Van Life #17 | A long weekend in Annecy | Free parking & wild swimming

After finishing our job at BikeVillage in the French Alps, we decided to take a mini trip to Annecy whilst we wait for our Fiamma bike rack to arrive. We’ve been to Annecy loads of times, usually in the Spring, but we’ve never taken Big Blue and camped.

The first night we decided to try a lakeside spot on the Talloires side. There’s quite a lot of free parking next to the lake on this side but you are literally one metre away from the busy, main road. We went for a sunset swim and enjoyed the warm September evening eating al fresco amid the sounds of boy racers and motorbikes revving.

I can honestly say it was one of the worst nights sleep I’ve had in the van. Not only do people drive by all night (and even honk their horns!), you also start thinking morbid thoughts like, “oh my god, what if someone crashes into us?!?” So after breakfast, we moved to the campervan aire in lovely Lathuile. We worked at a campsite in the village before so we knew it was a nice area and close to the cycle path. The aire was €10.40 (including tourist tax) for 24 hours. As you can imagine it was pretty busy, but because our van is smaller compared to an RV, we had a nice plot with a lot of extra room. We didn’t plan on spending much time there anyway as we hired bikes from a nearby restaurant and cycled the 20km to Annecy. We firstly hired a tandem which was a disaster waiting to happen (in my opinion), so after 2km, we turned around (very ungracefully) and returned the tandem for 2 bikes.

The cycle path in Annecy is so great as you’re off the busy road and you get to snoop at some of the most beautiful lakeshore houses and gardens. Oh how the other half live! We love Annecy town and we tend to walk the same route through the old ville and visit the same shops and bars. It was exceptionally busy as you’d expect on a sunny Saturday, but manageable. I find this town is always full of holiday makers no matter what time of year.

After a peaceful nights sleep at the aire, we both went for a run along the cycle path, then a quick dip in the lake. In the afternoon, we drove above Annecy to a spot called La Pirraz to do short but sweet hike to Cascade d’Angon, a 35m narrow, gorge waterfall. We decided to escape the madness of Annecy and sleep at the waterfall car park as we had a great view of the lake without feeling claustrophobic.

The next morning we drove back through Annecy town and found some free parking at the Grassy Knoll by the Lake in Duignt to enjoy a swim and a picnic. We left late afternoon to go bag our spot near Meribel for the Tour De France.

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