Located in the middle of the Savoie Mont Blanc region and just 57 km from Geneva, it’s the only French mountain resort classed as a national heritage site, with a church that dates back to the 12th Century and a captivating car-free main square where you can stroll around admiring the distinctive ancient buildings that reinforce its reputation as a centre for stone masonry.
The après-ski here is authentic and organic rather than the slightly formulaic options you might find in more modern resorts ̶ so while you’ll still be welcomed with open arms, think sipping vin chaud listening to an oompah or swing band by the ancient Linden Tree in the heart of the village, rather than downing toffee vodkas and dancing on tabletops (which can be great fun in the right context, mind you!). The snow conditions and skiing quality in Samoens are superb ̶ the resort’s altitude of 1600 m and geographical location mean it’s snow-sure, the ski season runs from December to April, and all pistes are proudly maintained throughout.
In Samoens there are a lot of activities to keep you, your family and friends entertained with throughout your stay. Back in the village you can go and watch a film at the cinema, go on a heritage tour of the village, and for the adults a bit of wine tasting.
Back on the snow, you can go snowshoeing to get up the mountain, or if you want a faster means of travel, you can go dog sledding. There is also the opportunity to go paragliding in Samoens.
Samoens has 133 groomed pistes, is served by 16 ski lifts, and since it has plenty of easy green, blue and red runs, it’s a great place for beginners and families. If you’re an advanced skier, there are a few black runs to challenge you, and you’ll also be more than satisfied by the on- and off-piste challenges on offer in the wider Grand Massif area. The 14 km Piste des Cascades runs all the way down to Sixt Fer à Cheval and is probably the most famous run for Samoëns skiers ̶ you can access it from the Grandes Platières cable car and the good news is that it’s graded blue, so you can feel confident tackling it if you’re an intermediate.
The 3.1 km Diamant Noir is officially the toughest run in the resort itself, but if you’ve got the guts, guile and experience, the Vallée Blanche run above Chamonix is also within reach (with a guide and the right equipment) starting from a heady altitude of over 3800 m, you can descend as far as 25 km!
The ski season at Samoens is scheduled from December to April, with all the runs maintained perfectly to ensure the best possible skiing experience.
The closest airport to Samoens is Geneva, which is located around one hour away by car. Lyon is one hour and a half away.