Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Trip to La Clusaz, Lac du Bourget and Lac-d'Annecy

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Here are photos of our trip to the mountain village of La Clusaz, and the nearby lakes: Lac du Bourget and Lac-d'Annecy. La Clusaz is like a little bit of Switzerland within the French borders. It is just 60 KM from the Swiss border. It serves the purpose of going to Switzerland without taking the trouble of driving those last 60 km, for the particularly lazy. Now Blandine isn't particularly lazy (quite the contrary, in fact -- I get tired just watching her buzzing about the house). But she has a horror of a particularly steep gorge one has to cross while going from Lyon to Geneva. So I had to satisfy myself with La Clusaz. On the way back, we took in the lakes of Lac du Bourget and Lac d'Annecy. Lac d'Annecy was a little too touristy for my liking, but Lac du Bourget was a very satisfying lake. A very lake-y lake. Once you have been there, you know you've been to a lake. A lake, in other words, in every sense of the term.

Here are pics from our hike on the hills beyond La Clusaz. Didn't take any pics of La Clusaz itself. It's a pretty village, but a bit too touristy. But the hills beyond are very satisfying.... as hilly as Aix-les-bains is lakey. Hills, in other words, in every sense of the term. We bought a big round of Reblochon cheese from a sheep farm on our trek. The farmer was also kind enough to show us how the cheese was manufactured and matured. Sorry, no pics. The French farm folk are very touchy about people taking pics of interiors. And I couldn't take a pic of the exteriors as it was raining. Reblochon is a rather bland, pasty kind of cheese. It's mostly used for baking. We're still using the round we got that day.

On the way back down La Clusaz, I suggested we might take a detour past Lac d'Annecy, which nestles at its foot. Lac d' Annecy isn't any old lake, you know. Paul Cézanne has painted it, in a celebrated painting: Le Lac Bleu. Blandine said I would be disappointed. I was.

Here's the one sole pic I took of Lac d'Annecy. We didn't spend much time there.

As you can see, it's surrounded by houses and hotels and palm-fringed promenades and whatnot. Not my cup of tea. Possibly it was more pristine in Paul Cézanne's days. Or not. You can't make out in his painting. It's modern art. You aren't supposed to be able to make out what it is.

But just beyond the lake, there are a couple of nice things: A castle called château de Menthon-Saint-Bernard,  that looks like something right out of a fairy tale. Was it just a fairy vision? Nope. My iPad saw it too. Here's the proof:

And a mysteriously shaped hill, which Wikipedia leads me to believe is Dents de Lanfon (Lanfon's teeth), although I could be wrong. It does look a bit like my upper molars after my dentist had a go at at them, so even if it isn't Dents de Lanfon, it's definitely somebody's dents.

And here are some pix of Lac du Bourget. You get to it by going to the town of Aix-les-bains, which borders it on one side. So the lake is frequently referred to as Aix-les-bains in casual conversation. To the extent that I'd actually typed the name as Aix-les-bains in this post, before I referred Wikipedia and corrected myself. It's actually a pretty famous lake, although it doesn't look like it. Alphonse de La Martine, the subject of my previous post, wrote his celebrated poem Le Lac (the Lake) about this very lake. About some dame he'd loved and lost on the banks of this lake. Yup, that's us. Men. Always loving and losing women on the banks of diverse water bodies and writing poems about it. You don't catch women doing that sort of stuff. They're much too smart for it.

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