DELIGHT IN THE CHANGING COLOURS
Have you noticed? In September, the greens of the alpine pastures gradually give way to a sumptuous palette of yellows, oranges, reds and golds. Nature dons its most flamboyant attire, as if to beguile us one last time before disappearing below the first snows of winter. And it works! It’s the perfect time of year to take magnificent photos, whether in the forests, in the mountains or, as here at Saint-Paul-en-Chablais, beside a lake.
TAKE A CITY BREAK
Back at work? Have another holiday! Avoid sliding too quickly into the workday routine by taking a city break before the long winter nights. Chambéry and Aix-les-Bains are easily accessible cities with lots to offer. An enchanting getaway blending the fascinating history of the capital of the Dukes of Savoie and the elegance of the Belle Epoque spa resort.
STROLL THROUGH THE VINEYARDS
It’s harvest time in the vineyards. Time to pick the sun-drenched grapes and turn them into delicious AOP wines. If you are looking for an idea for a walk, we’d suggest the Granier vineyards. This easy stroll starts beside Lake Saint-André, in the Apremont district, and takes in the wine repository at the Vine and Wine Centre.
VISIT A MUSEUM LIKE NO OTHER
Nothing to declare? The Old Customs House at Châtel takes you back to the intriguing world of smuggling. Coffee, salt, cheese, tobacco and many other products were once smuggled across the Chablais Mountains, on the Franco-Swiss border. Playing hide and seek with customs officers was no game for the smugglers, as this family-oriented exhibition shows.
Many of Savoie and Haute-Savoie’s secret places open their doors to the public during the European Heritage Days in September.
GO FOR A HIKE
This treasure hunt through the magnificent surroundings of the Esseillon forts, in the Maurienne Valley, is much more than a simple hike. Playbook in hand, follow the clues left by Alessandro, a Sardinian soldier garrisoned at Fort Victor Emmanuel. Great fun for the whole family!
The Dranse Delta Nature Reserve is a favourite staging post for numerous species of migratory birds. It is open to visitors all year round, but the peace and tranquillity it exudes in the autumn make it a favourite destination for walkers wishing to get close to nature. A wonderful place to reflect, meditate and breathe on the shores of Lake Geneva. Can you hear the silence?
After honing your calves on Savoie and Haute-Savoie’s high passes during the summer, it would be a shame to hang up your bike now. Why not use the last long days to do a multi-day ride such as the ViaRhôna? Six of the stages on this route from Lake Geneva to the Mediterranean are in Savoie Mont Blanc.
WATCH THE DESCENT FROM THE PASTURES
After spending the summer grazing the mountain pastures, the flocks and herds are brought down to the farms before winter sets in. Annecy marks the descent from the pastures with a musical pageant centred round a parade of cows, sheep and goats, accompanied by their shepherds and cowherds. A fabulous and enduring local tradition.
Festivals marking the descent from the pastures are held throughout Savoie and Haute-Savoie, for example, in Thonon-les-Bains, Bourg-Saint-Maurice and Montsapey.
CELEBRATE MOUNTAIN CUISINE
Discover the talent of our local chefs and producers, taste the mouthwatering dishes that make up our local cuisine, meet the elite of French gastronomy… this is the programme for Toquicimes, Megève’s gourmet festival. This year’s fifth edition, with Pierre Hermé as its patron, looks highly promising. Bon Appetit!
DREAM OF THE FIRST SNOWS
Are your skis calling to you? It’s still paddleboarding season, but your thoughts are already turning to water in another form – knee-deep powder. Not long now! Our resorts open their arms (and their slopes) from late November onwards. Val Thorens kicks off the season with La Grande Première on 19 November … as long as there’s enough snow, of course.