Enshrined in sublime mountainous reliefs, the lakes of Savoy are sometimes pleasant, sometimes majestic, often imposing, and always magnificent. This route includes four that offer their shores to walkers, boaters, bathers and the sporty crowd: Bourget, Annecy, Léman and Montriond, the smallest and least known. Pass from one to the next through winding roads, high mountain passes, sumptuous panoramas and grandiose cirques. The show depends on the sky!
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Annecy and its lake deserve a good look before you set-off. You then head off to your next stage from the north, located at the mouth of the Vallée de la Fillière in Thorens-Glières. Next, follow the ridge of Mount Salève, which offers magnificent views over the Route des Crêtes. From Annemasse, Geneva, and the tip of Lake Geneva, is within easy reach. After this beautiful discovery, drive to Yvoire, ranked among the most beautiful villages in France before going on to Thonon-les-Bains (15km) for the night.
MyTripTailor Tip: This circuit takes in numerous passes and follows mountain roads that may be closed in winter due to snow. Remember to check first.
After the elegant villas of Thonon-les-Bains, explore ‘the pearl of Lake Geneva’, Evian-les-Bains, at the base of the foothills of the Chablais Pre-Alps. Offering some perspective from up high: at 980m, Morzine is a beautiful a mid-sized mountain. In the immediate vicinity is the small Lake Montriond. Don’t miss Samoëns, listed as a historical monument. After the Fer-à-Cheval cirque (in the Sixt nature reserve, 9,200ha of alpine landscapes between 900 and 3,096m), drive to Talloires.
Talloires, on the edge of the small Lake Annecy is a popular holiday destination. The road pulls away from its shores to the Forclaz pass. Follow your route to Faverges, which stretches between the Aravis mountain range and the Bauges massif. Drive to the pretty village of Duingt, a testimony to Savoyard hardiness. The road then passes through the Col de Leschaux and follows the Bellecombe Gorge to the Pont du Diable, where a torrent rages. Finally, you reach Lake Bourget in Aix-les-Bains.
MyTripTailor Advice: The lakes offer the option of some very nice boat trips. So, plan a little extra time for these opportunities to explore the lakes.
A seaside and spa resort, Aix-les-Bains shines under the golds of its Belle Epoque facades. Return to Annecy after a romantic visit to Hautecombe Abbey on the shore of the lake. On the docks, in the large parks bordering the lake and in the lanes of the old town crisscrossed by canals, history is everywhere. Stroll along the small bridges, including the famous Pont des Amours, walk along the arches of rue Ste-Claire and visit the Palais de l’Île to soak up the atmosphere.
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