Samoens is a stunning Medieval style village, only 50 minutes from Geneva in the French Alps.
It’s well worth a day trip, has a lovely main square and is famous for stone sculptures. You can visit the Botanical Gardens above the village or take stunning walks along the River Arve or by the lakes in the valley. There are also fantastic mountain hiking and biking routes in Spring/Summer and Autumn.
We are blessed with some fine resorts around Geneva both in the Swiss and the French Alps (and some smaller ones in the Jura) but occasionally it’s great to venture further afield into Italy for a taste of something different.
Courmayeur is one of the closest and nicest resorts in Italy near Geneva and has some fine hotels, restaurants and shopping but one of my favourite resorts feels a little more traditionally Italian and is comparatively undiscovered;
Around 2 and a half hours from Geneva, lies the Italian 3 valley resort of Champoluc in Monterosa, largely undiscovered by tour operators. The resort is at almost 1600 metres but the mountains of Arosa are high and reach up to 3,200 metres with plenty of opportunities for both intermediate skiers and off piste powder hounds. It is perfect for a long weekend from Geneva and is accessed via the Mont Blanc tunnel.READ MORE
Verbier. You must have heard of Verbier. Commonly pronounced “Verb-ee-yay” by the anglophone crowd, it has become one of the most exclusive and luxurious ski resorts in the Swiss Alps, a VIP village that, over the years, has seen its indigenous population dramatically decrease, replaced by hoards of rich foreigners.
Verbier has become a winter social hub for London yuppies, Russian models and Scandinavian golden boys and girls to name but a few – and has made a name for itself in the people pages thanks to the likes of James Blunt, Prince William or Richard Branson. In fact, Prince Harry has been spotted on the slopes and in several bars and restaurants with his girlfriend, celebrating Prince Andrew’s birthday with Fergie and their two daughters. Verbier has undoubtedly managed to position itself as a select VIP-approved leisure location of choice.READ MORE
Stuck in cold, cloudy Geneva when you are desperate to be on the slopes?
Here’s the solution!
In the morning, check www.snow-forecast.com and the webcams for the latest snow reports and weather conditions.
The closest ski resort to Geneva, is only 45 minutes drive.READ MORE
Ever fancied camping in the depth of Winter? In the snow? Doesn’t sound that appealing does it. Okay, so what if the ‘tent’ was in fact a luxurious dome-shaped ‘pod’, complete with ensuite bathroom, tea and coffee making facilities, huge log burner and sumptuous bed? Yep, after ‘oohing’ and ‘ahhing’ over the website for The Whitepod Resort (www.whitepod.com) I too was sold. So along with my husband Olly, I immediately booked a one night stay. Our Pod for the night We drove up to a snowy Les Cerniers (about one and a half hour journey from Geneva) to be greeted by a friendly team who gave us snowshoes, head torches and details about the resort. A short walk from the reception, on a gentle hill overlooking Lake Geneva, sat the cosy pods. All cheerfully puffing out wispy smoke signals inviting us in. If Peter Jackson wanted a location for Bilbo Baggins to take a winter holiday, this would be perfect. Unlike Hobbit dimensions though, our pod was vast. After receiving our luggage via a rugged mountain man on a skidoo (no lugging our own bags, darling!), we made ourselves feel at home. I made a cup of tea and took […]READ MORE
Les Gets is one of my favourite resorts close to Geneva. It’s a relaxed 1 hour drive through Taninges and up the Grande Route des Alpes which winds through the valley up to 1100 metres. The skiing is treelined and relaxed with many rolling intermediate slopes and stunning views. For a day trip the Les Gets/Morzine pass is ideal and quite reasonable priced at 31 Euros. They also offer discounted weekend day passes at 24 Euros. The best snow and runs can be found at La Chamossiere over 2000 metres where there is also some good off piste on snowy days. There are some nice on-slope restaurants, my favourite being La Paika, www.restaurant-paika.com which has a sunny terrace and has a great BBQ outside on sunny days with fantastic steaks. From here there is also a nice blue run down to la Turche. Also recommended are le Chasse Montagne, La Croix Blanche and le Vaffieu for a more traditional lunch. Les Gets is ideal for beginners and intermediate skiiers with a modern lift system and wide open pistes. The terrain is mostly rolling hills so a good base of snow lasts well during the season. Les Gets appeals to many families […]READ MORE
One of the closest ski resorts to Geneva (about 50 minutes drive) is the stunning resort of Samoens in the French Alps. Linked to the high altitude ski area of the Grand Massif (265 km of skiing) this is a picturesque, quintessential French resort which has managed to retain its tradition and ambiance despite significant development over the last few years. The skiing starts at 1600m with the top of Flaine rising to 2500m. This is an ideal resort to ski in off peak times (January and March/April). Avoid new year and February school holidays if you can. I first came to Samoens in 2002 when there were very few English speakers. The resort has changed considerably since then with significant development but the Giffre valley is stunning and the village centre still has old world charm. The slopes are mainly north facing and retain their snow during a season lasting from December until late April. Flaine in the shadow of Mont Blanc usually has some of the best snow cover in the area and can be reached very easily from Geneva. Skiing The Grand Massif connects the villages of Samoens, Sixt, Morillon, Les Carroz and Flaine offering a wide variety […]READ MORE
Musician James Blunt, who has been in Verbier since 2007 and loves the area, has joined forces with Carl Fogerty (of Superbikes) and Lawrence Dallaglio (the former England rugby star) to open the mountain-top restaurant La Vache “The Cow” which opened in December on the slopes in Verbier. They have enlisted the aide of the 3 Michelin-starred chef, Heston Blumenthal, of the Fat Duck in Bray fame. Think homemade soups, pizzas and curries, slightly different from your standard mountain fare. Promising reasonable prices and a buzzy atmosphere it’s the place to go for lunch this winter in Verbier. The restaurant is located at Attelas at the top of the James Blunt chairlift. James Blunt is one of the few celebrities to have a chair lift named after him, an honour which he rates as one of his finest awards. At 15 CHF for dish of the day or 17 CHF for a burger it promises to be a reasonably priced option. The restaurants theme is a modern dairy with wooden tables and cow hide throws. It even has 3 fibreglass painted cows which amazingly James Blunt is rumoured to have shipped over from Ibiza – see photo! Blumenthal, who also is […]READ MORE
In the shadow of Mont Blanc, just over an hour from Geneva lies Megeve, the jewel of the French Alps. Megeve was conceived in the 1920’s as a French alternative to St Moritz and developed by the Rothschild’s who built one of the first hotels there. It was one of the first purpose built ski resorts but due to planning restrictions has managed to retain its alpine ambience and style. The village is fairly low at 1000 m with the skiing up to 2350 m. The skiing is relaxed with rolling pistes but on a snowy day there is good off piste which remains untracked. The Evasion Mont Blanc ski pass gives access to 112 lifts and 445km of pistes. This includes St Gervais, Combloux, Megeve, La Giettaz, Les Contamines and St Nicholas de Veroce. It’s the mountain ambience and restaurants where Megeve comes in to its own and makes this one of our favourite day or weekend trips from Geneva. Its an ideal place to wander around the village and check out the excellent shopping. You will find most of the high end brands here including Moncler and Hermes and many people come to Megeve and don’t ski. Megeve […]READ MORE