The historic heart of Samoëns with its old market halls, church and Gros Tilleul refer to an almost millennial history and ancestral heritage. The name “Samoens” dates back to the year 1167. It comes from a medieval expression that qualifies “the seven mountains” surrounding the village: Cuidex, Vigny, Folly, Oddaz, Bostan, Chardonniere, Freterolles, La Vullie. This is why the inhabitants of the village are called septimontains and septimontaines.
History: Samoëns the city of the seven mountains
A rich local history
That is on the territory of the village that stand the ruins of the castle of Montanier which would have been built in the thirteenth century. Seat of a lordship, it was destroyed during the capture and burning of the village of Samoens during the wars of Burgundy in the fifteenth century, during the invasion of the Bernese. The Church of Our Lady of the Assumption, also knew the same fate during this invasion. The church of Samoëns was rebuilt, not the castle. When the La Jaÿsinia Alpine Botanical Garden was built in 1906, however, its ruins were incorporated into the site and partly converted into a shelter.
The economic center of the Giffre Valley
Another emblematic place in the history of Samoëns is the market halls. Count Amédée VI of Savoy established in 1355 a weekly market. To shelter it, the inhabitants of Samoëns build from this time a first wooden hall. Every week, he sold there sheets, furs, hats, food and seeds, hence the name “grenette”. Fairs and public meetings were also organized to mark the origins of the municipal life of the capital, which became the economic center of the Giffre Valley.
Natural historical monument and emblem of Samoëns
A center symbolized by a natural historical monument, the Gros Tilleul. It was planted in 1438 in the center of Samoens to celebrate a judgment rendered by Duke Amedee VIII of Savoy. A judgment confirming to the Septimontains the possession of several mountain pastures located in the valley near the Channel. This tree now reaches 9.50 meters of trunk tower for a height of 20 meters. He is witness to nearly six centuries of history and has become the emblem of the village. Its reputation has largely crossed the boundaries of the town, as well as stonemasons.
Heritage of eternity, Septimontan funerary art
The funerary art in Samoens is visible in front of the parish house and in the communal cemetery. It reflects the know-how of the old masons and stonemasons of the Giffre valley in Haute-Savoie.
Art lovers, passionates about sculpture and symbolism, we have concocted this visit exclusively for you! The septimontain cemetery illustrates the talent of a fraction of stonecutters: the sculptors. Their works are visible in the cemetery: columns, statues or even stone vaults. In the nineteenth century, many funerary monuments were commissioned from local sculptors. They were notably to François-Marie Mugnier (1825-1900), a specialist in the production of funerary steles.