Sixt-fer-a-cheval, Samoens and Morrillion
You probably won’t have heard of Sixt-Fer-a-Cheval but visit it once and your likely to return. A stones throw from Geneva, it’s unspoilt, mountain paradise. If your looking to eat vegan, stay in super swanky hotels and party on til sunrise, this is not the place for you. If, however your idea of heaven is being surrounded by stunning scenery and living off vast quantities of cheese, ham and potatoes, you might rather like it here.
Friends have returned year after year or bought places out here having fallen in love, and despite visiting for years, I still have long lists of things I want to do.
As I write, this is my view down the mountain – it is no wonder I keep coming back.
So what should you do when there? Here are my top 10 things.
1. Visit the Cirque du Fer a Cheval.
Here you will see six waterfalls in the shape of a horseshoe (hence the name Sixt Fer a Cheval). There is a gorgeous walk from here that follows the river right down to the end of the valley – it is fairly flat and very family friendly. The cirque is part of a national park that is protected so you know your in for something special.
2. Cascade du Rouge
This is the most impressive waterfall in the area and one you can get up close too. Whilst you can drive up, if you walk for 40 minutes from the top of Sixt, you’ll feel much more rewarded by the view. There a great cafe overlooking the waterfall for a quick drink and ice-cream. I’d also suggest carrying on up the walk to the right-hand side of the waterfall so you can peer over the water’s edge. If you climb an hour upwards through beautiful trees you’ll reach more waterfalls. Carry on further and you can stay in a refuge overnight, but make sure you book this in advance.
3. Whitewater raft from Sixt to Samoens.
Enjoy speeding down the rapids, drifting through the gouge and floating downstream. Beware, even with a wetsuit the water is icy cold – in fact, it’s almost worth buying the souvenir photos simply for the faces your friends or family will pull when in the water.
4. Visit the Plan du Jour and La Bourgious.
Follow the long and winding road, that some years forms part of the Tour de France and is always speckled with keen cyclists to the car park at the top. You could of course cycle this, but for me, there’s as much chance of that happening as Trump winning a World Peace Prize. Once there, take the short walk to La Bourigous and you will be rewarded with the most amazing, panoramic views of the area. The cross at the summit has a map of the mountains surrounding and you can see Mont Blanc in the distance. A great spot for a picnic or the cafe near the car park does a great lemon and sugar crepe.
5. Forget about any diet and enjoy the local cuisine.
Crossaints of every variety. Cheese, cheese, and more cheese. Ham and potatoes galore. Tarrtifette, fondu, and crepes. Most of the restaurants offer similar menus, but we love The Maple Leaf in Sixt. Don’t forget to also visit your local bakery and stock up on pastries.
6. Flop by the lake in Morrillion.
Lie on the banks, enjoy the man-made beach surrounded by mountains or if you’ve kids, entertain them with a GoApe style tree top course and zip-wire. There’s also mini golf, horse riding and kayaking nearby.
7. Cycle along the river between Samoens and Tannes.
Hire bikes near the Samoens lift and enjoy the gravel, car-free path along the river. There are plenty of spectacular spots for a picnic and even some gentle inlets with places you can bathe away from the rapids.
8. Go Paragliding.
I have to confess, I haven’t done this as there was a thunderstorm when I was due to go. As mountain weather can be unpredictable I’d therefore recommend booking this a few days before you head home incase this happens. Book early morning or early evening for the smoothest ride.
9. Keep an eye out for live music and events in Samoens.
Most weeks in the summer, there is live music in the town some night so sit back, relax and enjoy a glass of wine whilst soaking up the atmosphere.
10. Last, but by no means least on my list, do nothing.
It is the perfect place to relax and just switch off away from the hustle and bustle. Turn your phone off, soak up the scenery, enjoy a hot tub in the evening if you have one and just chill.
Which places do you return to year after year?