Anyone who knows anything about life in the mountains, or who has visited the Alps, will know just how quickly the weather here can change. For some, the unpredictable nature of our mountains is actually part of their allure. There really is nothing more impressive than watching - feeling a storm build. The heat of the day grows heavy with each passing hour. Clouds stack up in flowery formation atop the mountain peaks. At first an innocent white, these clouds soon announce something more ominous. Darkness descends and electricity fills the air. Then it breaks - a spectacular, thundering lightshow!
But of course as impressive as an alpine storm can be, when you’re on holidays you’d rather not have to contend with them too often. Unless of course you’re visiting Samoëns, where rain, hail or shine there is always plenty to be enjoyed in the region. To help you make the most of your holiday, whatever the weather, the team here at Alps Accommodation has put together a list of ideal outings for a rainy day….
1. Vitam’ Parc, Neydens 74160: Imagine an aquatic centre with waterslides both indoors and out, an adventure climbing park, squash and badminton courts, fitness studios and a day spa all rolled into one. Not to mention a selection of shopping and restaurants to enjoy. Well all that awaits just a little way down the A40 motorway from Annemasse. At the Vitam Leisure Park there is something for everyone, kids and adults alike. The park is open year round but hours vary season to season so be sure to check the website: www.vitam.fr/en
2. Cluses Aquatic Centre 74300: If year-round poolside action is what you’re after then go no further than the aquatic centre in Cluses. A mere 20 minute drive from Samoëns, this large indoor swimming complex with giant slide is open year round. Be sure to take a swimming cap with you though, and guys you’ll need a pair of Speedos – yes the French are quite traditional where pool fashion is concerned! Opening times vary depending on time of year so do check online or call ahead first: www.siova.fr/piscine.pdf or ph: 0033 (0)450 98 20 50
3. Aquariaz Aquatic Centre, Avoriaz 74110: At 1800m altitude Aquariaz is Europe’s highest adventure waterpark and the only one of its kind. A true aquatic paradise, Aquariaz features lush vegetation and rocky outcrops in and around its pools and offers something to water lovers of all ages. The colourful Water Playhouse is ideal for children, while adults can relax in the Chill-out Space. More adventurous visitors will love the 10m high Slidewinder tube ride and there’s also a climbing wall, which sits above a 1.2m deep pool. And let’s not forget the outdoor Jacuzzi offering spectacular views of the valley. During the summer, from 5th July to 31st August, Aquariaz is open every day 10.30am to 7.30pm. And in the winter, from 13th December to 25th April, the park is open 2pm to 8pm every day except Saturday.
4. Annecy-Le-Vieux 74940: Roughly one hour’s drive from Samoëns, the picturesque old town of Annecy really is an easy place to while away a rainy day. Stroll along cobbled streets, ducking in and out of covered arcades that hide a treasure trove of both boutique and high street shopping. Or enjoy a long lunch in one of the many restaurants dotted along the town’s canal. The Chateau d’Annecy overlooking the old town and lake was once an ancient home to Savoy Counts and dates as far back as the 13th century. It is open for public visits and also houses the region’s museum of lakes and mountains.
Let’s not forget that Samoëns itself also offers plenty for the holidaymaker trying to escape the rain.
5. Beauty and Spa Treatments: There’s nothing nicer on a rainy day than cosying up as if in a cocoon. But don’t snuggle up under those duvets! Instead, book yourself in for some pampering with one of Samoëns’ massage and beauty experts.
Have your senses awoken by Cécile from Arbor&Sens, which is located just next door to the restaurant La Table de Fifine. Cécile, who speaks English, specialises in Ayurveda wellness massage. Combined Hammam (oriental steam bath) and massage packages are also available. For more information check out her website: http://www.arboretsens-samoens.com/
Hot stone massage, facials and body beauty treatments await you at Oxalis Institute, situated in Samoëns’ main square. Oxalis therapists also speak English and the institute is open most days.
6. Water Sports Activities: Just because it’s raining doesn’t mean you can’t get out and be active. And well, the team at Alps Accommodation can certainly vouch for rafting as one of the best sports for a rainy day – I mean you’re going to get wet anyway! You can read about our rafting fun at www.alpsaccommodation.com/when-it-rains-it-rafts-samoens.htm, but there’s much more than just traditional rafting to be enjoyed. Try kayaking or hyrdospeeding on the Giffre or Dranse rivers, paddle boarding on the Arve, or canyoning in a number of great locations.
Alain and his team at Ecolorado Rafting have Samoëns’ biggest rafting centre, specialising in groups: http://www.ecoloradorafting.com/
Enjoy a tailor-made rafting experience with English-speaking Ludo from Atypik Rafting: www.atypik-rafting-samoens-haute-savoie.com
Nunayak have rafting bases in both Samoëns and Sixt: www.nunayak.com
For an adventure a little further afield explore the Dranse River with Jeremy from Frog’s Rafting: www.frogsrafting.com
7. Le Septitrain: Rich in culture and tradition, Samoëns really is a fascinating little village. And one of the best ways to discover all that is on offer here is to jump aboard the Septitrain. Enjoy a guided tour around the village, its lakes, or up through Vallon where you’ll see some of our region’s oldest working farms. In summer tours depart regularly from the town centre, just by the fountain in front of Bar Savoie. Tickets for children under 12 are 4 Euros. Adult tickets cost 6 Euros. During the winter the train operates as a free transfer service to the Grand Massif Express lift. It can also be hired independently for special occasions. For more details ask at the Samoëns tourist office.
So there are just a few ideal rainy day activities for you to experience while visiting Samoëns and its surrounds, but there are many more to choose from:
Try your hand at golf at the covered Samoëns driving range by the lake.
Pop into the Samoëns Exhibition Hall behind the Mairie and see which local artist has works on display.
And be sure to keep abreast of the many concerts and shows at the Bois Au Dames Cultural centre.
Whatever the weather, don’t think you can’t get out and about and make the most of your holiday. There’s plenty to do. And at the end of the day, if it really is coming down outside and you just don’t think you can face it, at least you’re staying with Alps Accommodation! Snuggle up in the total comfort of your luxury apartment or chalet and enjoy the impressive sights and sounds of the wild elements outside.