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Samoëns is a French commune located in the south of the Haute-Savoie department, in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region, bordering the Swiss border. Village of the community of communes of the Giffre Mountains, the commune had 2,458 inhabitants in 2017. Its ski resort and ski area have merged with the Grand Massif area.

The town of Samoëns is located in the heart of the northern pre-Alps in the Giffre valley. This mountain town is one of the most extensive in the Haute-Savoie department. The Samoëns valley and its nine hamlets stand out for the richness of its heritage and continuous activity throughout the year, mainly driven by winter and summer tourism.

The capital is located at an altitude of 703 meters, but the town rises to 2,666 m at the tip of Avoudrues.

Relief, geology
The town is protected by the Aiguille de Criou and a stone's throw from the Fer-à-Cheval cirque, the last bastion of the limestone Alps.

Limestone predominates in the surroundings; Samoëns is crossed by the Giffre, which is the main tributary of the Arve.

If the mountains of Samoëns remain relatively modest in altitude, the town is renowned for its original karstic relief and for its extraordinary deep underground cavities such as the Jean-Bernard and Mirolda chasms.

The names of the seven mountains or pastures surrounding the town according to tradition are: Cuidex, Vigny, Folly, Oddaz, Bostan, Chardonnière, Freterolles, La Vullie (seems to be on the Criou); in an old document, we also speak of Versitorie, but the place is no longer known.

The location of Samoëns, at an altitude of 710 m in the capital, is in a continental mountain climate characterized by marked humidity2. Winters are cold and snowy and the summer season is mild with occasional stormy episodes. The inter-seasons (April and October) are also wetter.


Getting here

By plane
The nearest is Geneva Airport, 57 km away. To leave Switzerland for France (or vice versa) by the Swiss motorway, you must pay the Swiss motorway sticker. Taxis and private carriers also run the Geneva - Samoëns race.

By train
Arrival at the Cluses (20 km), Geneva (50 km) or Bellegarde (70 km) SNCF station. In winter, there is a direct TGV connection Paris - Cluses - Paris. The rest of the year, the TGV arrives to Annecy, Bellegarde or Lyon, then the TER towards Saint-Gervais-Les Bains / Geneva.

By bus
There is a connection to Samoëns from the Cluses SNCF station, 20 km away (SAT coaches).

By car
The nearest motorway is the A40 (Autoroute Blanche). The fastest is to take the Cluses / Scionzier exit then continue via the Col de Châtillon (direction Taninges). From Cluses, allow 25 minutes to reach Samoëns. Some distances: Lyon 200 km, Paris 600 km, Geneva 57 km.