The first half of the road trip we followed the river through hilly pastures with small herds of white cows. Innocent new born calves with big beautiful eyes cling to their mothers – half for security and half as a stabiliser. In this neck of the world cows come second in line to chickens. The poulet de Bresse rules the roost here and posters of the revered white hen welcome you to every town and village.
Once out of Bourg en Bresse the landscape quickly changes and we start to ascend in to the Alps. A slow but steady climb to our first stop at Nuntua. This felt very different to the Austrian Alps. A small town that sits in what can only be described as a crater with a lake. We hug the lakeside and follow for the aire quietly slipping in to the last of the camper parking spots. The going rate for the aire is €8 per night but our French neighbours inform us its free at weekends. All of a sudden the lake is all the more appealing.
Our Bumble free aire at Nuntua GPS position: N046.155129, E005.596398
The far corner of the marina leads through to a great view of the lake with a towering slab of rock as a mighty backdrop. Continue along the gravel path for a few minutes to a small, wonky wooden pier. From here you can take a leap of faith and dive bomb in to the bloody freezing lake. Along with half a dozen giddy teenagers. If staying dry sounds a better option head back towards the tourist office and sign up for an zip wire experience across the lake.
The lake is only 4 kilometres on a round trip and offers a nice walk or cycle route. Much prettier than the non de script and rather disappointing town. Ladened with a couple kebab huts and fast food cafes, a far cry from normal French cuisine in the village auberge.
Our second day at the lake brought heavy rain and little opportunity to explore. Confined to Vin the motorhome for 24 hours with Craig drinking endless cups of coffee and pickling equal quantities. Caffeine running through his veins with nowt to do and only 4ft to pace with the odd dog occasionally in the way. My diary that day was simple.. purchase sedative and dart at the first opportunity.
Thankfully, everything comes up geraniums in Annecy. Located just over an hours drive and set amongst the peaks of La Tournette and Le Semnoz. However, our first impressions of this picture postcard French village weren’t so great. The surrounding sprawl of concrete tower blocks and commercial buildings were a shock. But close your eyes and zoom passed the city right to the historical core and its like you’ve been transported in time.
A charming village feel, declared one of the most beautiful in the French Alps. Pansies, and other summer flowers, crowd the hedges, border the pebbled paths, drape the houses, and perfume the air. The narrow alleys and passages are made for wandering along. To spot that distinctive hanging sign or those ornamental windows. All intertwined with a network of narrow canals and romantic bridges.
Follow the Canal du Thiou and watch the ducklings snuggle under mom in the shadows of the Captain Pub Grill. Further down 3 ugly ducklings with their parents parade in front of the Palais de I’Ile bobbing in and out the scaffolding tubes. Here the canal opens in to Lac d’Annecy were you can take a boat trip on the lake or just stroll around watching life in the Alps.
The jardin de l’Europe is a massive open grass land at the side of the lake and today, its heaving. Every inch is taken up with volley ball teams and the battle for their place in the championships. Tosh loves his ball and with balls flying everywhere he was going crazy for the chase. We did a quick exit before Tosh ruined the championship and headed up and over to the castle.
After the castle we headed back to Vin. The aire at Annecy only holds about a dozen spaces and with a championship in full swing it was full. Fortunately, we managed to wind our way up to the basilique and park on their car park. Its free, plenty space, plus it has some of the best views on Annecy.
Our Bumble free parking at Annecy GPS position: N045.892725, E006.126264
Tomorrow, we head to Mont Blanc, a place I have always wanted to visit.