On my fourth and final day in Annecy, I woke up with no plan. I had already checked hiking and cycling off my list of things to do there. The adventurous part of me really wanted to try paragliding, but it wasn’t in my budget this time around. I thought about going for another hike, albeit a shorter one. Mount Veyrier was the closest mountain, but since I had hiked there previously, I looked at a map to scope out the other peaks in the area. Across the lake from Mont Veyrier, I spied Semnoz, which appeared to be a ski station. Where there’s a ski station there’s probably a cable car…
Semnoz is a 1702 m (5584 ft ) tall mountain in the Parc naturel régional du Massif des Bauges that has a ski station offering a variety of winter and summer activities. From Annecy’s old town, I was able to take the S4 line from Hôtel de Ville up to Semnoz Nordique for free since buses are free in Annecy in July and August. It’s a half an hour ride up to the resort and about 15-20 of those minutes are on a windy mountain road. Of course parking is available for those who prefer to bring a car.
When I arrived at the station I saw that there were a number of different activities to do, especially ones that would be fun for kids like the alpine luge and a scavenger hunt. The luge looked fun and reminded me of the time I tried it in the Black Forest . Instead, I opted for a round-trip ticket for the cable car, which was about 4€.
Once I reached Semnoz’s highest summit, Crêt de Châtillon, I was immediately in awe of the views. I thought I saw Mont Blanc in the distance and once I checked the viewpoint indicator, my suspicion was confirmed. I was quite happy to see the highest mountain in the alps again, especially since the view of was obscured by clouds on my Mount Veyrier hike.
As I wandered past the table d’orientation to see the views from other angles, I heard the faint chiming of bells in the distance. Then I saw a huge herd of cows! Since I still had plenty to time to spend up in the mountain, I figured I would wander some of the trails and see the cows up close.
It was a little difficult to tell which trails were which and I almost ended up walking on a mountain bike trail, which would have been dangerous. That being said, there weren’t any trees on the sides of the path of the summit, so I could see where I was headed and I wasn’t afraid of getting lost.
There were so many cows along the trail and the sound of the bells was even more beautiful up close. I really felt like I was having a Sound of Music or Heidi moment up there. There was even a dairy farm where you could purchase the local cheese and milk. I felt very reassured to see cows eating grass out in the open because many other animals aren’t afforded the same freedom in industrial farms.
Towards the halfway point of my loop I saw a view of lac du Bourget, the lake of Aix-les-Bains. I’ll have to vist there someday to see if swimming there is just as fun as in lake Annecy! There were even more trails I could have taken, but I wanted to get back to Annecy so I could swim one last time before heading home, especially since it was a warm sunny day up on the mountain.
I took the same bus back down the mountain but got off at an earlier stop that was closer to la plage des marquisats, which I went to a couple of days before. I’m not much of an athletic swimmer, but I think that if I lived here, I would be in the water almost everyday!
After hiking and swimming, I was pretty hungry so I had a veggie burger from The Roster for an early dinner. If you’ve been following along this Solo Summer Trip to Annecy series you know I treated myself to an ice cream cone every day on this trip so far, so the last day could be no exception. My go-to combo is one scoop of sorbet and one scoop of ice cream for the perfect balance. Today’s flavors of choice were strawberry and stracciatella.
Because it was a Saturday, Annecy was a lot busier than the previous few days. There was even some kind of festival going on and I saw some troubadours dressed in traditional Savoie clothing.
I still had about an hour before I needed to be at the train station, so I found a bench facing the lake and started to journal about my day. As I wrote and people watched, I heard a very strange noise. I thought it was some kind of helicopter or construction, but it just turned out to be a busker playing a didgeridoo. The sound was quite disturbing to me since the vibrations are very low and it was a busy afternoon, so I ended up moving to a different spot where I couldn’t hear it anymore. I didn’t want my last hour in Annecy to be full of stress after all!
Eventually, it was time to say goodbye to the lake and the old town and catch my train back to Paris. This spontaneous little trip was exactly what I needed after a stressful school year. I’m so happy that I was able to visit Annecy again and during the summer this time.
À la prochaine,
P.S. Check out my vlog of my Solo Trip to Annecy here: