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Rhone Alps Usually I enjoy Paris in August when most Parisians are away during the annual exodus. This year I felt the need to get out, so did a last-minute trip to Annecy, a place I had been wanting to check out for ages. The down side was that I wasn't the only one who had this idea – crowds everywhere except the small town 15 minutes out of Annecy, La Balme de Sillingly, where I found a room. Neighbors were cows, and roosters ruled a.m. air waves.
My rented Fiat 500 took me to awesome mountains and lakes. Did I say I dig mountain driving? It's quite the sport doing hairpin turns & 2nd gear inclines.
Lake Annecy  





This pretty well sums up why people are attracted to Lake Annecy.

Nearby is Lake Leman.

Lake Lehman

Gorges de Fier  



One outing was to gorges the Fier River has carved into the native stone.






Thanks to this boardwalk 75 feet above the flowing river, you get close-up exposure. Not for anyone with a fear of heights!

Occasionally the pathway gets demolished when flash floods engulf it every two or three decades or so, according to video clips that show periodic damage.

  Gorges du Fier pathway
You are urged to interpret shapes as you see them, which I can't help but do normally.

Gorges du Fier

  Gorges du Fier   Gorges du Fier
Gorges du Fier




Gorges du Fier

Nearby is the Montroittier chateau with gorgeous views.

Chateau Montrottoirr

A brief history of how chateaux evolve

Montrottier chateau



The cable car up Mont Blanc in Chamonix required several hours of wait, so I opted for the Montenvers glacier. A tunnel is carved into the ice.

The decreasing volume of the glacier is all too well documented (see picture of access steps to come) – not to mention experienced by being dripped upon profusely.

Climate change? What climate change?

Patagonia raised similar concerns.



Chamonix glacier

This is what it looks like going inside.

Montenvers glacier

Closer up

Montenvers glacier

Ice sculptures are part of the "reward" for climbing down.
ice sculpture   ice sculpture

steps to montenvers glacier entrance  



In the late '80s this cable car arrived at the entrance to the glacier tunnel. Now it's 480 steps further down.

Of course, that means 480 steps back up which tends to deter the less hardy.


Because of a rainy day necessitating doing something indoors, I went to CERN in Geneva – you know, that place where they are trying to find Higgs Boson (whoever he is). I did get an idea of the scale of the research from the huge collider down to the infinitessable particles being bombarded. Children gustily manipulating the interactive exhibits probably understood more than I did, but I tried.



I got a brief look at the Geneva fountain, but it was too rainy to walk around much.

Geneva fountain

A drive around Lake Annecy explored picturesque villages like this.

Talloires lake Annecy

Otherwise, it was seeking out iconic sites like this former prison – not easy since sidewalk space was hard to come by because so many other tourists thought Annecy would be a good August get-away.

Note: English- speaking people pronounce it an-es-cie. Natives often suppress the middle syllable, and it becomes an-cie. Both ways are accepted.





Sorry for all the selfies, but this is Annecy's prime lakefront property.


Annecy port


View from the Chateau d'Annecy

  chateau d'annecy




Did I mention people like to jump off the sides of mountains?

  paragliding in the Alps

Or the food?

Clockwise: Lake trout, whitefish, seafood salad and raclette

Trout   Whitefish
Raclette   Seafood salad



Trip finale – Yvoire, a medieval village on the south (French) bank of Lake Leman.

The north side is Swiss, but you knew that. Right?



Other trips