This alpine botanic garden was created in 1906 by Marie-Louise Cognacq-Jaÿ who founded La Samaritaine department store in Paris. It is an exceptional garden classified as a "Jardin Remarquable". closed during the winter season.
On 1st July 1838, a little girl called Marie-Louise Jaÿ was born in Samoens. She was destined to leave her mark on the village- and on Paris! At the age of 15, she set off to try her luck in the capital, where she met and married Ernest Cognacq. Together, they founded La Samaritaine, one of the city's largest department stores. It was an immediate success.
Marie-Louise and Ernest, who were childless, found themselves with a huge fortune and they spent the rest of their lives giving to worthy causes.
However, they never forgot the village where Marie-Louise was born. In 1906, they created the Jaÿsinia botanic garden as a mark of her love for the village.
It is an exceptional garden which is now classified as a "Jardin Remarquable" and is scientifically managed by the National History Museum.
Carved out of the south-facing side of the mountain, overlooking the village, La Jaÿsinia covers an area of 3,7 hectares on steeply-sloping terrain (there is a difference of 80 metres between the top and the bottom of the garden).
It is the only botanic garden of its kind in the Alps, containing no less than 5000 varieties of mountain flowers from all 5 continents, as well as a laboratory where wide-ranging research is carried out. As such, it is a place of study and a haven of tranquillity where people can come to escape from their stressful everyday lives. It is also a "must" for anyone spending time in Samoens. A walk in this south-facing garden is a pastoral delight. The narrow path winding its way up the mountainside passes waterfalls and fountains before reaching the ruins of the 12th century Tornalta castle and a 13th century chapel. The higher one goes, the more panoramic the view of the small town below. This is indeed a walk worthy of the finest paintings by romantic landscape artists.
From 01/05 to 30/09, daily.
From 01/10 to 30/04, daily.
8 am. – 12 pm and 1.30 pm. – 4.30 pm. except when there is snow on the ground. The garden is closed then (because of third party liability and the need to save fragile plants growing beneath the snow).
Free of charge.