French Alps part 3
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On Thursday 13 August, my birthday we left Iles de Passy, enroute for Camping Lac Bleu. As the route via Ugine had been rather steep and tortuous in places we decided to take the caravan via the toll autoroutes. We took the A4 east its intersection with the A410 where we turned south west towards Annecy. We left the A410 at Junction 16 signed to Annecy and drove through the southern part of the city. We then joined the D1508 along the western shore of Lac d'Annecy to Camping Lac Bleu at the southern end of the Lake. Our towing journey from Iles de Passy to Lac Bleu, via the autoroute, was 65 miles long.

Lac BleuInternational Camping de Lac Bleu is situated right next to the main road that runs along the western side of Lake Annecy. Although this road was busy with traffic day and night it was not noticeably intrusive. Pitches further south along the shore are further from this road. The site is laid out with a main entrance road parallel to the public road and then rows of pitches laid out along narrower tarred roads at 90 degrees to that road. The beach is at the far end of these rows – furthest from the main road. The Reception, restaurant and toilets, play area swimming and paddling pool are all on the main site road and so it was a little walk from our pitch to any of these facilities.

Camping Lac Bleu

View to Lac BleuOur pitch was a large one and we were able to position our 7.2m ‘van with the door side to the lake, the car on the other side and still have room in front for our 2.4m deep awning with space in front of the awning too. The site was generally quiet and peaceful although we did have groups of teenagers congregating on the lakeshore in front our pitch quite late some nights.

Our pitch was near the northern end of the site’s beach and so we had a view across the lake to the mountains on the eastern side. Pitches further along the beach to the south had views right up the lake. Still we were very pleased to “bag” this pitch which only had a narrow gravel road between us and the Lake’s waters. The pitch was mainly gravel without much grass but this was not really a problem when we had got our breathable groundsheet down and there was a strip of grass in front of the awning. I was not able to screw in our awning tie-down pegs because there was so little soil to screw into. There were a number of mature trees giving shade and we, also benefited from the Lake breezes. This was fortunate as for most of our stay the daytime temperatures ranged between 30oC and 34oC.

The site offered free wi-fi internet access but this was rather a weak and variable signal at our end of the site and not brilliant even near to Reception. The electricity supply was, also, rather variable. This was annoying as we were paying 3.90€ per day for an 8 amp supply. On several occasions the supply to all the pitches failed completely. I imagine it was overloaded but this was frustrating as we were running 2 fridges full of food and the outside temperature was 30oC+. I must confess we did overload our connection a couple of times and had to ask for someone to come out and reset it. They always came promptly and politely!

For my birthday treat on our first night at Lac Bleu Cary bought a take-away dinner from the campsite restaurant. While she was collecting the food I took our 'van's table to the water’s edge and we dined there by candlelight and moonlight with the swans drifting by – very romantic!

The toilets, showers, etc were very modern tiled buildings which were kept clean and equipped with toilet paper and soap!!! There was a laundry area with washing machines and tumble driers (5€ token from reception). We used the washer and hung the clothes on our washing line between trees on our pitch. We did not eat in the restaurant, but my Birthday take-away from there was very tasty. The restaurant was always busy and had live music some evenings.

Lac Bleu

Camping Lac Bleu does have a second camping area which is separated from the main site by a minor road. It is parallel with the main site and runs from the main road towards the lake but does not have any shoreline as there is the marina car park in between. So if anyone is booking this site it's important that to check which part one is being booked into. We didn't go into this other part of the site so I can't comment further.

It was so hot that it was very easy to just sit around in the awning and read but we did go out for a few outings. We spent a couple of days relaxing at the site. On Friday 14 August we drove to nearby Faverges and bought groceries from the supermarket there. In the afternoon we walked around the shore near to the public marina to the south of the campsite. On Saturday 15 August we inflated our Zodiac inflatable and anchored it on the Lake directly in front of our pitch. In the afternoon we took the boat out on southern end of the Lake and cruised around.

Hang gliding

On Monday 17 August we drove along the eastern shore of the Lake on the narrow and very twisty road mountain leading to the Col de Forclaz. From the Col there are superb views down over the northern Lac Grande as well as a couple of restaurants and the take-off point for hang gliders. We then continued around the Lake in a northerly direction and drove through Annecy and back down the western side of the Lake. Annecy was very congested with traffic and progress through the southern edge of the town, along the road which followed the Lake shore, was very slow. The northern of the Lake at Annecy has extensive public parks extending down to the shoreline.

Annecy town

AnnecyWe were able to keep our Zodiac moored on the lake right in front of our pitch free of charge. It would have been extra if we’d had a trailer, but we didn’t. We enjoyed several trips out on the lake. We, also, paddled, and Cary swam, in the lake, she’s a more confident swimmer than me! There were a lot of boats of varying sizes moored in the lake by campers and swimming and diving in the lake were popular pursuits. Boats and pediloes could, also, be hired from the nearby marina. We, also, swam in the pool although that could be a little unruly at times as it was unsupervised. The depth layout was, also, a bit odd, sorry, weak swimmer me again!

On Thursday 19 August we drove up into the hills on western side of the Lake and over Mount Semoniz. It was not the most scenic of routes and apart from one really good view of the lake and distant ones of the Mont Blanc Massif we were a bit disappointed. We called in at a Lidl store in Duingt, a town on the western side of the Lake on the way back to the campsite. There was, also, a Carrefour Supermarket in the same area.

That evening there was a storm. The lightning over the Lake was very spectacular but the storm became very violent. At 23.45hrs I was out with other campers trying to hold down the tent of some near neighbours which ended up being completely wrecked by the strong winds. Our boat was driven upon the beach by the storm, dragging its anchor with it, but was fortunately undamaged. The weather cleared again the next morning.

Annecy boat trip

Annecy from the boatEarly on Friday 21 August we took a picnic lunch and walked from the site to the nearby boat landing stage. There we caught the day's first omnibus boat that toured the lake. The landing stage was a 10 minute walk from the site but rather a dangerous one as it was along the busy main road which did not have any footpath for part of the distance.

We stayed on the boat as it visited the villages on the western shore until it reached Annecy where we disembarked We then looked around the quaint, flower decked street of the picturesque old town for a couple of hours. We re-boarded the boat at about 14.00hrs and sailed along the eastern shore of the lake. We broke our journey to explore the village of Menthon and then caught another boat to Tailloires where we again broke our journey. We finished the day by rejoining the last boat back to Bout du Lac near to Lac Bleu.

Boat trip on Lac Bleu

SeythenexOur final trip out from Lac Bleu was to the on Sunday 23 August when we toured in the mountains to the south of Doussard. We drove to the Grotte (caves) and waterfall at Seythenex near Faverges. This site has a very high and spectacular waterfall and, also, a guided visit into a river-carved cave. The latter wasn’t particularly spectacular. With only tiny stalactites, etc, it was rather young in cave terms. There was a small museum included in the entrance price to the caves and waterfall. We then went on to the cable car at the nearby ski resort of La Sambuy. This teleseige, "flying-settee" type of cable car, took us up into the mountains. From the summit there were good views of Lake Annecy and again distant views of Mont Blanc. At the foot of the mountain there was a toboggan which we both took turns on. I enjoyed it, and I think that Cary did but she found the brake confusing and so came down rather slowly!

Sambuy

I would strongly recommend Camping Lac Bleu for those who like lakeside campsites and particularly if one enjoys boating and other watersports. At an average nightly cost of 28.97€, or 30.20€, if the cost of the booking fee is included, it was quite expensive but then only slightly more than Chateau Gandspette and less than Lac de Liez neither of which have such spectacular locations.

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