One of the many fabulous things about living in Annecy, is that with such gorgeous surroundings… there are lots of great walks to do as a family! We are still exploring so please leave comments with more if you have some top tips!
After an excruciatingly painful trip to London this summer, where my eldest, who is four and a half refused to walk pretty much anywhere (without a huge argument)…and I spent most of my time explaining to her why she was too old to get in her younger sisters pushchair or carrying her on my shoulders…I decided a plan of action was needed once we got home!
So the plan of action!!!
It actually turned out to be quite successful (not a miracle either but…Rome wasn’t built in a day) and enjoyable, so I thought I’d share it with you just in case you too have lazy little ones and/or just like getting out and about!
Plan 1: Buy some special mountain shoes (she has decided she needs the sticks too ;-))
(Yes, at the tender age of 4 she is already happily persuaded by the retail therapy of new shoes! Heaven help us as she gets older)
Plan 2: Research some nice, easy walks to do locally, ideally with an aim (animals to see, lunch to be eaten)
Plan 3: Encourage her
Plan 4: If possible go with friends who have children of a similar age who aren’t as lazy 😉 Nothing like instilling a bit of competiveness or just simply distracting your child.
So here are 3 of the walks we did…Should you fancy some walking this Autumn or next Summer:
Walk 1: Le Col des Nantets with lunch at the Chalet de la froulaz
This was the first walk with the new walking shoes & I would recommend it!
The starting point is past the Col de la Forclaz, towards Monmin. You drive up to the Chalet de l’Aulp and park as if you would do la Tournette (definitely not one to try with lazy little ones). The track isn’t in great condition…if you have a 4×4 take it…if not drive slowly or avoid cars with low motors or a new sports car 😉
Once parked (very busy in the summer), walk past the bar-restaurant the chalet de l’aulp and take the path that heads down into the forest. You head through the forest on this lovely path to a crossing point with a stream, we were lucky enough to see several chamois drinking up stream. The path then heads up through a farmer’s field towards the Col des Nantets (ignore the path towards Talloires). We saw lots of cows which too created an added diversion from not wanting to walk!! The col has a lovely iron cross…which we walked to and touched (another distraction!!!). You also get some great views down the valley of Montremont (towards the fish farm). You can then walk round to the Chalet de la Froulaz for lunch. The walk took us approx 45 – 50 mins.
You have to pre-book lunch and the menu is limited but good. If you’d like the specialty of “beignets de pomme de terre” – you have to specify this when booking (we didn’t but they looked good). The other food was pretty good too…with fresh, Savoyard fare – cheeses, hams, omelettes, tarts etc.
Walk 2: Chalet de l’Aresellaz, (easy name to remember ;-)) Val d’Isère
It’s the second summer that we have done this walk as a family, with friends and it really is lovely.
Once in Val d’Isère head towards the Manchet Valley and park as far as you can get, there is a little car park at the end of the valley, before the walking track.
The Chalet de l’Arsellaz is sign posted and takes approx 30-45 mins walk (either up the main track – on the left hand side looking up or a small path on the right hand side), subject to your kids walking abilities! At certain times of year there are lots of marmot’s to be seen and chamois (with binoculars). The Chalet is lovely for lunch, however you do need to pre-book. It’s great for kids…there is plenty of space for them to run around and let off steam post meal, so you can finish yours. There are horses next to a tiny lake and there is a lovely grassy area with swings and such like and some hens in a small enclosure to look at.
There is a set menu: we had cured hams, omelets, fresh bread, a cheese platter and blueberry tart. They do half portions for kids if you let them know in advance.
We headed back down after lunch, for a leisurely stroll back down, but if your children are older it may be worth investigating walking up to the refuge du Fond des Fours – you can spend the night here too. It’s indicated that it is another 1 hour 30 from the refuge (not sure how long with kids)
You can pre book lunch on: 0479411230 – they are only open in July & August though.
Walk 3: The Col des Annes – le Grand Bornand
It’s a reasonable drive up there; however there is a lovely “balcony walk” from the top car park and the cluster of restaurants up to terre rouges where there is also a restaurant called terre-rouges. My parents in law wanted to take us to there http://www.restaurant-terres-rouges.fr/photos_restaurant_terres_rouges.html apparently the views are amazing, the food delicious and it’s owned by friends of my parents in law who are also apparently lovely. Unfortunately it had been privatized for a party. So we decided to walk in that direction anyway.
The walk is great and pretty easy with fabulous views down the valley. We encountered lots of cows and had a nice time. There and back took approx 1hour 15 with lots of stopping and starting, to get us back in time for lunch in one of the restaurants in the cluster.
Lunch was the usual Savoyard fare …we opted for “beignets de pomme de terre” which I thought were ok…But my father in law, a “local” & apparent “connaisseur”, was very disappointed with them and the lack of service, to the point that it ruined his lunch. The dishes all came out at different times, with no logic. The waitress was charming but had too many tables to serve and physically couldn’t handle the work load and my father in law who invited us all, said it was over priced… It has to be said we did go on a Sunday and they were very full …But if you do go there avoid it. I can’t remember the name but as you drive up it’s the last one on the right hand side overlooking a field, with a terrace at the back.
Voila! Happy walking & let me know your ideas too!