La Jaÿsinia is an alpine botanical garden carved out of the south-facing side of the mountains overlooking Samoëns. It is cited as an exceptional garden – the only one of its kind – home to over 5,000 varieties of alpine flowers from all five continents and over 8,000 plants in total.
It is “a must see” for anyone on holiday in Samoëns.
The botanical garden was set up in 1906 by Marie-Louise Cognac-Jaÿ, who was born in Samoëns. Marie-Louise enjoyed great success as the founder of La Samaritaine, one of the largest department stores in Paris, along with her husband Ernest Cognacq, whom she met when she left Samoëns to seek her fortune in Paris, aged 15.
Marie-Louise and Ernest were childless and spent their latter years using their fortune to benefit others, they never forgot Samoëns, the village where Marie-Louise was born.
The garden covers an area of 3.7 hectares on steeply-sloping terrain. A narrow pathway gaining 80 metres in altitude between the top and bottom of the garden offers glorious panoramic views over the Giffre Valley and the village of Samoëns. Notable features include fountains and cascades, landscaped trees, the ruins of the 12th-century Tornalta Castle and an 18th-century chapel.
The garden is closed when there is snow on the ground in order to protect fragile plants growing beneath.