a famous botanical garden, the only one of its kind in the Alps, which was created in 1906 and boasts more than 5,000 plants. Samoëns is the only winter sports resort to be classified by the Caisse Nationale des Monuments Historiques, the UK equivalent of a National Heritage site. There are many other activities apart from skiing in this beautiful resort the list is endless from dog sledding, snowshoeing, Nordic walking, ice climbing, snowmobiling, ski touring, Valley Blanche, off- piste skiing, heliskiing, speed-riding, sledging, ice rink, diving under ice, indoor climbing, caving, hot air balloon, paragliding, bowling, a cinema, a leisure centre, a library. Also available for added convenience is a children’s centre, baby rooms, aesthetic centres, relaxing activities and the all important massage at the end of a busy day on the slopes. Let the dedicated team soothe and relax those muscles ready for the days ahead.
You can shop until you drop if you’re fond of fresh local produce you can find it all here from bakeries and butchers to rich chocolate cakes, fondants and marzipan shops and a lovely tea room to boot! Savoie delicatessen shops serving Parma ham, Haute Savoie sausage to Savoie cheeses, fondue and Beaufort amongst other favourites. To wash all this down visit the local specialist wine shop and indulge in Champagne and Bordeaux what more could you ask for? Fabulous restaurants are on hand serving traditional French regional cooking, brassieres, creperie, fast food, grill, pizzeria, gastronomic and Mediterranean cuisine literally every taste is catered for. There are numerous bars, classy aperitif bars to family-friendly which are cosier and more relaxed, with concerts and music events this resort is ideal for families, couples and friends alike.