5 Unique Things to do in Samoens & the Grand Massif (Français)
If you're planning a winter visit to Samoens, the Grand Massif, or the Haute 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!
1. Samoens Village Centre
Samoens is the only ski resort in France to be listed as a 'Monument Historique'. The beautiful, medieval centre of Samoens without doubt sets it apart from the vast majority of ski villages around the world. As the famous Criou 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.
2. Col de Joux Plane
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 Samoens 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 / cafe with sunny terrace is also available.
3. Snowshoeing and a Fondue in a Yurt
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 Samoens 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 Samoens under the stars, followed by a delicious fondue in a Yurt? We highly recommend it!
There are a huge range of non-ski activities perfect for adults and kids including fat biking, ice skating, spas and massages, parapenting and more!
4. Ski the Stunning 14k Cascades Piste
There are many fantastic pistes in the Grand Massif but if you seek outstanding views, great skiing, and a real sense of adventure without ever leaving a piste, then the Cascades piste is the pick of the bunch. It's a massive descent of 14km and 1700 vertical metres! Be sure to stop in at the Refuge du Lac de Gers for a mid-descent drink, or lunch, on the edge of a frozen lake in a beautiful and remote valley. The refuge staff are on hand to tow you there behind their snowmobile!
Other pistes not to be missed are the Marvel (Morillon), Serpentine (Flaine), Plein Soleil / Timalets (Les Carroz) and Marmotte (Samoens).
5. Après-ski with a Difference
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 Samoens and Morillon, and we're sure you won't need any encouragement to check them out!