Samoens

What started out as a geographical calculation based on closest Alpine ski resorts to home turned into an annual affair with a truely fantastic village.

Samoens is a breath of fresh mountain air. The french describe it as one of their  monuments historique that happens to be attached to a great ski area. An hour by car from Geneva, this ancient village forms part of the Grand Massif.

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It consists of 5 ski resorts, Flaine, Morillon, Samoens, Sixt and Les Carroz and boasts 265km of pistes, the majority being north facing holding the snow well. The centre of Samoens is traffic free and has a beautiful square dominated by a lime tree. The main street is a delight offering gormet hams, cheeses, chocolates and patisseries. And there are a small selection of bars to enjoy some apres ski.

The main raison d’etre is of course the skiing. The Grand Massif Express gives quick access to the many pistes of this great skiing area. Up again on the Chariande Express and then up again to Tete Des Saix gives spectacular views all the way to Mont Blanc.

The skiing choice down to either Morillon via the Mavel piste or back to Samoens via Dahu piste is a difficult one as both offer great confidence building runs before tackling the harder slopes.

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The most rewarding skiing is over at Flaine, crossing the peaks of Tete Des Saix and then over Grande Vans down Tourmaline into Flaine and then up again to the Grandes Platieres. At 2500m this peak gives stunning panaramic views of the alpine mountain range Massif du Mont Blanc. Then down the long blue of Serpentine with thigh burning speed, style and grace back to Flaine.

The hotel I choose to stay appears modest from the outside. Neige et Roc and is stiuated on the outskirts of the village with the centre and its shops only a short walk away.

Owners Françoise & Olivier Deffaugt take pride in welcoming guests to their charming family-run complex. The hotel and the small residence of self-catering studio apartments are beautifully arranged over two chalets.

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The hotel Neige et Roc has all the feel of a traditional Alpine chalet with its exposed timber and extensive use of bright pinewood. Combining authentic style with excellent modern comfort, Neige et Roc offers all the ingredients for an enjoyable and relaxing stay: refined traditional cuisine, comfortable rooms, leisure area with indoor swimming pool, sauna, steam room, Jacuzzi, fitness room, billiard room, cosy bar around open fire.

The restaurant serves a refined traditional Savoyard cuisine with a daily-changing menu  and a copious buffet breakfast.  If not skiing, the food  served in this restaurant is reason enough to come here. You wont be disappointed.

12 hours door to door by car and euro tunnel, this is a most rewarding dip into unspoilt French culture and a most satisfying way to holiday.

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