There are some wonderful places to visit around Lake Annecy (as if the lake itself wasn’t quite enough). Yesterday we took a drive around the lake which really is beautiful. Today we are visiting places away from the lake: La Semnoz ski station high in the mountains above Saint Jorioz and Lake Annecy, and le Gorges du Fier, an amazing site just a few miles east of Annecy. The drive through the trees up into the mountains to Semnoz is lovely. This is our first real experience of multiple hairpin bends and the hooms seem to be doing lots of “ooh-ing”, “aah-ing” and “wow-ing” at the scenery and laughing a bit when they drive round some of the bends. I’m not sure how normal this is but it’s pretty funny to listen to – you’d think they’d never driven round a bend before. It must look really pretty in the snow up here, but there’s none of that today. As we near the top the trees thin out a little until there are none at all and the view opens out across the top of the mountain.
Semnoz sits at 1699m (5574ft) and the views are amazing. There are ski lifts a short walk up the hill (short for the hooms at any rate, a mammoth trek for me) so we go and investigate.
Apparently when it snows humans come here to the top and then slide back down the hill on two sticks, then get the chair back up and slide down again and so on. Sounds like a hoot. Maybe we could try it one day. The hoom says it’s not a good idea she ever tries, lest she be stuck in a Bridget Jones-esque manner and get flung off the other side *chuckles*.
There is a point on the road on the way back down the mountain where you can see nearly all of Lake Annecy. You can probably see our campsite too (memo to self: affix large sail-type flag to tent next holiday). That cloud looks like a really big mountain. I’m pretty sure it IS a cloud anyway. It’s quite a view isn’t it. On a less pleasant note there’s also a lot of big black flies round this spot which led to lots of comedy thrashing about by the hooms that made me giggle.
From Semnoz we drove towards Annecy then to Lovagny and the Gorges du Fier. The gorges are basically a narrow canyon carved out by the water over a long, long time with a walkway affixed to the rock face about 25m above the water. It’s really cheap to go and have a look (no charge for small yellow bears and only 5Euros each for the hooms). Their website will tell you all about exact opening times/dates/prices and so on. It’s pretty impressive to put a gangway up here on the rocks.
They say the water can reach way up over the walkway when the weather is really bad. That’s kind of scary to think about. It’s a nice day today though and it’s not raining so I’m sure we’ll be OK. The shapes the water has made in the rock are really amazing
The faces in the rock are linked to a local legend which goes like this: The Count of Montrottier wanted to check if his wife Diane was being faithful to him so he asked a young page boy to keep an eye on her. The young boy was secretly in love with Diane and whilst watching her he discovered that she was having an affair with the Count of Pontverre, a rival of her husband. The boy was heartbroken and he told the Count of Montrottier about the affair, who decided to try and catch out his wife and the Count of Pontverre. He set a trap at the Gorges du Fier but it ended up going badly wrong and whilst chasing the Count of Pontverre the young boy fell into the gorge. Since then it is said that moans can be heard coming from the gorge which are from the young boy who mourns his lost love. How very sad.
A bit of practical information. There are 2 free carparks for the gorges. There are quite a lot of steps so it might not be suitable if you have problems with mobility. There is a shop and a little cafe with a terrace and picnic area.
If you click any of the photos it will take you through to either mine or the hooms’ Flickr pages so you’ll find lots more pictures. Next on the visiting agenda is the cascade and grotto at Seythenex just beyond the end of Lake Annecy.
Thanks for reading,