The Biggest and Best of Samoëns and The Grand Massif

By Barbara Allan

Samoëns in the Giffre Valley might be a quaint medieval village, but as an alpine holiday destination it sure packs a BIG punch! The facilities get bigger and better year after year. As does the list of activities and services to try. Even Samoëns’ charm gets more magical with each passing season.

Samoëns and the Grand Massif - a big slice of French paradise. Read on to find out why…

An immense winter playground

Did you know the Grand Massif ski domain is one of the world’s largest? Covering approximately 40,000 hectares, the Grand Massif offers over 265km of piste-skiing across 148 individual runs – soon to be 150. There’s also endless free-riding opportunities.  

The Grand Massif is as snowy as it is big. Thanks to its proximity to Mont Blanc, the Grand Massif consistently achieves one of the best snow records in the Alps, and with 80% of slopes north-facing, the snow here is exceptional.

The Grand Massif is also home to the longest blue run in Europe, La Piste des Cascades.  A whopping 14km descent from the summit of Flaine (2480m) to the village of Sixt takes in spectacular views as it skirts the edge of the region’s largest nature reserve.

Europe’s longest high-speed, detachable chairlift is another claim to fame; the TSD6 Coulouvrier opening in Samoëns and Morillon Christmas 2017. This feat of engineering spans more than 2.5km and will climb 944 vertical metres… in less than 10 minutes.  Capable of transporting 3000 passengers per hour, access to the vast ski domain will be quicker and easier than ever. Now that’s what we call a Christmas gift!

A leader in sustainable tourism

Do good by always doing better.’ That’s the Green Globe motto and something Grand Massif management values deeply.

Green Globe is an international certification for sustainable tourism. Leaders in green travel and responsible eco-tourism consider Green Globe the highest level of sustainability endorsement. And the Grand Massif has it!

In Autumn 2016 the Grand Massif became the world’s first ski resort to obtain Green Globe certification, with resort management and all associated services recognised for their commitment to people and the planet. And by holidaying in the Grand Massif, you too are a part of that.

An authentic French community 

Samoëns does just happen to have one of the largest ski areas on its doorstep, but it’s also rich in culture and history. In fact, Samoëns is the only winter sports resort to be classified as a national monument (Monument Historique).

Centuries of history literally line the village streets. The near 600-year-old linden tree, 100+ year-old botanical gardens, and 16th century church are just a few icons not to miss. Perhaps of greatest acclaim are Samoëns’ Frahans. The reputation of these ancient stone masons was so great during the 17th century that they were commissioned to travel as far as America to undertake major building works. They even have their own language!

Samoëns locals are fiercely proud of their cultural heritage and many guided visits exist so that you too can share in their passion. For a comprehensive list contact the Tourist Office.

A natural wonder

Nestled at the end of the Giffre Valley, a mere 10-minute drive from Samoëns, is the beautiful Sixt-Fer-A-Cheval. So beautiful it is one of only 155 villages in all of France to be a member of Les Plus Beaux Villages de France (The Most Beautiful Villages of France) – a title well-deserved.

Situated at the entrance to the largest nature reserve in the Haute-Savoie, 80% of Sixt’s territory is protected national park. It offers some of the region’s most spectacular scenery, including the famous Queen of the Alps waterfall, Cascade de Rouget. Sixt is also home to France’s second largest natural cirque, the national heritage listed Cirque du Fer a Cheval.

With improved facilities every year, an abundance of new activities and services, and of course a charm that never waivers, Samoëns and the Grand Massif truly is the ultimate destination – winter or summer. But you shouldn’t just take our word for it. Come and experience its wonder for yourself. Contact our team today and let your biggest and best holiday begin!