Seasonal ideas

Fall in love with the Alps in winter with Peak Retreats

French Alps specialist Peak Retreats recommends taking a drive down to the Alps for a picture-perfect winter break.

Surrounded by stunning mountains, with superb skiing and plenty for non-skiers to do, the pretty village of Samoëns is one of their expert team’s favourite winter destinations – here Peak Retreats reveals why.


Where in France: Haute-Savoie
Drive from Calais: 871.7km / 8hrs 13m

Samoëns is easy to fall in love with. The village is officially classified as a ‘monument historique’ and, sitting in a cosy café in the village square with its pretty church looking up at the surrounding snow-covered peaks, you can see why it’s so special.

For Christmas, the central square is transformed into a magical Christmas village with a Christmas market, a living nativity, and activities for everyone from Gospel choirs to crafts and a firework display to truly get you feeling festive.

Skiing in Samoëns

For skiers the 265km of slopes of the Grand Massif await. The ski area is great for beginners and families, as there is a large beginners’ area at Samoëns 1600 – accessed via the Grand Massif Express gondola from the village. There is plenty of intermediate cruising for more seasoned skiers though and it’s easy to ski over to the other resorts in the ski area (Les Carroz, Morillon and Flaine).

One of the Peak Retreats team’s favourite runs is the 14km Les Cascades blue run, which links Flaine and the village of Sixt Fer-à-Cheval. It's a great descent through snowy fields and forest. It sits on the edge of the Sixt Fer-à-Cheval Nature Reserve so it’s not unusual to see mountain goats! To get there, from Samoëns, you need to take the lifts to the summit of Les Grandes Platières in Flaine. Once you've skied to Sixt just hop on the shuttle bus back to Samoëns.

The view from Flaine.
The view from Flaine.

Other activities in Samoëns

A winter break doesn’t have to mean skiing and Samoëns has plenty to offer those who don’t want to ski. Wrap up warm and experience the joys of a ride in a dog sled through the snowy scenery of the Upper Giffre valley. Or try snowshoeing; experience the hushed winter landscape and learn about the mountain environment, how to recognise different animal tracks and more, on a guided snowshoe walk.

Alternatively, book a walk by torchlight and be awestruck by the vast starry skies. For the adventurous, being a valley village, Samoëns is a great place to try paragliding and see the majesty of the mountains in winter from a different angle.

Skiing isn’t the only winter sport you can enjoy in Samoëns.
Skiing isn’t the only winter sport you can enjoy in Samoëns. Credit: Peak Retreats

Convenient Access

Samoëns has one of the shortest driving distances from Calais of all the French resorts and it’s easy to access from the motorway. Taking the fastest route follows most of the A26, before it it reaches the mountains where the last stretch of the journey takes the A40 and then a few D roads follow. (This route includes tolls.)

Where to stay in Samoëns

The luxury apartments at Les Chalets de Layssia are ideally located right in the heart of Samoëns so you really feel part of the village. For skiers, getting to the slopes is easy; the free shuttle bus to the Grand Massif Express gondola stops 50m away.

The apartments have superb facilities including a gorgeous indoor pool (with views of the surrounding mountains), hot tub, sauna and steam room and gym. There is also an O des Cîmes spa on site, where you can pre-book treatments and massages.

We love the fact that you can order your croissants at reception for the next morning; pick them up then head back to your comfortable apartment for a relaxed breakfast – kitchens are equipped with Nespresso coffee machines so that’s breakfast sorted! Further information about these apartments can be seen here.

An internal look at the luxury apartments at Les Chalets de Layssia.
An internal look at the luxury apartments at Les Chalets de Layssia. Credit: Peak Retreats

More about Peak Retreats

Peak Retreats features a range of other accommodation in Samoëns from more luxury self-catered apartments to self-catered chalets and hotels. Read more about Samoëns and see all accommodation here.

Peak Retreats is an award-winning French Alps specialist featuring traditional villages and resorts that enable its clients to experience the real French Alps, as well as having access to superb skiing and a host of other activities.

Winners of The Times Travel Editor’s Award 2018, its expert team know its resorts inside out and love finding clients their perfect Alpine holiday destination in both winter and summer too.

The indoor pool overlooks beautiful mountain scenery.
The indoor pool overlooks beautiful mountain scenery. Credit: Peak Retreats

The company can arrange a host of extras from lift passes, ski equipment and ski school to the delivery of quality frozen meals, from brands like the UK’s COOK, to make self-catering a breeze. All holidays are ABTA bonded.

How to book
Call 023 9283 9310

Feeling inspired by Peak Retreats's recommendation in Samoëns? There’s nothing quite like driving from your front door straight to the slopes. Book your next ski road trip with us now to ensure you take advantage the best possible fares.

top image credit: Peak Retreats