While Lake Annecy and the surrounding mountains are better known, the foreland area is also well worth visiting. Between natural sites and cultural heritage, it is packed with little gems waiting to be (re)discovered.
Take a leap back in time, right in the heart of Alby-sur-Chéran. Explore the cobblestone alleys, stroll beneath the arches, cross the river Chéran and climb up to the Chapel when you take the “Suivez la mouche” (follow the fly) trail. For approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes, you’ll have fun learning about the history, natural features and architectural heritage of the region’s former shoemaking capital. During the summer season (or any other time of year if you book ahead), you can visit the Cobblers’ Museum or the Blanchet Candle Factory for a real plunge into the traditional crafts of yesteryear.
After this visit, you’ll have two good reasons to be glad you followed the fly!
For an even more realistic trip through time, come to the Alby-sur-Chéran Medieval Festival on 14th & 15th May 2022, when the village streets will burst into life thanks to the efforts of more than 150 artists. Men-at-arms, merchants, jugglers, musicians and troubadours will take you back into the village’s medieval past, through multiple life-like historical reenactments. Soak up the atmosphere of the Middle Ages and enjoy a fabulous fire performance on the Saturday evening!
The Tours Saint-Jacques tower above the small village of Allèves. Eroded thin by time, this group of limestone needles springs up through the forest. You can reach them on foot via various itineraries of different distances. Starting at Place des Cyclamens, you’ll cross the village of Allèves with its typical houses and many ornamental ponds, before following a beautifully-preserved cobblestone path featuring a number of ancient barns (if you choose the long route). Ideal for a family hike or a sporting challenge, to discover the local heritage and a remarkable geological curiosity!
From Cusy, the Chaos du Chéran loop trail takes you along this lovely mountain stream, an officially-recognised “wild river”. The refreshing walk leads under the Pont de l’Abîme, offering an alternative view of this bridge and the Chaos du Chéran, the name given to the most steep-sided part of the gorge. Throughout the itinerary, information panels provide details about the fauna and flora found in this protected Sensitive Natural Area.
You’ll find these hiking itineraries on the free ViAnnecy app.
The Fier gorges were equipped for visitors in 1869. A walkway suspended on the rock face takes you into the heart of this dizzying canyon where the gushing river Fier flows far below. A few metres further along, Montrottier Castle watches over the gorge and the bridge that crosses it. Built at this strategic location in the 13th century, Montrottier has been beautifully maintained and is a perfect example among medieval castles. It houses some fascinating collections from all over the world and from every era. Both the castle and the grounds can be visited from April to November.