"Samoens is one of the prettiest towns in the French Alps, and it's the perfect year round destination. The ski area is as extensive as the name "Grand Massif" would suggest, and while busy weeks can see some crowds, the resort is a great option for families." - Rob Keddy
With a medieval centre and status as a French heritage site, Samoens is one of the prettiest ski towns in Europe. The heart of the resort is traffic-free, with the town square hosting markets and events throughout the year, while the range of traditional shops and quaint bars and restaurants is excellent. Samoens is a family resort, with plenty of activities for kids and adults alike.
There is a market on Wednesdays that sells local produce, and several Savoyarde shops full of bric-a-brack like old skis and bear skin rugs. The famous botanical garden, created in 1906 and the only one of its kind in the Alps, is located right in the centre of the town. It has over 5000 plants and is one of the most attractive features in the village during the summer months.
Skiers can park right at the bottom of the lift in the mornings, or drive to Samoens 1600 where you can get access to the slopes without using the gondola from Samoens itself. There are no ski slopes right the way down to Samoens itself, but this town is about far more than ski-in ski-out access. With Geneva only an hour and fifteen minutes away, the resort is an excellent weekend destination.
The Samoens slopes are excellent for intermediate skiers, and as a part of the Grand Massif it has access to an excellent variety of slopes from tricky black runs to gentle green tree lined trails. The slopes of Les Carroz and Morillon offer some interesting and varied skiing, while Flaine has some more challenging pistes.
The route down to Sixt can boast some of the most stunning scenery in the Alps, with the tricky Gers Bowl offering some of the best powder skiing in the area. The long Cascades run is a fantastic way to enjoy the scenery, while a restaurant towards the bottom offers lakeside dining, with a snowmobile to pick you up from below the restaurant.
There's something for everyone in this resort, with an intermediate freestyle zone that always proves popular amongst the kids and a variety of rolling slopes leading to quaint Savoyarde mountain huts. Boasting a summit of 2120m and a ski base of 1600m, Samoens’ skiing is more snow sure than would usually be expected from a resort altitude of less than 1000m.
As one of the lowest altitude resorts in France, Samoens has always been a popular summer destination. The resort has a stunning historic centre and is classified as a national heritage site, with its years as a centre of stonemasonry lending it a unique character. Right in the heart of the Haute Savoie, Samoens offers activities for all the family.
The town has a picturesque central square that is home to a thriving market, framed by pretty French buildings and a breath-taking Alpine backdrop. There are excellent facilities for rock climbing, hiking, hill walking and mountain biking, with the wooded slopes above Samoens offering numerous trails and interesting terrain.
Elsewhere, the river is home to water sports, with white water and canoe rafting proving popular amongst families. There is also kayaking, water skiing and swimming for those who prefer a slower pace. Visitors looking for something a little more exciting can try canyoning, airboating or hydro-speeding to get that adrenaline rush.
The bulk of properties on the market in Samoens are large chalets on the outskirts of the picturesque town, with nearby villages seeing more development than Samoens itself. There are much fewer chances to find freehold properties for those not looking for luxury chalets in small surrounding villages and hamlets.
Reasonably priced apartments within easy walking distance of the bars, restaurants and shops are far more popular amongst buyers, with lower prices and attractive settings proving the resort's biggest selling point. The price per square metre in Samoens is far better than it is in nearby ski towns like Chamonix and Megeve, while the distance from the airport is similar.
Samoens, Le Vallee BlancheEUR 238,000 - 510,000
Located just outside the centre of the charming, traditional village of Samoens is Le Vallee Blanche, a brand new development of freehold apartments.