Search

Le Grand Bornand: Lake Annecy ski resorts become summer hideaways

PUBLISHED: 11:45 27 March 2016 | UPDATED: 11:45 27 March 2016

The view from the chalet in Le Grand Bornand, photo Emma Bartholomew

The view from the chalet in Le Grand Bornand, photo Emma Bartholomew

Archant

The Lake Annecy ski resorts become peaceful mountain idylls in the summer months, where you can relax in the pure alpine air or splash around in the river against a background symphony of cowbells and sweet bird song.

The prize beasts at the country fair in Le Chinaillon, photo Emma Bartholomew The prize beasts at the country fair in Le Chinaillon, photo Emma Bartholomew

As the local brass band launched into their rendition of The Final Countdown, I sipped coffee that had just been finely ground down by the “grand-meres” in an old-fashioned china cup and saucer, as the sun beat down on the traditional country fair in the mountains, and relished this surreal moment in time.

As we had arrived at the Fete de l’Alpage, we had been treated to the spectacle of men dressed as clowns and knights, slaloming down the grassy slopes of the French Alps in Le Chinaillon on skis with wheels.

The fair celebrating mountain traditions has been going strong for 50 years, but remains a local and intimate affair – a far cry from many country fairs nowadays in England.

Here there is an ox-drawn wagon parade, herding dogs, a milking competition, along with traditional crafts.

Demonstration on buildling a house at the Fete de l'Alpage in Le Chinaillon, photo Emma Bartholomew Demonstration on buildling a house at the Fete de l'Alpage in Le Chinaillon, photo Emma Bartholomew

A sheep is the prize in the competition to guess how much she weighs, and a contest for the ‘queen’ of the show is of course, one for the best beast.

The beautiful cows each boast a decorated leather harness holding an impressive bronze bell.

These “cloches de vaches” are taken very seriously in these parts, with each adornment costing at least £500.

Further down the valley in Le Grand Bornand where we were staying, Didier Perrillat, one of the last remaining master craftsmen to make them by hand, explained their significance the following day.

The band plays The Final Countdown at the Fete de l'Alpage in Le Chinaillon, photo Emma Bartholomew The band plays The Final Countdown at the Fete de l'Alpage in Le Chinaillon, photo Emma Bartholomew

He told us how they can be heirlooms, given as a prestigious prize in a competition or offered as a present if a farmer gets married.

They are only put on the cows on special occasions, or sometimes they hang outside people’s homes as decoration.

His workshop is just a 15-minute down the main road from our residence Le Grand Bornand, Chalet Jade.

It’s a comfortable and spacious apartment, kitted out with absolutely everything you need in the kitchen to turn the wonderful food you can buy in the village into a meal to devour on its terrace.

Bathing in the river in Le Grand Bornand, photo Emma Bartholomew Bathing in the river in Le Grand Bornand, photo Emma Bartholomew

Here you can marvel at the lush wood-strewn mountain opposite and listen to the birds and tinkling cow bells by day, and at night the cicadas as you gaze at the twinkling stars in the sky.

Using Reblochon cheese we picked up from the fair, we layered it in a gratin with potatoes, bacon and fried onions to make tartiflette.

This is on the menu in every single restaurant in the Haute Savoie, and it’s surprising that far from being the traditional peasant fare I imagined, the recipe was dreamed up as a glorious marketing ploy by cheese producers in the 80s to shift more of their produce.

Of course it’s on sale at Le Grand Bornand’s market every Wednesday, which runs from right outside the chalet, blocking off the road into town, selling the most delicious fruit and veg.

From Chalet Jade it’s a 10-minute stroll to the perfect spot to paddle in the river, underneath the church, where my children – twin boys aged 13 and a seven-year old daughter – loved to while away the hours.

If you’re feeling energetic, if you pass the zip wire course behind the river, you can zig zag your way up through the shade of the pines, feeling triumphant when you reach the top of the mountain which dominates the view from the chalet.

If you have a car, it’s well worth making the 15-minute trip to La Clusaz, another one of the Lake Annecy Ski Resorts.

The open-air swimming pool here boasts a stunning panoramic view of the lush green tree-lined valley, and the slides were a hit with the kids and well worth the entrance fee of about five euros each.

The luge, photo Emma Bartholomew The luge, photo Emma Bartholomew

The Lac des Confins, offeres another magnificent view, and a walk around the lake makes for an easy hike with youngsters.

For an adrenaline rush, the summer sledging in the centre of La Clusaz is not to be missed, where for around four euros you can take one of the heavy “luges” up in the cable car before coming zooming down on it along the 800m metal track.

Young children can go on the back of a double sledge, and you can go as fast as you dare without pulling on the brakes.

Setting off in the other direction down the only main road in Le Grand Bornand, it feels as though you have reached the end of the world at the Col des Annes, where after an hour’s hike you can garner a spectacular view of the whole chain of the Aravis.

Just an hour away from Geneva airport, the Lake Annecy ski resorts are choc-a-block with so many wonderful experiences to share with your family in the summer months, that you’ll unwind to a slower pace enriched with fun, delicious food and the “good life”.

For more information see www.lakeannecy-skiresorts.com.

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Kilburn Times visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Kilburn Times staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Kilburn Times account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Latest Kilburn & Brent Stories

Yesterday, 18:54

Idrissa Sylla netted 12 minutes from time to rescue point for west Londoners at Trotters

Yesterday, 17:42

Sky Bet Championship: Bolton Wanderers 1 (Pratley 22) Queens Park Rangers 1 (Sylla 78)

Fri, 17:45

Quality fish and chips are promised in Kilburn by pub chiefs who have been given a green light to turn their function room into a takeaway.

Fri, 16:00

QPR head to north west in Championship action against the Trotters on Saturday

Fri, 12:57

Police were called to an address on Lakeside Drive at 2am this morning

Fri, 11:18

Brent recorded the third highest numbers of homicides across London in the 12 months up until June of this year.

Fri, 10:00

Stones manager will hope to mastermind success against Tinners

Thu, 17:46

An alleged killer accused of stabbing a record label boss to death with a Swiss Army knife during a barbershop brawl faces a retrial.

PROMOTED CONTENT

If you have been looking for laser hair removal, beauty salon treatments, or skin care services you may be confused and overwhelmed with so much information out there and so many clinics and salons promising miraculous results.

Louise McGowan, who started as headmistress of Convent of Jesus and Mary Language College in September, speaks to education editor James Scott about life at the school.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Most read

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Brent & Kilburn Times
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now