View Full Version : Some holiday tips req for the Annecy in France

6th Jun 2014, 20:28
Hi all going for a weeks holiday over in France next month...

Staying in Annecy and I am after somebody with local knowledge that can tell me of any interesting places to visit within an hour or so drive,

We are planning to visit chamonix to have a ride on the cable car that take you up near the summit of Mont Blanc,

If I am feeling ambitious I was also toying with the idea of driving through the tunnel to Italy...any nice little towns in Italy not to far from the tunnel...just how busy is the traffic going through the tunnel????

I am not wanting to getting involved with any flying activity's as its not fair on my wife...did that last time I went to France.


6th Jun 2014, 21:25
If I am feeling ambitious I was also toying with the idea of driving through the tunnel to Italy...any nice little towns in Italy not to far from the tunnel...just how busy is the traffic going through the tunnel????

You're thinking about driving around Italy and you're worried about the traffic in some poxy tunnel.... ha ha .. thanks for the Friday laugh ! :E

As for the tunnel, its the 21st century, I'm sure if you googoo it you can probably find live traffic reports, maybe even some live cameras !

6th Jun 2014, 21:46
Done the tunnel. Interesting, but expensive (29 euros??). It wasn't busy. Nothing like the Gotthard!

There was a small town the other side which TBH was boring. I went to one bar with my then 11-year old daughter and they didn't have any gelato, so that was that!

Went back the scenic way which involved some well hairy roads with sheer drops on one side, so watch it if you don't fancy heights!

If you go into Switzerland, make sure you pick up a vignette at the border. You can't go on motorways or expressways without one, and being Switzerland, you will be nicked if you try to get away with it. The cost is 40 CHF and it is valid from January to December.

Edited to add the caveat that this was five years ago. Also, don't worry about driving in Italy, no problems, especially if you've driven in Asia.

Cornish Jack
6th Jun 2014, 22:10
Annecy ? ... GLORIOUS scenery, more than enough going on locally to not need to tour. The Chamonix, Mont Blanc trip well worth it. Did a visit with CFS helos in the 60s, and our French Air Force hosts were marvellous. They took us on a tour round the lake and stopped off at a small church high up on the edge of the cliff road. Inside there was a carved statue, the detail of which was exquisite and which I can still see in my mind's eye - stunning!!
The Mont Blanc cable car got me as far as the Plein du Midi ... I looked at the single span cable from there to the top and generously allowed my space in the car to be used by someone else!!:eek::eek:

6th Jun 2014, 22:32
Chamonix is nice enough and a trip up to the Aiguille du Midi is interesting (and reassuringly expensive) but if you take another cable car up to the Col du Brevent on the opposite side of the valley, you will be afforded the wonderful panorama of the Mont Blanc massif from 2600m which you won't get from the 1000m higher cable car although the view of the Vallee Blanche glacier is better up high. In the town there are the usual touristy shops and a mountaineering museum (if that is of interest).

The tunnel is easy to go through and on the other side is the Italian 'Chamonix' called Courmeyeur which is nice and Italian, i.e good food, but choose wisely as a few places are for clueless tourists :} From Chamonix you can drive the back roads to Martigny in Switzerland, the journey is nicer than the destination. If you and yer lady like walking/hiking then there's plenty of lovely side trips to be had.


6th Jun 2014, 22:53
Go hang gliding. There's a great tandem hang gliding school on the hills above the lake, where you run down a wooden ramp straight out over the lake (but a couple of thousand of feet or so above it). Absolutely brilliant, but last time I did it you needed someone with you to drive down to the fields near the lake to pick you up and drive you, the instructor and the hang glider back up to the school. Look for signs that say "École de l'Air ", as despite the mil connotations this was the signage to the hang gliding school last time I was there.

B Fraser
7th Jun 2014, 10:17
Seconded ! Paragliding is a hoot too. There is a huge takeoff site at Col de La Forclaz on the east side of the lake. If you have cojones of steel, go rock climbing on a "via ferata". You will be clipped on at all times and I thought I had a strong stomach...... never again. I'm glad I did it though !

7th Jun 2014, 10:35
Much as I would love to give Paragliding a try...I want to keep to activity's me and the wife can share...and you wont get her trying Paragliding,

She wont even fly with me in my microlight unfortunately...

Just looking for beauty spots and nice places to visit...she love bric a brac type markets.

7th Jun 2014, 12:13
If you do make it to Courmayeur you shouldn't miss

La Maison de Filippo
Courmayeur dal 1965
Fraz. Entrèves 11013-Courmayeur (AO)-ITALY
Tel.+39-0165869797 Fax+39-0165869705

Bring a good appetite, Lunch must be 20 courses all excellent! Bring your wallet too, it isn't cheap.

Take the tunnel one way and the Col du Petit Saint-Bernard / Colle del Piccolo San Bernardo back. The journey, including Lunch, can be done in a day.

Price for the Swiss motorway vignette is still CHF40 and is valid from December to January two calendar years later. (14 months) Many cars rented in the area will have one fixed to the windscreen, but no guarantees. French Motorways are almost all Toll roads. Not so in Italy.

7th Jun 2014, 13:25
Hiring our car in Swiss part of Geneva airport so hopefully it will have the Swiss motorway vignett,

Thank for the advise so far guys.


7th Jun 2014, 17:59
Yes, but no guarantees. Double check before you drive off.

Renting from the French side could be a lot cheaper, you should check.

Most Swiss rental cars are registered in Appenzell Innerrhoden (Plaque beginning AI) because it's the cheapest canton to register a car.

izod tester
7th Jun 2014, 22:02
If your hire car does not have a vignette then that is no big deal, you can still drive from Geneva to Annecy without using the Swiss motorways. Make sure you do not enter the roads in Switzerland signposted with green signs.

If you want to get closer to a Glacier and are reasonably fit, then I recommend taking the path up the side of the Bosson Glacier which is the route the first people to climb Mont Blanc took. The Bosson Glacier is very fast moving (for a Glacier) and you can usually hear the ice cracking as it moves and the ice formations are spectacular. There is also some wreckage from the Air India Constellation that crashed on Mont Blanc in 1950 on display at the cafe at the bottom of the walk.

7th Jun 2014, 23:32
IT that sounds interesting...how much of a walk are you talking.

Can you give me a location of that cafe....

"There is also some wreckage from the Air India Constellation that crashed on Mont Blanc in 1950 on display at the cafe at the bottom of the walk"

8th Jun 2014, 07:31
It's the Chalet des Bossons (http://www.chamonix.com/glacier-des-bossons,90,en.html).

It has wreckage exuded from the glacier of the two Air India crashes at almost the same spot. The Constellation (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Air_India_Flight_245) in 1950, and a B707 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Air_India_Flight_101) in 1966.

Two ways to get there, you can walk or take the chairlift.

izod tester
8th Jun 2014, 07:37
The walk up to the Pyramides chalet from the top of the chairlift is about 2km, but it is quite steep so not good if you are not fit. Also consider that the altitude makes a difference.

Another thing to look out for are wild Chamois. We were lucky enough to see some only about 100m away.

More details about the Boss on chairlift are at:

Glacier des Bossons - Chamonix Mont-Blanc Tourist Office : alpine glacier, the Bossons glacier chair lift (http://www.chamonix.com/glacier-des-bossons,90,en.html)

8th Jun 2014, 09:07
some well hairy roads with sheer drops on one side,

Indeed, but amazing roads and amazing scenery so I'd recommend it. After many years blasting across the Alps in the Mercedes (a girlfriend in Italy and not wanting to pay for tunnels) I developed acrophobia and sadly these spectacular paths are now closed to me.

(As, even more sadly, is the girlfriend in Italy).

8th Jun 2014, 09:14

"Went back the scenic way which involved some well hairy roads with sheer drops on one side, so watch it if you don't fancy heights"

Can you give me an example of the route you took.

8th Jun 2014, 12:58
magpienja - will have to have a look on the Michelin and work out approximately the route I took. The thing is, it wasn't deliberate, I just sort of found my way on to the road and was too far in before I realised it was a tad hairy! :}

Will be back to you later today I hope. :ok:

8th Jun 2014, 14:48
Pretty certain it would be the 'Col du Petit Saint Bernard (https://www.google.com/maps/dir/Courmayeur+AO,+Italy/Annecy,+France/@45.731184,6.3906864,10z/data=!4m24!4m23!1m15!1m1!1s0x478947729b2f6723:0xff6888e61dfb 8dea!2m2!1d6.9689626!2d45.7969221!3m4!1m2!1d6.9310629!2d45.7 108395!3s0x47894037b3a5d58f:0x4eaee8844552132a!3m4!1m2!1d6.6 516447!2d45.553694!3s0x47897cb1fecbd759:0x6934a10340a21753!1 m5!1m1!1s0x478b8ffa1c0551c9:0x42781681620534ba!2m2!1d6.12938 4!2d45.899247!3e0)'.

Victor Inox
8th Jun 2014, 15:05
Holidaying around Annecy is ok, just don't drive around in a 5-series estate.

8th Jun 2014, 15:10
Why...is that where that shooting happened???

8th Jun 2014, 15:21
It was in the region, but there's more chance of you being shot where you live and work, than where you are going for your holiday.


9th Jun 2014, 07:40
Yes, looks like it. But take the D902 over the top.....check it out on the map ExXB kindly provided.

PS You don't have an estranged brother I trust....

9th Jun 2014, 08:38
There are some excellent restaurents in the old town by the canal plus recommend the parapenting over the edge of the lake. Lovely town

9th Jun 2014, 09:28
One of those restaurants is the Auberge du Lyonnais where I had a very enjoyable birthday lunch a few years ago. Worth a visit if it is still going.

If you are interested in history the National Monument to the French Resistance at Plateau Glières isn't far away - near Thônes.

National Monument to the Resistance Plateau Glières | Chemins de Mémoire - Ministère de la Défense - Ministère de la Défense (http://www.cheminsdememoire.gouv.fr/en/national-monument-resistance-plateau-glieres)

Walks by the Lake are plentiful and the town itself is interesting. I'm sure you'll have a great time.

10th Jun 2014, 10:54
The normal return charge through the tunnel is 53.80 Euros and you pay for motorways in Italy. The town on the Italian side, Courmayeur is a bit commercial. I find that the best time to get through the tunnel is before 8am and avoid Friday afternoons. Sunday during the day with no trucks is fairly easy and information boards en route will tell you the state of the queue at any time. As there is a separate queue for trucks don't get stuck in the wrong lane. Or use your foreign plates as an excuse to go steaming up outside the queue and shrug your shoulders if anyone makes any comments..

16th Jul 2014, 16:11
A big thank you guys...the holidays around the Alps went without a hitch with lots of good advice from you all,

Only downside...the wx was quite poor most of the week with lots of low cloud and at times heavy rain...

Old Anncey is lovely...we ate there every night,

Managed a trip on the Aiguille du Midi...amazing...much to my surprise my wife also love it ever though she got sunburnt...the highlight of her week she said...not the best of days to do it but the best of the week....once up there we where in the mist...stopped for 5 hours..it was magical...but we really felt the altitude 12600ft..both of us quite breathless and slightly dizzy at times...being so near that powerful antenna tower was a bit concerning though,

The cloud tantalisingly cleared at times but not enough to see the Mt Blanc summit,

Must go back again some time on a clear day,

Even got the wife on the chair lift up to the cafe at the Bosson glacier...the most adventurous I have ever know her to be...saw the undercarriage leg from the Air India Constellation...but she says she still not fly in my microlight with me...still working on that,

Even visited Courmayeur for a taste of Italy...we both enjoyed that and the journey here trough the Mt Blanc Tunnel was event free...apart from the one way cost 42euro....

Coming back via the St Bernard Pass...amazing,

Thanks for your advice and help that gave us a very nice week in the Alps.


16th Jul 2014, 16:30
Glad you had a good time. Nice of you to thank everyone! :ok:

I would add that I think your trouble is exceedingly wise not to want to go up with you in a microlight! You must be bloody mad!! := :ooh:

16th Jul 2014, 16:34
Sorry about the lousy weather - it really was awful, wasn't it? probably not much consolation if I say it was untypical for this time of year.

You've reminded me that we're due a trip to Annecy - the old town is great, as you say.