The allure of the Haute-Savoie

Written by on April 19, 2017 in Guest Blogs

Annecy … which breaks the heart in your bosom, it is so beautiful.” (Mark Twain)

A bit of an exaggeration, I’ll admit. After all, my husband and I were living in suburban Melbourne (not outback Australia) with our three children when we surmised that a little virage to France might be the go. I don’t recall this exact deliberation, but I do remember quite distinctly the moment that we set our sights on living in Annecy.

Up until that day, we had done a lot of talking, hours of Internet searching and written many long lists of things to do and to decide. We knew by then that we wanted to be close to an international airport. We did not want to be too isolated but neither did we want to live in a big city; it was important for us to be in an area where we could truly integrate with French speakers. And, if skiing were an option, then that would be a nice bonus.

It was mid-afternoon and we were on holidays in Adelaide. The fact that we were on holidays is probably significant as it meant that my husband and I were actually together at that time of day. He had packed a Lonely Planet Guide to France and was flicking through it. The book opened to Annecy and he started reading. Somewhat absent-mindedly, he asked if I knew of the town. Hmmm, did having a page of the Year 7 textbook that I used to teach French, dedicated to the beautifully clean Annecy Lake, count? Finally, a decision made…

To say that we were dépaysé when we did make it to the French Alps would be an understatement. But, it was clear that we would not leave untouched as we felt ourselves falling immediately under the spell of this most romantic of places.

Our Special Place

Talloires on the Annecy Lake was one of the first villages that we explored. It was overcast and the lake’s blue shades, about which Mark Twain had written so beautifully, had been replaced by reflective hues of cloud grey. The mountains were slightly obscured and the streets were empty. A photo of me strolling through the village that day turned out to be strangely portentous. There, in the background, long before thoughts of purchasing or living permanently in France had entered our heads, was our house. The one that we ended up buying from Australia many years later.

Our initial infatuation turned into a constant love affair. During our one year away that turned into three and a half, we experienced highs and lows, some predictable and some not-so, but it was the feeling that we got, the lurch in the pit of the stomach, the fleeting reflections that lingered, the sounds, fragrances and beauty that kept on floating by long after we returned to Australia that convinced us that we, like Churchill, Mark Twain, Cézanne, Gide, President Nixon and Napoleon III, to name just a few, had found a special place in Talloires.

Useful information:

Talloires (population approx.1500) in the Haute Savoie department of France is 13 km from the town of Annecy and 50 km from Geneva International Airport. It is tucked into a bay of the Annecy Lake, perfect for summer water activities such as water-skiing, boating, kayaking, fishing and swimming and yet not far from the action of many ski resorts (amongst them La Clusaz, Le Grand Bornand, Semnoz, Crest Voland) in winter. It is a very pretty village to stroll through with 1000 year old Abbey, now a hotel and a grassy beach complete with boules area. For daily supplies, you can count on the 8 à 8 grocery store and the bakery plus there is a post office, newsagents and cinema. With the summer ferry, buses into Annecy and nature walks from your door this could easily be a holiday destination where you might consider parking your car on arrival and leaving it until your departure.

Catherine Berry is the author of “But Madame, you are in France”, the fun and fabulous story of her family’s move to France from Australia and the adventures they have. Read our review here.

Follow Catherine at her blog: butyouareinfrancemadame.blogspot.fr

Related Articles

A Pilgrimage To The Somme For British Family

Some 20 years ago, after their mother died, brothers Roger and Doug Goodman from England, gained possession of 72 letters written in 1916 from the trenches of WW1 by their uncle Alec Reader to his mother – their grandmother. He was killed, aged 17, during the Battle for High Wood on The Somme.  He had […]

Continue Reading

Le Palais Idéal du Facteur Cheval a French castle made from pebbles

Having visited many of the most loved and stunning French attractions over the years, my husband and I are always on the lookout for undiscovered, out of the way places, depending on our route.  By renting a car, navigating small roads and having a flexible itinerary, we allow for an easier access to unknown places. […]

Continue Reading

Make the most of the Alsace Wine Route

The Alsace Wine Route The region of Alsace, in the northeast of France, has a reputation to uphold. It’s funny how you never tend to spend much time traveling in your own region, so as a resident of Alsace, I decided to spend a day exploring the Alsace Wine Route. Among the French community, this […]

Continue Reading

Father Christmas’ mean French assistant!

I hope you were all more nice than naughty this year and that you will receive lots of lovely holiday gifts. Handing out presents to good little girls and boys is what Saint Nicholas does best, but what about those kiddies who couldn’t quite manage to be good? Misbehaving children in Europe have to be […]

Continue Reading

A Different View of Paris from river boats on the Seine

When you take a river boat tour in Paris you find yourself looking up at buildings rather than directly at them. My boat tour took me between the French Statue of Liberty in the west to  the Jardin des Plantes in the east. There were nine stopping off points with landing stages during a complete […]

Continue Reading

Subscribe

If you enjoyed this article, subscribe now to receive more just like it.

Subscribe via RSS Feed

Comments are closed.

Top