THE LAKE OF ANNECY
The lake of Annecy, considered as “the purest of Europe” offers landscapes of a legendary beauty, surrounded by majestic mountains and famous summits. Today, its turquoise waters are of an irreproachable quality, quality that is due to a dynamic politic of protection started in the 1950s. Long of little bit more than 14 kilometres, this lake is part of the five biggest Alpine foothill lakes and it’s charged by a sub-lacustrine source, gushing at some 82 metres deep.
The lake is internationally renowned and during summertime, amateur yachtsmen, windsurfers, swimmers, fishermen enjoy the waters of the lake witch temperature fluctuates between 22 and 24°C – sometimes even more – and enjoy the nine beaches and the several pontoons surrounding it.
On either side of the lake, the mountains are part of the landscapes: the Mont-Veyrier (1 291 metres) that goes along its side and offers to the hikers a path of crest pretty easy; the Dent de Lanfon (1 824 metres) in the background of the castle, small mountain chain with sharp summits offering great climbing itineraries; the Tournette (2 351 metres) is highly liked by the hikers and the point of view from the chalets of Aups is worth the detour; le Col de la Forclaz is one of the most renowned European site for the practice of paragliding; the Semnoz, summit of the Massif des Bauges, situated on the opposite side of the lake and proposing a broad skiing area – alpine and Nordic skiing.
Beneath the castle there is the village of Menthon-Saint-Bernard and the one of Veyrier-du-Lac, both being charming destinations, especially alongside their peaceful ports. Talloires and its old village, opens onto the bay situated in front of the Roc de Chère, small mountain chain jutting out into the lake and which ecosystem is very well preserved. On the left side of the lake, Duingt is an old medieval village constructed on a peninsula on which is located the castle of Ruphy (private property). Not far away from there, Saint-Jorioz and Sévrier holds real havens of peace with important reed beds which are the lungs of this lake.
ANNECY AND ITS OLD TOWN
Crossed by the Thiou, which brings the waters of the lake towards the Fier river, Annecy is a city full of life and with a shopping area.
Within the old town, houses with colourful facade are next to the canals. The castle of Annecy, which is also a museum, overlooks this part. The castle is the former house of the Counts of Geneva and the Dukes of Savoy. Today, the castle proposes a permanent exhibition dedicated to the regional heritage and houses the Observatory of the Alpine lakes.
THE ARAVIS RANGE
The valley starts in Thônes, a small commercial town where we can find the cooperative of Reblochon, a tasty unpasteurized cheese, made by hundreds of local farmers-producers. On both side of the Aravis chain - which the highest summit is the “Pointe Percée” (2 750 metres) – La Clusaz and the Grand-Bornand are two “ski resort”-villages offering important skiing areas. In summer, hiking is the main activity with two unmissable hikes: the lake of the Confins and the col of the Aravis, at La Clusaz; the valley of the Bouchet and the “Col des Annes” at the Grand-Bornand. The village of Manigod, still very authentic, is worth the detour. Moreover, throughtout the valley, hundreds of centenarian chalets can be seen.
The lake of Annecy
The town of Annecy
The Aravis Range