Chinaillon – Quaint Alpine Village
Wandering through the ever-changing French countryside offers a delightful contrast to your experiences in larger cities. After the constant excitement and stimuli of Paris or Lyon, a little sojourn through eastern France reminds us that warm people and wonderful sights blanket this exceptional country.
In the summertime, cooler temperatures, spectacular mountain views and Alpine meadows make our nomadic wanderings all the more special. Chinaillon and Le Grand Bornand throb with winter ski revelers, but transform to quiet and oh-so-pleasant hiking villages during the summer months.
Our gite (B&B), L’Isalou, is an excellent choice as a base for exploration for a couple of nights. It’s a warm and welcoming chalet just up the lane from the old chapel in Chinaillon, where our host, Jean-Louis, led us to our cozy wood-paneled retreat.
After settling in, we simply stepped out our door and took the hiking trail to the top of the mount in the back of the chalet. On another walk, we explored the petite village just down the narrow lane and found a special outdoor café for dinner. A pichet of wine, spaghetti bolognaise and a regional tartiflette proved a satisfying meal with a delightful bird’s eye view of the village and mountains.
There’s a quiet and aerie-like feeling, when you look out on the gentle roll of green hills with soaring limestone peaks in the distance. We enjoyed having time for quiet reflection and appreciation of this stunning landscape.
Part of the joy of exploring the countryside is in coming across the village market, where an elderly French farmer offers his cart full of live, free-range chickens; or in a little hamlet, discovering the talents of local artisans. It is in these smaller, slice-of-life experiences that we have the time and temperament to appreciate the many faces of France.
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