Family Hike Lake Annecy Part 1

Family Hike Lake Annecy Part 1

We made it down here to Annecy, France in record time. The journey was pretty uneventful really, we left at 530am the day after the kids broke up from school, took the ferry across to Calais, then headed south on the motorways, stopping for drinks, baguette and a very welcome ice cream when the car got too hot. We soon realised the air conditioning in the car must be at an all time low as it was having no effect at keeping the car cool!
We stayed over night in Macon to break the journey and let the kids have a good night's rest before carrying on down to Annecy. We arrived at our first apartment for the week, right in the centre of Talloires, and checked out the lake on the map as we planned how we would complete our mission: to hike the lake during our summer holiday. If you've been reading this blog, we've been planning this adventure for some time now - see here and then here.

Our view in Talloires

Map of Lake Annecy - approx 41km to hike around

As the lake is 41km to hike around, (or a little more as you can't always stick right to the edge of it!) we decided to do le petit lac first, this is the smaller end of the lake (bottom right): a mere 13.5km and leave the remainder for another day.

Up bright and early, we headed off on the pleasure boat at 1015hrs, a red and white boat that circulates the entire lake, from Talloires and hopped across to the other side, to Duingt, to then steadily hike back to Talloires, where we are staying. The boat stopped just 3 times: at Angon, then Doussard, then Duingt. (It carries on to Annecy and then does the loop round the lake about 4 times throughout the day.The only draw back: it circles the lake in one direction only.)
The temperature was already around 30C but we were well equipped with lots of ice cold water in cool bags and some handy snacks to keep us going on what we estimated would take us around 4 hours to complete.

The boat trip across Lake Annecy

As we found ourselves over on the other side of Lake Annecy, in Duingt, a stone village with tunnel that cuts through the mountains, we headed for the mairie, town hall and church to then access the tunnel that leads us to the "Voie Verte" the cycle path that can also be used by hikers, roller bladers, cyclists or those in wheelchairs. It is the smoothest path I have ever been on, so perfect for bikes and roller bladers. The moment you step on the path, you enter a different world, where everyone is active, and they are all ages, from kids to retired people, full of vitality, oozing health and well being, with an activity and destination in mind. The cyclists in their professional gear think they rule the Voie Verte and aggressively whistle at you to jump out the way, or they'll run you down as they rush on by going the fastest speed they can. However you learn quickly to just hike on the sides and keep out of their way, even though we have total right to be on the route too.

No sooner had we been hiking a couple of kilometres we spotted a crowd gathering all transfixed on the opposite side of the lake, where we had just boated across from. A fire had started back in Angon, whether it was caused by a cigarette or pan of boiling fat, we can't tell but the fire engines soon arrived to put out the fire.
We trekked on, along the Voie Verte, the green route, or cycle route. If keen, you can actually go the full 30km to Albertville. For us, though we just wanted to stick to Lake Annecy!

The sun rose higher in the sky as we trekked on. Luckily the route is extremely flat with perhaps slight inclines. It used to be a quarry railway years ago but now has had a new lease of life and you see complete families out, cycling, roller blading, hiking. This was a Sunday morning after all.
We stopped at intervals for the essential cool water or snack to keep us going. Or to adjust our socks when a stone or bit of gravel managed to lodge its way into our boots!

At the bottom of the lake, unfortunately there is a stretch with no voie verte, or cycle path, so you just have to walk on the road. This was actually the toughest part as we'd already been hiking two and a half hours and as the road at one point moves inland, you cannot see the lake. You become slightly disorientated and have no bearing as to how far you've come. Soon however we reached Angon and stopped for a welcome ice cold drink and some chips to help us on our way. Just another 20 minutes on and we arrived back in Talloires!
Wow! We did the first 13.5km in just 4 hours! As a family and we now all felt it was such an achievement, such an accomplishment.
Please bear in mind if you think that was slow, it was hot - 35C or hotter, little or no shade. the youngest is 10 years old, the oldest with a troublesome knee!

So one third down, two thirds left to go!
As the boat only goes one way, we think the next section we'll do by bus. ie hike into Annecy then bus back. So watch this space for the next instalment!

And now, whenever we sit on the beach and look out at the lake in Talloires, we can be content in the knowledge we've done it! "Wow! We hiked all around that end of the lake - between the castle at Duingt and Talloires!"

What activity have you done and you think "Wow!"

The Lunchbox Lady x

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