A week exploring the beauty of Samoëns

With the arrival of spring in the Alps we welcomed our first non-skiing guests to Chalet APASSION.

We put together a suggested itinerary for their week to combine some local sightseeing as well as a variety of walks around the valley.

Sunday featured a relatively gentle walk following the River Giffre up to Le Fond de la Combe, which is part of the Sixt-Fer-a-Cheval National Park (see our recent blog on the walk).  After a few hours discovering the many waterfalls and taking pictures of the beautiful spring flowers our guests stopped for a late lunch where we joined them for a drink in the sun before shuttling them back to the chalet.

Day two involved a walk up to the Cascade du Rouget, known as the ‘Reine des Alpes’ (Queen of the Alps) due to the beauty of the waterfall.  With the spring melt-water the waterfall is particularly stunning at this time of year.  For the more active you can reach the top of the waterfall by climbing a track that runs alongside the waterfall.  The alternative is to follow the longer but less steep route via the road. After reaching the little village of Lac d’Anterne you can wonder back along the river into the village of Sixt-Fer-a-Cheval or continue up to the lake at Lac d’Anterne.

On Tuesday we joined Jean and Paul on the historical walking tour of Samoëns. The tour is available in both French and English and our guide was more than a match for all our questions!  The tour offered a fascinating step back in history to the time of the great stone masons who lived in Samoëns and created some of the building and monuments that you still see around the village today.  After the tour Jean and Paul spent the afternoon exploring “La Jaÿsinia” the beautiful alpine botanical gardens donated to the village of Samoëns by Marie-Louise Cognac-Jäy in 1906.

Every Wednesday is market day in Samoëns. Famous across the region, the market draws large crowds to the village with people looking to buy everything from local farm produce to clothes, jewellery and even heavy machinery! After buying a few bits in the market for lunch, Jean and Paul spent the afternoon strolling along the banks of the picturesque River Giffre.

On Thursday Jean and Paul followed the road up behind the chalet and explored the simple farming life that still exists on the valley sides of the Giffre.  The walk took them down to Morillon to the Lac Bleu and then back along the River Giffre to Samoëns via the Lac aux Dames.  In the afternoon we joined them for a visit to Clos Parchet Farm, a local Eco Museum, where we discovered the history of a family from the Upper Giffre valley and learnt all about farm life in the valley including a tour around an authentic farm house as it used to be many years ago.

On Friday we drove up to the Col de Joux Plane with Jean and Paul to guide them on a loop track walk starting from a little lake near the top of the Col. The first part of the walk followed the road up to the top of the Col taking in the stunning views of Mont Blanc in the distance, before reaching the upper ski lifts of the Portes de Soleil ski area where we had tremendous views down into the Les Gets valley and beyond. After climbing a couple of red pistes we stopped for a picnic lunch on the edge of a lake surrounded by a group of wild horses.  We then continued the walk back across the top of the Portes de Soleil pistes returning to the van somewhat exhausted but certainly excited by what we’d seen on our 5 hour hike.

The weather was glorious throughout the week of their stay and Jean and Paul left us looking and feeling healthier than when they arrived and having a huge sense of accomplishment given what they had both achieved during their week.

Their comment in our guest book reiterated the feedback they gave to us throughout their stay . . . .

“We have had a fantastic holiday.  Everything has been perfect from start to finish.  We have done some amazing walks especially the last one which we will talk about for a long time to come and it’s all thanks to you both.  We look forward to coming back soon.”