If you're planning a winter visit to Samoëns, the Grand Massif, or the Haut-Giffre valley, then you've come to the right place because we've compiled a 'must-do' list which you really, really shouldn't miss out on! We've left out the obvious ones, skiing and snowboarding, because everyone should know just how good the Grand Massif ski area is. But if you don't, then we've got all the information you'll need!
Samoëns is the only ski resort in France to be listed as a 'Monument Historique'. The beautiful, medieval centre of Samoëns without doubt sets it apart from the vast majority of ski villages around the world. As the iconic Criou mountain towers overhead in spectacular fashion, there can be no doubting your location in the world. Stroll the snowy streets and take in authentic architecture and numerous local shops, cafes, restaurants and bakeries. As a real working village you can mix in with the locals at the weekly market and buy fresh produce from a variety of local suppliers.
There are numerous events and activities arranged by the Tourist Office through the ski season, with highlights including the stunning 'Village de Noel' during the Christmas period, firework shows, music, kid's games, guided historic tours and much more! They all help to generate a wonderful vibe around town during the winter months.
A feared road cycling route made famous by the Tour de France, the Col de Joux Plane is also a winter paradise. Take a scenic bus ride from Samoëns tourist office through sleepy hamlets up to the snowy col at 1800m altitude. Up there you'll find a variety of activities on offer such as excellent cross country skiing, marked snowshoe and walking routes, and a kids sledging area. All of this is enjoyed to a backdrop of stunning views, including Mont Blanc, while a restaurant with sunny terrace is also available.
If you want to explore our wonderful natural environment but you can't ski, don't want to ski, or just fancy a change, then we'd highly recommend snowshoeing. There are serval marked trails around Samoëns and Morillon, up on the Col de Joux Plane, or at the Cirque du Fer-a-Cheval in Sixt. Alternatively, if you're looking for maximum adventure then hire a guide and they'll help you to get the most from our mountains. How about an evening exploring the forests above Samoëns under the stars, followed by a delicious fondue in a Yurt? We highly recommend it!
If dancing on tables and loud music are not your thing, then try out these more relaxed après-ski ideas. Head to Popcorn Vintage in the main square for great coffee, craft beer and cider, and yummy tapas. You can even pick out a few presents or treat yourself to something from this fabulous boutique shop! Or how about an après-ski drink or two at l'Après-Ski, known locally as 'Jeffs', where you'll find what is possibly the best vin chaud (and cake!) in the valley! There is always a great buzz around the heated outdoor seating area which is the perfect place to relax and watch the world go by. There are lots of other excellent apres-ski options in Samoëns and Morillon, and we're sure you won't need any encouragement to check them out!
Yes, you read that correctly. Nunayak are providing the first ever winter river descent in France, from Sixt to Samoëns. They provide all the equipment to ensure you stay safe and warm! More info
There are so many things to do in the valley away from the ski pistes! For a comprehensive list, check out our non-ski activities page.