Samoëns is part of the Grand Massif ski domain, which consists of five resorts: Flaine, Samoëns, Morillon, Sixt and Les Carroz. While there has been recent development in the area, Samoëns has maintained its rustic charm. In fact, Samoëns is the only resort in France to be designated a historical monument. There are medieval fountains, nine chapels dating back to the 15th century, and many other shrines and rustic buildings. Samoëns has a long tradition of stonecutters, and evidence of that is visible everywhere. It is a charming old village with many attractions besides its ski slopes and is delightfully small and uncrowded compared to the main French resorts. It is also cheaper, which is a big draw.

Skiing

Skiiers of all skill levels will find something to suit them in Samoëns; the vertical rise is steep, which is great for the more advanced but there are gentler slopes for beginners and it is not a bad resort for families with varying skill levels. The longest run is the eight mile (14km) Les Cascades, a blue route from Grandes Platières to Sixt via the lovely Lac de Gers. Experts will enjoy the Gers bowl, with a 2,624 foot (800m) drop of untracked skiing. Eighty percent of the slopes are north facing, so they hold the snow well.

Restaurants

There are more than 25 restaurants in this little resort, offering a variety of cuisines and ranging from expensive to budget.

Nightlife

There isn't much nightlife to speak of in Samoens, but Covey's Irish Pub is popular with expats.

Holiday activities

There are fewer high-tech amenities in Samoens, but many fun activities visitors won't find in other resorts, such as horse and carriage rides, farm tours at the Ecomuseum Farm le Clos Parchet, and the nearby national park, Cirque du Fer-a-Cheval, which offers activities such as whitewater rafting, kayaking, hiking and mountain climbing. The town also hosts a weekly market, and there is a public pool and waterslide that contributes to Samoëns' popularity as a summer destination.

Any negatives?

As a smaller resort there are fewer skiing amenities and visitors cannot ski directly back to the village.

Send a link to this travel guide