Haute-Savoie / France
The pretty, unspoilt village of Samoëns is a great choice if you want fabulous skiing, boarding and summer sports in the Grand Massif, together with luxury holiday accommodation.
The name Samoëns comes from the seven mountains that surround the village - it was once a centre for skilled stonecutters, which explains the use of stone, rather than wood, in the older buildings. A strict conservation policy means it's the only resort in the French Alps classified as a historic monument.
Despite its peaceful rural location, there are plenty of bars and restaurants in the traffic-free centre of the village, where narrow streets lead off the main square with its traditional church and fountain. There’s a free shuttle bus every 20 minutes in the season, which will take you to the pistes at Morillon and Sixt.
The village has all the shops you are likely to need during your holiday - delis, supermarkets and bakeries, as well as gift shops, ski and bike rental.
As part of the Grand Massif ski area, skiing in Samoëns is connected to the stations of Flaine, Les Carroz, Morillon and Sixt-Fer-à-Cheval, which between them cater for skiers of all abilities - a total of 265km of pistes accessed by a great lift network. Snowfall is regular and abundant, with 80% of the pistes north-facing. Experienced skiers should seek out the Combe de Gers for its 800m drop and pristine snow.
There are three jam parks for freestylers, with plenty of challenges at every level.
Beginners have their own area at 1600m, which is separated from the main slopes, so novice skiers can ski safely. There’s a restaurant too, so that parents can relax while their children enjoy their lessons. And when they are ready to hit the slopes, the Marvel piste offers a gentle 5km run through an ancient forest.
Cross-country skiers will find plenty of choice too - head for the Col de Joux Plane, where the altitude of 1700m means you can expect great snow all season, as well as breathtaking panoramic views of Mont Blanc.
Nordic skiing, snowshoeing, sledging and fat bikes are just some of the many other activities open to you when you book a holiday property in Samoëns.
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