Exploring the Savoie Region

Wow, so much to catch up on…

We’ve spending our last few days in the Savoie region of France, nestled in the Rhone-Alpes. The area is absolutely beautiful, with rolling green hills, alpine homes and massive surrounding mountains. Oh, and there’s also a few vast lakes in there as well…

Tuesday

On Tuesday, we went to the area of Mont Blanc, one of the most famous mountains in Europe (and also where the stylish pens get their namesake. At over 15,000 feet, it is the tallest mountain in the EU and sits on the French/Italian border. We didn’t have the time or energy to hike the Mont, but we were able to explore the town of Chamonix which lies at the foot of the great mountain range.

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According to the locals, we were fortunate to arrive on one of the first sunny days that the area has had in a long time!

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The gondolas we wanted to take but unfortunately were closed due to it being off-season

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Church in Chamonix

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Boo and the mountains

After having a nice picnic carb-filled lunch in Chamonix, at Frenchie’s dad’s suggestion, we went to the nearby town of Combleux (I think) to get a better view of Mont Blanc. Though almost made sick by the combination of windy roads and Frenchie’s driving, the views were worth it!

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Mont Blanc

After our day trip, we had a lovely dinner at the home of a couple in Aix-Les-Bains, Joel and Suzanne. They were super hospitable and made a lovely typical Savoyard dinner, with some Polish influences. We started with a dangerously delicious tri-colored aperitif and olives. Then, a hearty Polish soup with sausage and egg. Next, 3-hour-cooked sausages and potatoes with a creamy polenta, accompanied by a crisp white wine from the Savoie region. Finally, fromage blanc with a fig-plum conserve, picked straight from their garden. Oh, and let’s not forget the digestif at the end, The “Mad Dog”, a shot of vodka with pepper and a splash of grenadine. Even better was the company, getting to know Joel and Suzanne, along with Joel’s young kids. Best all-around meal in France, so far!

Wednesday

On Wednesday, we had the privilege of spending the day with Simone. Simone, the author of the memoir “Facing the Lion”, is well-known for her faithful and courageous stand against Nazi persecution during WWII. She was such a wonderful companion and tour guide, taking us on a lovely drive through the mountains surrounding Aix-Les-Bains, where we saw plenty of cows and alpine homes nestled into the rolling green hills. Absolutely beautiful!

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Typical beautiful views along our drive

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What do you do when there’s a rogue cow in the middle in the road? Well, not much. We honked and honked but the cow wouldn’t budge. Finally, a local farmer helped us to lead it off the road. What a naughty cow!

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Views of the town of Aix-Les-Bains and the lake from above, our wonderful lunchtime view

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Another special Savoyard dish, the tartiflette – potatoes with ham (lardon) and roblechon cheese – rich but delicious!

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My parents with Simone

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Interesting balcony construction in the really tiny town of Dousy – no nails used!

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Merci beaucoup pour le fromage delicieux!

After our winding drive through the mountains, Simone drove us back down to Aix-Les-Bains, just in time to catch the sunset on the lake…

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Boats docked near the lake

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A touch of fog on Lake Bourget

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Clouds coming in

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Mom and Dad at the Lake

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Sunset on the Lake

Thursday

On Thursday, we went to Annecy. Annecy also sits on a lake, Lake Annecy. However, Annecy reminds us of the French Venice, since it also sits on many canals. It was fun to stroll its cobblestone streets, especially for my parents, since they missed out on Venice this trip.

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Lunch – Charcuterie and potatoes with melted Roblechon cheese

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Fall falls on Annecy

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Lake Annecy

Nearby Annecy was a medieval castle, Chateau Monttrotier (or something like that). This was my mom’s one wish for France – to see a medieval castle. The tour of the castle was just okay – the former owner had a weird affixation with weapons – but the castle itself and its setting was beautiful.

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Castle from a distance

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Spiral staircase, unique for having no center post

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Castle walls and roof

After a wonderful stay exploring the Savoie region, we’re now back in the South of France (wifi, how I’ve missed you!). More tomorrow!

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