If you’re planning a Keycamp holiday in the French Alps, why not take a little time to read our notes on Burgundy and Jura, as this could be the perfect opportunity to explore one or more destinations and take in a much wider range of sights and terrains?
During the winter months, the French Alps are frequented by those seeking snow and mountain sports. In the summer, however, this beautiful region, with its striking vistas, impressive massifs, picture-postcard villages and clean mountain air transforms into a haven for lovers of the great outdoors.
Canoeing, kayaking and (for the more adventurous) white-water rafting are all readily available. And there are ample opportunities for walking, cycling, climbing and fishing. The region is renowned for its fine wines, indeed grapes have grown here since Roman times. Cheeses are produced locally and it is not difficult to find dairies where you can watch the art of the local cheese-maker. Across the region, woodcarving remains a time-honoured craft.
Covering an area of almost 1400 acres, Lac d’Aiguebelette is the jewel of the Savoyard foothills, has two small islands (a chapel sits upon one of them) and is more than 200-feet deep in parts. Popular with walkers, climbers, swimmers, fishermen and cyclists - as well as those seeking a peaceful afternoon spent canoeing - Lac d’Aiguebelette and its shores offer an extremely relaxing way to spend some time.
The ancient seat of the Dukes of Savoy, Chambéry feels more Italian than French. The old town is dominated by the castle of the Dukes of Savoy, while the ancient streets and imposing buildings make for fascinating exploring. Incidentally, the huge Fontaine des Éléphants statue on the main street serves as an imposing reminder of General Comte de Boigne, a major patron of the town, who made his wealth in India.
A spectacular mountain range, Chartreuse is also home to the monks of the order of St Bruno, who have used the natural terrain to help isolate them from the modern world. The monks are responsible for producing the liqueur of the same name and guided tours of the cellars are free. Beneath the Chartreuse Massif lie underground galleries in which the fossilised remains of prehistoric animals were discovered. Covering over 155,000 acres, the Parc Natural Régional de Chartreuse is dedicated to the protection of this area.
A short drive from Chambéry (then a climb!), the spectacular location of the Chapelle du Mont-St-Michel provides wonderful views across the Chambéry Valley and the peaks of the distant Belledonne mountains.
Well worth the drive from Aix-Les-Bains, Mont Revard stands over 1,500 metres tall and affords outstanding views over the surrounding countryside. On a clear day, you should be able to make out the Rhône snaking its way across the landscape, as well as Mont Blanc in the distance.
Sitting on the shores of Lac d’Annecy, this fine town enjoys one of the most picturesque vistas in the region. There are three superb lakeside beaches and lake cruises are available. Plus the shopping in town is particularly good (if you have a sweet tooth, head down the Rue Ste-Claire). The summer festivals are a must-see. In June, Annecy hosts the international film festival. And the Fête du Lac, in early August, is an event not to be missed, as the lake is illuminated with an enormous firework display.
With so much of the surrounding area free to explore, this is a great place to simply get out there and discover your surroundings either on foot or by bike.
A town of culture, Chambéry has five museums and one of the biggest clock chimes in Europe. For a taste of real style from times gone by, walk around the mansion-lined Rue de la Croix-d’Or. Then relax over a coffee in the nearby Place St-Léger. On a contemporary note, Chambéry recently won a major prize of the Cities of Light by the Academy of Streets Performance.
A spa town that welcomed Queen Victoria on no less than three occasions, the hot springs and baths of Aix-Les-Bains still provide hydrotherapeutic treatments. With its attractive streets, lakeside walks and opportunity to ‘take the waters’, a trip to Aix-Les-Bains could be a real tonic.
In the heart of the Alps, 19km from Annecy, this small parc offers the perfect location for outdoor enthusiasts.
Nestling below the towering Mont Blanc massif and considered by many to be the premier resort to head for if mountains and good life 'Alpine-style', are your thing, Chamonix is as cool as it gets.
The perfect opportunity to have a second Keycamp holiday!
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