Jill Steward - Haute-Savoie - Samoëns, Morillon, Verchaix et Sixt-Fer-à-Cheval

Jill Steward
The picture-perfect villages of Samoëns, Morillon, Verchaix and Sixt-Fer-à-Cheval sit in the stunning Vallée du Giffre, nestled between the Morzine and Chamonix valleys. Samoëns was described as one of France's best ski resorts by an article in the Telegraph back in 2012. From Samoëns, and the surrounding villages, the whole of the Grand Massif ski area and its 265 km of pistes – the fifth largest in Europe as it includes Flaine and Les Carroz – can be explored. The valley is just a 50 minute drive from Geneva, making it one of the most accessible snow-sure resorts in the French Alps. In summer, the Vallée du Giffre is just as popular with families and adventure seekers alike. They are drawn to the fabulous hiking opportunities and mountain biking – using the chairlifts for access. There’s an outdoor pool in Samoëns, a swimming lake in Morillon, whitewater rafting on the Giffre, plus tennis, pony trekking, adventure parks, weekly markets and numerous summer festivals. At the top of the valley is the quintessential mountain village of Sixt-Fer-à-Cheval. Surrounded by towering peaks, thundering waterfalls, and, crucially, no through road, it offers a peace and tranquility unrivalled in the Haute-Savoie. Samoëns itself is a ‘monument historique’ famed for its stonemasons and traditional Savoyard ambience and architecture. The village has a fabulous botanical garden, created in 1906, and the only one of its kind in the Alps, with more than 5,000 plants. While the locals do well to preserve their history, it would be unfair to say they aren’t looking to the future. In the last few years, several ski-lifts have either been upgraded or added in the Grand Massif. This is a resort on the up with year-round appeal and endless charm. For an overview of the area, search for ‘Samoëns Office de Tourisme’ on You Tube.

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