Travelling in the heart of the Alps
|Annecy||Le PrÃ© CarrÃ©|
|Talloires||L'Abbaye de Talloires|
|Champagny en Vanoise||Le Refuge du Laisonnay|
|Bourg Saint Maurice||L'Autantic|
5 Days Program
|Afternoon||Walk along the lake. Free time.|
Annecy is located between Geneva and ChambÃ©ry. Thus its history was strongly influenced by these two towns between the 10th and the 19th century. Located on the shore of the Lake, Annecy has been a political, religious and industrial centre. The town is called "the Venice of the Alps" because of the three rivers which go through the old city. The beautiful town includes: the Palais de l'Isle, also called the old prison( 12th century); the Annecy Castle (12th - 16th century); the Cathedral of Saint Pierre (early 16th century);the rue Sainte Claire and its romantic arches (17th - 18th century); the rue royale with shops, gardens and the Saint Jean fountain. This street is the heart of the commercial and political activities of the town.
Second largest lake in France, it is framed by the Bauges Massif and the Bornes Massif. The lake, from a glacier origin has been formed 18.000 years ago. It is one of the cleanest lake in the world. It is the area of several natural reserves (fauna and flora). Lovely and historical city and villages are situated on its coast.
|Afternoon||Boat trip on the lake - Talloires.|
|Dinner||L'Abbaye de Talloires|
Annecy Lake Boat Tour
Experience a real adventure by boat on the beautiful lake of Annecy to explore its hidden wonders : we'll tack you back 3000 years to see the village ruins below the water's surface using a bathyscaphe, a short walk along the shores will reveal the true biodiversity of one of the area's nature reserves, discover the impressive 200 ft cliffs of the Roc de Chere to a cave only accessible by boat, the most stunning lakeside residences will be discovered, and why not to bath in the unbelievably crystal clear water. At the end of the day, you could attend the cow milking in the last farm near the lake.
Talloires is a charming village situated on the east shore of the Annecy Lake, at the bottom of two pikes (Dents de Lanfon and the Tournette).
|Morning||The medieval city of Conflans|
|Afternoon||Village of Champagny-le-Bas in the company of an inhabitant. Saint Sigismond Church- Transfer to the Refuge du Laisonnay.|
|Dinner||Refuge du Laisonnay and local Drink|
|After dinner||Traditional tales and songs.|
Medieval town of Conflans
Conflans is a medieval town, situated above Albertville (the modern town), at the entry of the Tarentaise Valley. The beautiful town includes: the Gande Place, the Maison Rouge, (14th century), a baroque church, garden with the Tour Sarrazine, and enchanted medieval streets and back streets, shops, fountains.
Church St Sigismond â€“ Champagny en Vanoise
The church of St Sigismond of Champagny is a remarkable example of baroque art in Savoy. It was built for the 3rd time in 1683 on its gypseous promontory. Its exterior is very simple contrasting clearly with its rich decorative interior, typical of baroque art: profusion of decor, overindulgent use of gold, of colour, of light, of curved lines, saturation of space, movement, etc...
Refuge Le Laisonnay
The founders: Everything started in 1960 when Serge and Catherine Mino bought a small mountain pasture in the valley of Champagny-Le-Haut. The couple worked hard to transform the place into a nice chalet. At this time, the few people that were hiking in the mountains was starting to talk about Mino's hospitality and got used to stop in Laisonnay for eating and resting. Soon the nice food and friendly atmosphere became very famous, more and more people were coming and more and more services were given. In 1963 the chalet officially became a place where customers could receive drinks, food, and a bed for the night. Le Refuge du Laisonnay, the first private owned refuge in the Vanoise National Park, was born...
The birth of a tradition: During this time, the refuge could receive up to 70 night guests and big banquets were quite commonly held. Hunters and other habitants belonging to Champagny's older generations can still tell stories and anecdotes about the famous temperament of Â« la MÃ¨re Mino Â», and about the nice atmosphere that was always present in the refuge. Maybe the cosiness came from the fact that Catherine was growing all the vegetables herself, or maybe was it because of the good taste that the wine takes at this altitude...
The second generation: After Catherine's death, one of her sons, Jean Mino, decided to continue running the refuge. He was a true mountain lover and he was very much involved in the development of Champagny as a ski-nature resort. He was also one of the persons who initiated The Refuge of La GliÃ¨re, and some of the events still being held in Champagny (the guided tour of the Saint-Sigismond church, the painting exhibition...). Jean Mino decided to renovate the refuge to be able to offer the customers more comfort. The renovation was finished in 1992 with help from many people. In their work they made a great effort to be in accordance with the new legislations while keeping the authenticity and originality of the chalet. The capacity of the refuge changed from 70 to 16 beds which certainly assured the customers comfort. Unfortunately, Jean Mino left us in 1996.
The continuation: Convinced of the importance of keeping the traditions, Jean's wife Madeleine, his brother Louis, his children and his grandchildren, decided to continue the activities of the Refuge. They all supported FranÃ§oise, daughter of Jean, so that the refuge could continue to be the place to meet for mountain lovers. Still today, people come to the refuge to enjoy traditional Savoyard dishes in authentic and cheerful surroundings. Since today the third and fourth generation are greeting you in Laisonnay, you really can say that it is a true family-run activity.
|Morning||Champagny-le-Haut guided by a ranger of the Vanoise National Park, The Glacialis Space.|
|Lunch||Refuge du Bois|
|Afternoon||SÃ©ez : the Filature Arpin, the making of crozets - Transfer to Bourg-St-Maurice.|
Champagny le Haut
The Valley of Champagny le Haut (1450 m) is a superb preserved valley, classified in â€˜the natural monuments and sites of France' for its beautiful countryside and the preserved architecture of its villages. It is also the Gateway to the National Park of Vanoise (the oldest National Park in France, founded in 1963) and the starting point for many walking activities. As Samivel liked to say, The Vanoise National park is the "biggest French garden". 600km of marked footpaths which guide towards the passes, the refuges and the awesome landscapes. We will hike with a ranger to discover his amazing job and this national park.
This museum, situated in the restored ex-presbytery of Champagny-le-Haut, is dedicated to the mountain glaciers. 3 themes are illustrated: the discovery of the Vanoise glaciers, their symbolic and mythological meanings, and their historical and scientist approach.
Set up in the village of SÃ©ez Saint Berbard, the historical birthplace of wool weaving, near the Italian border, the Filature Arpin has been perpetuating the family business of threading and weaving wool since 1817. Half of the machines used to make Filature Arpin products are listed ancient heritage machines. The entire manufacturing and wool transformation process is integrated. The operations include selecting, washing, drying, carding threading, weaving on a Jacquard loom, making and finishing. In addition to these complex operations, the company has always been the only one that makes Bonneval clothes. This woollen extremely robust fabric is used to make shepherds â€˜capes and mountain guides' knickerbockers.
These small squares of corn flour pasta emerged in the Savoy with the cultivation of maize during the 17th century. They are always made in SÃ©ez Saint Bernard with the traditional recipe and they are one of the specialities of the Savoy area. You could taste the famous gratin de crozets.
|Morning||Les Chapieux: the making of the cheese beaufort- Transfer to Beaufort, stop over Cormet de Roselend (dam and lake).|
|Lunch||Le Bouchon gourmand|
|Afternoon||Beaufort and Transfer to the airport.|
The Chapieux Valley and the life in high mountain pasture
The area of Les Chapieux is set in a deep and beautiful valley, at one end is the ancient village des glaciers. A family farmer and a cheese maker live in this village, in summer time, in the high mountain pasture. Traditionally the family stay in the valley for the winter and go up in the high mountain pasture during the summer, to feed cows, sheep and the goats. few families still continue this tradition nowadays.
The "Beaufort" cheese
Beaufort is a hard, rather sharp cheese made from cow's milk and is similar to gruyÃ¨re. It is produced in the area around Beaufort. It is this high altitude that endows Beaufort with its unique flavor. There are three varieties of Beaufort:
- Beaufort de Savoie (or summer Beaufort)
- Beaufort d'alpage (made in chalets in the Alps)
- Beaufort d'hiver (winter Beaufort)
Beaufort cheese is prepared using 11 liters of milk for every 1 kg of cheese desired. The milk used in one variety comes from the Tarentaise or Abondance cows that graze in the Alps. First, the milk is heated and then the cheese is cast into its molds, pressed, and salted. The mold into which the Beaufort cheese is pressed lends a visually distinctive characteristic to Beaufort cheese: its concave rind. The cheese is smear-ripened to produce a stronger flavour and its rind colour. The prepared cheese must then age for 6â€“12 months, or even longer, in a cool mountain cellar. During this period, the cheese takes on its yellow colour and acquires much of its flavour.
The "Cormet de Roselend"
The Cormet de Roselend is a pass situated at 1968 meters high, between the Mont Blanc Massif and the Beaufortain Massif. It links (in the summer time) Bourg-Saint-Maurice to Beaufort. Closed to the Cormet de Roselend, there is the Roselend Dam, built between 1955 and 1960. It is one of the most aesthetic mountain dams.