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Nestled at the heart of a great glacial valley, surrounded by seven dramatic peaks, Samoëns has for centuries been the focus of important historical events. Older and larger than neighbouring Morillon, Samoëns retains the friendly charm of an ancient market town, still strongly influenced by its farming and masonry traditions. There's a generally peaceful, timeless feel to the resort, although lively night spots can be found. In recent years the resort has taken a dramatic strep forward with the opening of a modern gondola lift that lifts guests right from the village up in to the Grand Massif, the fifth largest ski area in France and one of the world's 30 biggest.

samons 573316 skilift2

Nestled at the heart of a great glacial valley, Samoëns has for centuries been the focus of important historical events. Older and larger than neighbouring Morillon, Samoëns retains the friendly charm of an ancient market town, still strongly influenced by its farming and masonry traditions. The Grand Massif skiing is accessed through a base station at Vercland, 2km from the village.

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Samoëns is one of five resorts in the grand Massif lift-linked circuit of more than 265 kms (160 miles) of ski runs. It was formerly linked to the circuit a few miles from the village so a ski bus trip was needed to reach the slopes, but now a gondola, the Grand Massif Express, lifts skiers from the village centre up to a key plateau on the circuit, 1600m up, in just eight minutes. Runs to try include the Piste des Cascades which from Samoëns 1600 you need to go to Flaine and take the Grandes Platières cable car. The 14km (9 miles) long, blue rated wonderful Cascades run descends to the resort of Sixt Fer à Cheval. Expert skiers looking for tough skiing take the same lifts but head for the Combe de Gers sector and a black slope called "Styx" which is never bashed. This rejoins the long Cascades run at its end. Closer to home the Croix area at Samoëns 1600 has the black slopes Marmotte and Chamois", both really enjoyable runs with jumps and ramps at the end of the slopes. One of the best known areas is the Combe de Gers reached from Samoëns 1600 by heading up to Flaine and then taking the Grandes Platières cable car over to Combe de Gers. Here a black slope called Styx is never crowded. This can take you over to join the Piste des Cascades or take a lift back to Flaine. Heliskiing (into Italy, not legal in France) is possible through the ski school, minimum of three participants of at least level three ability equivalent on the French scale. The Ski school also organises excursions to the legendary Vallee Blanche above Chamonix where descents of up to 25km (17 miles) off piste are possible from 3842 metres.


Special offers = The "famille en fete" Families wanting to holiday in Samoens around Christmas, or Easter could also take advantage of some special offers. It means that if you stay in selected accommodation, for every service bought by an adult at full price, there's an equivalent free service for a child under 12. So for example, if an adult buys a full-price six-day Grand Massif ski pass, a child under 12 gets a free one. This principle operates for ski equipment rental, accommodation, and a block of six skiing lessons.

Eating Out

There are plenty of restaurants in the village, more than two dozen at the last count, many of them traditional Savoyard estasblishments., However there are also pizzeria and American fast food is served at some locations. Many of the restaurant proprietors have made great efforts to ebnsure that their establishment's interiors reflect the Savoyard traditional styyle with welcoming chalet decor, often with a roaring log fire. There is normally a choice of at least one fixed-price set menu and a separate children's menu for the under 12's. Nobody minds however if you just ask for an extra plate and just let your children sample what you're eating.


Not a great après ski destination if you're lucking for all night party actionm, but a good choice for good wholesome evening entertainments. The Clarine Bar is very modern and has created an original selection of entertaining cocktails as well as a big choice of beers. Le Savoie is another good bar with internet access and sometimes live bands during the ski season. Another bar, Le Covey's, has Irish owners, a wide range of beers and a reputation for good craik. Another good choice is L'Aspen which is wood lined with attractive carvings and decorations. Here there are different beers from all around the world as well as the local Samoëns brew, Criou, named after the local mountain.


There are three parks in the Grand Massif region. Above Morillon the park is especially for children, above Samoëns on the Soleil slope there's a park for all levels of ability, whilst -Flaine's The Jam Park in the Vernant area contains a Boarder Cross and other features. The snow park's construction depends on snow conditions and its location is changed accordingly on occasion. It is aimed at experienced freeskiers and boarders.

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