Rues de Samoëns

The garden of the world

Arranged as “Outstanding Garden of France”, the Alpine Botanical Garden Jaÿsinia, with its 2400 species of plants, offers a poetic walk through the alpine flora and plants of the mountains of the 5 continents. Discovery.

Stroll the paths of the new art inspiration botanical garden, crossroads between the mountains and the landscape. This is one of the pleasures offered to those who discover Samoëns. On this hill, in the heart of the village, an impression of freedom and natural harmony is created. Yet everything here is controlled, summed up: “A gardener must know how to be discreet so that it looks as natural as possible,” says Christian Chauplannaz, head of science and technology Ja lasinia. For example, dandelions sit next to tulips and bear garlic is almost 37 varieties of peonies … for more than a century.

Marie-Louise Cognacq Jaÿ, the “good Samaritan woman”

Unique in the region, this garden was born in 1906 from the will of a woman: Marie-Louise Cognacq Jaÿ. Born in Samoens, she earned her fortune in Paris by creating the Parisian department store La Samaritaine with her husband. But she never forgot her village and bought a lot to build the botanical garden … on the same hill where she had kept a herd of goats until she was 15!

A sensory and exotic walk

Designed by landscape gardener Jules Allemand, the garden winds through 3 km of paths and on its 3.7 hectares that offers a panorama of mountain plants from all over the world. Europe is discovered with the blue thistle of the Alps, or the crocus of the Balkans, the Middle East with the cedar of Lebanon. The giant sequoia or the bloodthirst come from America. Asia offers the peony of Pastor Father Delavay and the toad lily from Japan. The antipodes, we will remember the New Zealand shrub veronique. Names of plants that make you dream … In Jaÿsinia you also travel thanks to surprising perfumes such as those of the caramel tree that exudes a sweet scent of caramel in the fall when the dew on its fallen leaves is deposited on the ground … You will also discover flowers with amazing colors, such as columbines with electric blue … And to complete this sensory drive and decorate the different universes of this garden, fountains, waterfalls, ponds and marshes have been installed from a source of water flowing through pipes that were dug by hand into the mountains.

You end your journey with a journey into the past and discover the chapel of the Jaÿsinia, which dates from the seventeenth century and the castle of Tornalta that has stood on top of the hill since the twelfth century and that the ruins offer breathtaking view of the village and the Giffre valley.

In this unusual and timeless garden, the Septimontains confirm that they know how to preserve their heritage and roots. And generate a breeding ground for plants from all over the world that have established themselves in an area with characteristics that are sometimes very different from their original environment … The point is that we feel good in Samoëns.

A place dedicated to science

Gardens have always inspired poets. “It’s an extraordinary garden,” Charles Trenet was singing. It has not evoked that of Samoens, but it seems that the Botanical Garden of Paris, the headquarters of the National Natural History Museum. And it appears that the Jaÿsinia is under the scientific direction of the Museum! A link between poetry and science that fits the site because the botanical garden also has a scientific mission, fulfilled by Christian Chauplannaz who works in the plant biology laboratory, built in 1935 on the initiative of Gabriel Cognacq, cousin of Marie-Louise . During the good season, he repairs seeds in the garden and in nature, cleans them, writes a catalog to 800 addresses in the world (universities and botanical institutions that can order). This way we can find plants from the Giffre valley in South Africa! A free international exchange, which also benefits Jaÿsinia, who loses 5 to 10% of its plants every year, which are grown in the garden as a botanical species, that is, in the wild, that are in the wild and are not not changed by people.
The laboratory also houses a reference herbarium.

Practical information:

From 01/05 to 30/09, every day from 8h to 12h and from 13h30 to 19h.

From 01/10 to 14/12, every day from 8 am to 12 pm and from 1.30 pm to 4.30 pm. 

Closed from 15/12 to 15/04 protection of fragile plantations under the snowpack.

Free entry.