The well-maintained, mountain roads with their stunning views make this area a favourite with cyclists of all ages and abilities. You will find many marked road and mountain bike routes through the region and maps are available from the tourist office in Le Chatelard. There is also a purpose built bike path that runs alongside Lake Annecy which is mostly flat and recommended for families. The route passes through the attractive villages of Sevrier, Saint-Jorioz, Duingt and Doussard. Everyone goes at their own pace and it is a great way to see the lake and surrounding countryside.
This is superb walking country and with the Massif des Bauges on your doorstep there are walks and hiking trailsto suit everyone and the tourist office stocks local walking maps with recommended trails. An original way ofexploring the mountains is with a donkey, carrying your baggage or tired young children! This puts the mountains within easy reach of the whole family.
There is a horse and pony riding centre at Lescheraines (4km) allowing riders of all abilities to discover the area in a different and relaxing way.
Annecy lake is the purest lake in Europe and has many beaches for swimming and sunbathing. Take a cruise boat excursion or for more active pursuits there are plenty of water sports and boat hire available. A visit toAnnecy in the summer or at any time of the year is a must! This beautiful medieval town is known as the Venice of the Alps and is built over a series of canals. There are many excellent restaurants to try in the town or around the lake.
Golf in the Alps is possible from April to October at Annecy. The course is right next to the lake. A summer bag is kept at Le Chatox with a set of clubs. I shot an 86 last time out which now stands as the Le Chatox record – over to you to break it!
Thrill seekers should have a go at canyoning down waterfalls and plunging into rock pools or Aquarando, a softer form of canyoning, which consists of hiking and swimming in a canyon or river. These can be arranged throughTerres d’Altitude based in Le Chatelard. If you want to go further afield, the white water rafting in the Tarentaise Valley near Bourg Saint Maurice, (98km / 90mins), has been tried and tested by our guests and is an exhilarating, not to be missed experience.
Mountain Climbing/Via Ferrata - Via Ferrata school is based at Aillion-Station (12km). For something different that children can enjoy, try climbing in the trees at Lescheraines (4km).
Hang gliding and Paragliding – There are many take off points in the mountains and the nearest school is at La Compote (4km).
Caving at nearby Margeriaz (16km), explore the fantastic pothole and glacier trail.
Aix-les Bains (33km) is a spa town on the edge of Lac du Bourget. Mont Revard provides a scenic backdrop to the town. Pamper yourself in one of the modern thermal treatment centres, Chevalley thermal baths – 18 euro for a day pass: treatments extra. Other attractions include an 18 hole golf course, cruises on the lake, balneotherapy, the Casino, racecourse and not forgetting the opportunity for retail therapy. Aix-les-Bains also has excellent beaches along its shore line for swimming and sunbathing.
These are just some of the things to do, we have more information and recommendations available at Le Chatox and we also recommend you visit the tourist information office in Le Chatelard or one of the other villages as they speak good English and will be happy to help.
Walks, restaurants, cycle routes, – its all written up in the guest book but there’s much we still have to discover so just write up anything interesting to add for others to find.
If you’re a beginner, have a family or are a good intermediate, then shelling out £200 for a 6 day lift pass can bring tears to the eyes! Why bother is what we thought when many only ski 10% of the area? Situated between thelac d’Annecy to the north and Chambery to the South, the Bauges Massif is often ignored as skiers head to the large Savoie resorts. Interestingly, because of its location, Les Bauges often gets the first snow of the season. Skiing in Les Bauges provides ‘real skiing’ with local people. Aillons-Margeriaz, 1000 – 1900m, is approx 15 -20 mins drive from the chalets. The ski resort is a hidden gem frequented by the French in the know and has enough slopes to suit skiers of all abilities, 20 ski lifts and a snow park.
Le Grand Revard, 1350 – 1550m is described as the greatest cross country skiing area in France! Comprising 140 km of tracks and 50km of piste it is used by the French national team for Nordique ski training and is one of the country’s oldest ski resorts for Alpine skiing. Other more popular and higher “snow sure” ski resorts such as Courcheval, Meribel and Val Thorens are within easy reach for a days skiing (approx 1hr drive).
For those of you who are non-skiers or just want to try something different, Les Ailllons offers Husky dogsled rides or ski du fond (cross country aka Nordique skiing) which is great fun and a fantastic workout. If you have waterproof walking boots, why not try snow shoeing by hiring some racquets from one of the nearby ski hire shops. This way you can even meet the skiers up the mountain at Margeriaz for lunch or a vin chaud at La Bergerie, a rustic restaurant which we highly recommend, owned by Cedric. You may think hiking is only for the summer but if you fancy something other than skiing you can check out the winter hiking trails. If you want an afternoon away from the slopes, why not head to the beautiful town of Annecy for lunch followed by a walk around the old town, or even a boat ride on the lake where you can view the west side of the lake with its numerousMichelin 3 star restaurants!
For another excursion there is the spa town Aix les Bains and the Lac du Bourget for its mountain views and thermal baths.
There are hire shops at Les Aillons Station. To make a big saving we recommend booking online at Snowbrainer