Nunayak Rafting
Rafting Canyoning Canoe-rafting
Airboat Hydrospeed
Via ferrata in Haute-Savoie
Aprill to october (BASE START)
Le Bellavista
F-74740 Sixt-Fer-à-Cheval
July to August (BASE FINISH)
Résidence Les Rhodos
Avenue du Giffre
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Name Region Department Postcode
Samoëns Rhône-Alpes Haute-Savoie (74) 74340
Population Area Altitude
2368 habitants 9729 hectares 710 mètres  


·   The name Samoëns means "seven mountains", referring to the seven alpine grazing grounds given by the Lords of Faucigny to the town in the Twelth Century.

·    By the 14th century, there were two parishes and more than 4,000 inhabitants.

·    In the 1500s a charter was granted to the town. The 1600s saw the founding of a society of masons and stone dressers.

·    In the mid-18th century, the area was briefly occupied by Spanish forces.

·    Occupation espagnole au 18ème.

·    The first international ski competition was held in 1912.


Historic ruins and prehistoric remains

·   These include a cemetery from the Burgonde era.


Secular architecture

·   Buildings in the old town boast carved lintels, worked timber galleries and original barns.

·    The current town hall is the former seat of the Lucinge family. There is another former "Maison forte" at Couvette.

·   The central square, Place du Gros-Tilleul, features a lime tree dating from 1438 as well as mediaeval houses, tower, an 18th century fountain, wash-house, sundial and a 16th century hall.

·    Also worth noting nearby are the hilltop village of Béné; the ruined chateau at Montanier, and the chateaus of Berouze and Le Tannay. The hamlets of Vallons, Vercland and Mathonex feature chapels, wash-houses and farmhouses.


Religious architecture

·   The church of Our Lady of the Assumption, dating from the 12th century, was extensively rebuilt in the 17th century. It features a decorated chapel, a partly 12th-century bell-tower and porch with stone lions, 16th century chancel windows and vaulting, 16th century statues with 17th century Christ and Virgin, an 18th century font, and a 19th century holy water stoop.

·    There are chapels at Berouze (15th/17th century), Le Vallon, Chantemerle and Le Vercland (17th century), Vigny (with sculpted façade), Lesteley and Les Allamands (19th century). The chapel to the chateau features a 19th century "bulb" bell-tower. There is a hilltop chapel at Mathonnex.




·   Environmental/farm museum "le Clos Parchet" presents local Savoyard heritage and tastings.


Sites of interest

·   There are panoramic views from the Jardin Alpin, from the top of La Bourgeoise and from the chapel at Vercland.

· There are numerous waterfalls - Nant d'Ant (Rouget), la Dent, Vercland - and lakes - lac de Gers, Lac des Chambres, glacier du Foillis, as well as the Clévieux gorge. Significant caves include the Grotte d'Ermoy and the Gouffre Jean-Bernard.

· Other spectacular natural sites include the Désert de Platé, the col d'Anterne, and the upper valley of the Giffre.

· There are stone quarries and mineral springs, as well as conifer forests, alpine meadows, and some good mushroom-hunting spots.

· Deer, chamois, marmots, capercaillies, and migratory birds may all be seen. There is an observation centre at the museum at the Col de La Golèze.


Local produce and livestock

·  Cows, pigs, sheep and goats are farmed locally, with production of milk and cheese, charcuterie and fruit liqueurs.


Local events and attractions

Wednesday market. Market "fair" on 29 September, first Wednesdays of February, April and June, Wednesdays nearest to 19 June, 21 October and 15 December. Festival 15 August.

The botanic garden "La Jaysinia" opened in 1906, and boasts 8,000 alpine species as well as waterfalls, 12th century ruins and an 18th century chapel.

Samoens forms part of the Grand Massif ski area, with 267km of pistes up to 2,500m altitude; 6 cable cars, 24 chair lifts and 45 drag lifts. Lessons are available from the various ski schools. There are 90km of cross-country ski pistes as well as sled dog rides, snowshoe walks, ski jumping and paragliding.

For those interested in climbing, trekking etc., guides are available from the Bureau des Guides

In summer, swim, play golf or canoe at the Lac des Dames. Other activities include horse-riding, paragliding, hiking on the many waymarked trails, hunting and fishing
The town has a camp and caravan site, art exhibitions and local crafts, and a tourist office.

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