Never too many baguettes
I must start with a confession. France was never among the top destinations on our bucket list. We have been to Paris a couple of times because that’s kind of a must-do but we never felt attracted by any other regions. Which, both of us being wine and cheese aficionados, is a bit unusual, to say the least. To be honest, my hubs broached the subject of visiting Bordeaux or Burgundy a couple of times (for obvious reasons). Yet, I successfully overheard him every time. For me, there must be some other attractions besides wine to make a destination worth considering, and I never felt France had much to offer.
Then, last summer, we discovered Normandy and on the way there the French countryside. Quaint little villages, local bistros, and ubiquitous boulangeries selling the most delicious baguettes – no wonder I was immediately hooked. (subject for another post)
This summer then there was no dilemma about where the road would take us. I was dead set to stuff myself with baguettes and salty butter for the entire duration of our holiday. To offset all the ingested calories, there had to be some physical activity involved. So the decision was clear. French Alps should offer us both: Enough respite from the heat of the summer so we could get active hiking and mountain biking. And a boulangerie around every corner to keep us stocked up on tasty bread and croissants.
The trip exceeded our expectations. So much so that we were again traveling too slow, taking our time to enjoy the beautiful mountain scenery. Looking at the map afterward I realised that we barely skimmed the surface of what the French Alps have to offer. Which could only mean one thing: we will have to return. Nevertheless, here’s my list of ten most memorable experiences:
The best place to spend the night
Plan de la Laie. This must be why motorhome travel was invented in the first place. Do I need to say more?
The most stressful stretch of the road to drive on
The narrow road from Bourg Saint Maurice to Plan de la Laie. I swear to god if I was behind the steering wheel, I would have left the motorhome at the first curve right out of Bourg Saint Maurice. I have no photo, for obvious reasons as I was busy biting my nails.
The highest mountain pass to climb with our motorhome (so far)
Col d’Iseran. Although I give all the credit to my husband for maneuvering the endless curves and bends, the real kudos go to the numerous cyclists who tackle this gigantic climb powered only by the energy of their two legs.
The most beautiful (but also the most crowded) hike
Bout du Monde and Chalet du Boret. Not only are the views to die for, so is the blueberry pie that they serve at the Chalet du Boret.
The biggest fireworks
Fete du Lac in Annecy. We accidentally dropped by just in time for the biggest party of the summer and decided to spend the night. It was well worth it.
The most impressive glacier
The Bossons glacier, one of the biggest glaciers of the Mont-Blanc massif that hovers over Chamonix.
The busiest place
Sadly, also Chamonix. Far too many people for my taste.
The most well-deserved beer
A glass of chilled IPA after our hike up to Chalet du Boret. It was a hot day and my body was aching to replenish all those burnt electrolytes.
The most surprising stop
Lake Cenis. What we thought would be just a brief rest on our way to France turned out to become a two-day stop for hiking and mountain biking which we could easily extend to a whole week.
The best baguettes and croissants
Boulangerie Patisserie Bernard in Lanslevillard. We felt so French walking the short distance from the campsite every morning to get the freshest crispiest bread for breakfast.
Feeling tempted to follow our tracks? Here’s the map of our trip: