Lake Annecy and The Haute Savoie of France
with Tony Pragnell
Saturday 11th - Sunday 19th May 2019
9 daysDeposit: £75pp
Travel Insurance: £41.50pp
Single supplement: £195
In May we will once again be travelling with Tony Pragnell to Hotel Les Grillons on the shore of Lake Annecy. Probably the most attractive lake in France, Lake Annecy, with its crystal-clear water, is surrounded by some of Europe’s highest mountains. Tony, who will be accompanying the tour, has improved the itinerary and introduced new excursions to Chambery/Lac du Bourget and Château de Menthon-Saint-Bernard.
Your Holiday Hotel
Hotel Les Grillons plays an important part in this relaxing holiday. There are just thirty rooms, so we have the hotel virtually to ourselves. Run by a charming young family, there is an ambience of tranquillity here, with a pleasant garden, outdoor pool, mountain backdrop, just200 metres to the lake. Les Grillons has built a reputation for its food. Chef Sebastian produces delicious contemporary French cuisine, and the service is always impeccable.
(DAY 1) Saturday 11th May
We take a pleasant route through Picardy and stay at the Mercure Hotel in Troyes. Dinner is not included but the charming medieval lanes of Troyes make it an ideal venue to dine out on a summer’s evening.
(DAY 2) Sunday 12th May
A buffet breakfast at the hotel and then a drive into the Burgundy region with a lunch stop in the historic walled town of Beaune. We continue through impressive scenery before reaching the lakeside at Annecy and driving along the shore to the family-run Hotel Les Grillons. Our hosts, Aurelie and Sebastian, will be waiting to welcome us. Evening dinner and breakfast are included throughout our six-night stay.
(DAY 3) Monday 13th May
The Spectacular Alpine Passes
A scenic alpine day of around 100km, driving via Thônes, Manigod, and Col de Croix Fry to Col des Aravis for a coffee stop. Then via La Clusaz to Le Grand Bornand following the “Tour de France” route up to Col de la Colombière. This famous mountain pass has featured 22 times in the Tour de France, most recently in 2018.
(DAY 4) Tuesday 14th May
We drive to Annecy, visiting on Market Day. The pretty mediaeval quarter is laced with canals, flower covered bridges, pastel facades and old arcaded streets. The Market has a lively atmosphere with local produce and tempting specialities such as reblochon cheese. This afternoon we enjoy a circular cruise to see some of the villages around the Lake.
(DAY 5) Wednesday 15th May
The Garden and the Gorge
Gorges du Fier is one of the natural wonders of the French Alps, and we will walk above the rushing river and venture deep into the gorge. This afternoon another hidden gem at Les Jardins Secrets, an enchanting combination of gardens and architecture, with surprises, audacious creations and a family history to discover. Picnic lunch with wine included today.
(DAY 6) Thursday 16th May
Chambéry, Lac du Bourget, Rhône Canal
First to Chambéry, historical capital of the Savoie region. A city of art and history, a feeling of French and Italian, surrounded by Alpine peaks. The Old Town is a great place to stroll around, with cobbled streets full of outdoor cafes, galleried shops, mysterious lanes and passages, mansions, trompe-l’oeil facades, Saint Francois de Sales Cathedral, the castle of the Dukes of Savoie and the famous Fountain of the Elephants. Leisure and lunchtime in Chambéry, then a drive alongside Lac du Bourget to pretty Chanaz for a boat trip through a lock onto the Rhône Canal.
(DAY 7) Friday 17th May
Château de Menthon-Saint-Bernard
An easy local day, with a morning visit to Château de Menthon-Saint-Bernard. This medieval castle stands on a 200-metre tall rock, its impressive towers looming over Lake Annecy and the Roc de Chère National Nature Reserve. There are beautifully furnished rooms, 13th-century kitchens, a Great Hall with Louis XIV furniture, and spectacular views of the Lake. Legend has it that when Walt Disney was on holiday in the area he visited the Château, which gave him the inspiration for Sleeping Beauty Castle. We return to the Hotel for a lazy afternoon by the pool or a stroll by the lake.
(DAY 8) Saturday 18th May
We bid a sad farewell to our hosts and begin the journey home. Lunchtime today will be in Nuits-Saint-Georges, one of the most famous Burgundy wine villages. Overnight again at Mercure Troyes with another chance to dine out locally.
(DAY 9) Sunday 19th May
Channel crossing from Calais this afternoon and then drive back to Sussex to meet the waiting taxis.