Embracing life in the slow lane on a summer holiday to the Alps

Every summer, it appears, these resourceful individuals in the French Alps give you extra adrenalin-boosting methods of getting enjoyable in the mountains. Till earlier this 12 months, I’d have joined them. However thanks to an out-of-control skier who ploughed into me in March, I’ve been hobbling round with a broken knee. Nonetheless wanting to get a summertime mountain repair – all that pretty clear air, mind-blowing surroundings and fabulous meals – I made a decision to discover methods to take issues extra slowly and see how individuals with restricted mobility can get the most out of a summer Alpine holiday.

I used to be in the Annecy Mountains, the place I may mix bijoux ski resorts with one among France’s most stunning cities of the identical identify and the nation’s third-largest lake. My first base was the small village of Talloires, which, together with greater than a dozen spots alongside Lake Annecy, has its personal seashore. Swimming was simply what the physician ordered, and the wood bathing deck in entrance of my lodge, Abbaye des Talloires, gave quick access to the water. What a pleasure it was to plunge into these extremely clear waters and provides my knee a very light exercise.

Unable to be a part of the cyclists making their manner round Lake Annecy’s 33km Voie Verte circuit, I took a boat experience with Florent from Blue Diamond Taxi Boat as a substitute to get a nearer look. Talloires sits on its south-eastern facet below the cliffs of the Roc de Chère nature reserve, below which the atmospheric Smugglers’ Cave was lower into the rock. In every single place we seemed there was seemingly a grassy financial institution, sandy stretch or bathing platform from which to launch your self into the water.

(Adam Batterbee)

We motored to the southernmost tip for a waterside view of one among the lake’s protected areas, the Bout du Lac nature reserve, heralded by a wall of tall reeds. I returned the following day to wander the accessible raised wood walkways by this lush panorama of marshes, meadows and woods the place two river sources, the Ire and Eau Morte, fed into the lake. The reserve’s beavers didn’t make an look, nevertheless it was a peaceable and soothing manner to spend a morning.

Simply up the highway from the reserve was La Cuillère à Omble restaurant, a elegant lakeside spot to attempt a few of the fish caught by the lake’s two remaining skilled fishermen. Omble (Arctic char) and féra (whitefish) are amongst the hottest, the latter ending up deliciously grilled on my plate. Usually in the Alps, this specific cheese addict would have been gorging on comté and the like. However I made a decision to make the most of Lake Annecy’s beautiful bounty earlier than the second half of the journey greater in the mountains.

Learn extra on France travel:

Before I had to wrench myself from the lake’s shimmering waters, I headed up to Annecy’s Vieille Ville, as irresistible as ever. Here, the vivid blue of the lake contrasted with the turquoise waters of the tree-lined Canal du Vassé and the green canopy of trees in the Jardins de l’Europe. On this warm day, most of the population seemed to be sunning itself on the town’s lakeside beaches. Everyone else was sitting on the café terraces along the Canal de Thiou, leaving Annecy’s most photogenic landmark – the medieval Palais de l’Île, on its personal island – comparatively quiet. It was solely €3.90 to go to, so I popped in for a crash course on the wealthy historical past of the constructing and to see the artwork in its higher gallery.

Bout du Lac nature reserve

(Adam Batterbee)

After this totally pleasing lakeside interlude, it was time to acquire one other 600m in altitude and observe the twisting highway in the direction of my subsequent base at the ski resort of La Clusaz. However first there was Les Fromages du Fermier in Manigod, in any other case generally known as my concept of heaven. Right here in this land of reblochon, tomme de Savoie, abondance and beaufort, I joined the weekly Thursday cheese tasting and tour of the cheese caves (€8). My French may nearly sustain with the commentary, however my style buds have been already fluent.

I quickly found how surreal it may be to go to a place you realize solely when it’s coated in snow. La Clusaz was at its greenest on this sunny June day, the unfrozen waters of the close by Lac des Confins reflecting the surrounding mountains. Abondance cows ambled round the meadows, their cowbells including music to the moos.

I quickly found how surreal it may be to go to a place you realize solely when it’s coated in snow

The footpath’s terrain was a bit too tough for my unstable knee, however I had higher luck the subsequent day on the Col des Annes, the place a handful of eating places and cheese farms fashioned a mini hamlet at 1,721m. After a tartiflette lunch at La Cheminée, I adopted one among the tracks that fanned out from this mountain move, whose moor-like panorama was dotted with the occasional herd of cows. I clocked the signpost for a four-hour hike to Lac de Lessy and added it to my wish-list for the future.

Again in La Clusaz, I discovered a museum that paid homage to two of the area’s most significant parts: cheese and snowboarding. In a pretty Savoyard-style chalet, Le Hameau des Alpes (€7) tells the story of reblochon on its floor flooring, whereas its higher degree explores in fascinating element (particularly previous movie footage) the historical past of snowboarding in the space. The museum’s farm outbuildings, together with an previous communal bread oven and reveals of farming life over the centuries, jogged my memory how rustic and rural the area nonetheless is.

(Adam Batterbee)

Rustic and rural have been actually on the menu on my closing dinner at the convivial Chalet Savoyard on the Col des Aravis at 1,498m, close to the border between Haute Savoie and Savoie. It was the summer solstice, and there was nonetheless a dusky mild on the mountains once we emerged from the restaurant. Elsewhere in France, individuals have been celebrating the Fête de la Musique, when everybody makes music on the longest day of the 12 months. Annecy, I used to be advised, was the place the large social gathering was occurring. However right here on the empty D909, the place the Tour de France would come rolling alongside in a few weeks’ time, there was solely the loud, joyous sound of cowbells, our personal Fête des Cloches. I didn’t want an adrenalin-boosting Alpine journey – simply the midsummer magic of the mountains.

The ski resort of La Clusaz has a complete completely different look come summer

(Adam Batterbee)

Journey necessities

Getting there

Mary Novakovich travelled with Annecy Mountains and Le Shuttle, which has Folkestone-Calais crossings from £87 every manner.

Staying there

In Annecy, the historic Abbaye de Talloires has performed host to celebrities from Mark Twain to Paul Cézanne. Individually designed rooms and suites are complemented by a connoisseur restaurant and brasserie, vaulted bar and 200sqm spa;

In La Clusaz, the four-star St Alban Lodge & Spa combines Artwork Deco-inspired model, cosy rooms, a stylish bar and a spa, full with indoor swimming pool, sauna, natural tea room with a salt wall, sensory bathe and ice cave;

Learn extra of our finest Europe lodge critiques

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button