Sometimes we are so fickle in cherry-picking our favorite memories and places or in evaluating what we might have done differently in traveling through France. Annecy is just one example of an incredibly charming lakeside city, in which we wish we had spent more time…like settling in for a week of exploring the Alpine countryside.
C’est la vie – after a day and a night, we sought out the local office of the Gîtes de France for help in reserving a room in the area. If you are not familiar with the organization, the Gîtes de France developed the first European network of ‘homestay’ accommodations and celebrated 50 years of service in 2005. They focus on rural areas and promote hospitable and comfortable tourist stays. Their latest count of offerings was 43,000 French homesteads that open their unique homes to welcome tourists.
The GDF helped us to reserve a charming room in the little village of Chinaillon, just up the road … or mountain from Annecy. Though we vowed to return to that gorgeous city, the Alpine countryside began to weave its’ spell around us.
A couple of roosters welcomed us in our ‘car park’, and a few hikers passed by on trails up the hillside looming behind our gîte. The owners – Isabelle and Jean Louis – were very pleasant, and each morning we joined with other guests (5 or 6) for a nice breakfast, before taking to the local roads to explore.
Over a three-day period, we simply wandered … along winding roads that rose to offer spectacular, flower-framed views, before dropping down into one charming village after another … through artisan hamlets and chapel-centered bourgs… over to the Mont Blanc tunnel, where we emerged in Aosta, Italy and wound our way back to our little village for a warm café meal.
When you plan your adventures in France, we heartily recommend you stay a bit in the Haute-Savoie region. For all of the other benefits, surely the Savoyard cuisine and famous regional Reblochon cheese will reward your decision for all time!
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