One more goodbye post…Tonight’s my last night in this lovely farmhouse in La Rivière-Enverse in Haute-Savoie, France. I’m going back to London and my parents are moving to New York. I’m not really one to get sentimental…I’ve been extremely fortunate to be able to live in so many beautiful countries because of my parents’ lifestyle choices, it hasn’t made me disenchanted, but I didn’t think I’d get ever get so attached to a place.
Annecy, Chamonix, Les Gets, Évians-les-bains, Megève, Cluses and Samoëns are among the well-known towns/cities in the Haute-Savoie department. La Rivière-Enverse is about a ten minute drive from Samoëns and though we did go to the other places at times, I’m not going to write about them here because I’ve either written my experiences in those places before, or they’re so well known, they don’t really need input from me right now.
My first trip was in June 2014. That was back when my mum and I didn’t drive (very much or very confidently) and we only had one car, and I had a UK network plan which didn’t support data or calls outside the UK (I use Three now, which does). My friend and I were visiting together, and one day we walked from our house to Taninges, through the beautiful forests and past lakes and rivers. It was a lovely, leisurely downhill walk which took us about two hours. Then we walked around Taninges and took pretty pictures. But then we couldn’t figure out how to get back. We kept walking around in circles until 7pm, when we knew my dad would be back from work. So we used my broken French at a Boulangerie to convince them to let us call my parents so that they could pick us up.
Since then, I’ve been back every chance I’ve gotten, for weekends, for every long university holidays. It’s been lovely to have my family so close by, but everyone knows I really came for the house and the area – I hardly ever stayed in Geneva, where they were officially living.
This area is amazing because there are so many activities in both the winter and the summer.
Spring/Summer/Fall (Easter to Christmas)
Hiking. Rafting. Ziplining. Paragliding.
(Reading. Chilling. Sunbathing. Sleeping.)
I have to admit, I’ve looked into paragliding every time I’ve been here, but chickened out…But the other things, I did every chance I got.
My favourite place to go hiking was Sixt-fer-à-Cheval. It’s named “horseshoe” because the hiking area is surrounded by mountains. (I like to describe it as the inside of a mouldy tea-cup…)
We used Indiana Rafting in Morillon every time we went rafting. We would take an old school bus up to near Sixt, and then with an instructor, we would raft down the river to close to Morillon. There are multiple levels available, English speaking instructors, chances to jump into the water, and bodysurf.
Ziplining over the lake was part of the experience of Parcours-Acrobatique-Forestier. This opens around Easter time and runs until the end of fall. They have a discount card (second time -5%, third time -10% and so on) so you can do multiple levels and routes during your time in the area.
Samoëns is a beautiful, picturesque, postcard French town where everyone who came to visit us would have to go at least once. My parents probably know about more places to eat there now, but my favourite places are Crêperie La Fandioleuse, La Tornalta, and Les Tartines de Martine. There is La Jaÿsinia Jardin Botanique which is a windy path up a hill surrounded by alpine plants and flowers and mini waterfalls and lovely views of the surrounding towns and mountains.
Boulangeries Tiffanie – this is a chain of bakeries in the area – the ones that I know of are in Chatillon-sur-Cluses, Morillon, and two in Samoëns. They have amazing baked goods, and their speciality of the region (from what I’ve gathered) is the Septimontain. It’s not too sweet, it’s nutty and berry-filled and is named after the surrounding seven mountains.
Winter/Spring (Christmas to Easter)
The time between Christmas to Easter is when it’s snowy (and skiable) up in the mountains. I’ve skied as late as the beginning of April, after that it does start to get icky in the beginner areas so I wouldn’t recommend it, and the snow at the peak starts to get a bit hard and icy (not ideal conditions).
Samoëns-1600 used to have lovely 360-degree views of the mountains, there has been a ton of construction there this year with the new Club-Med resort that is being built there so the pedestrian ticket which you could buy to go to the debutante area doesn’t give the beautiful views as it once did. Driving up to Samoëns-1600 currently is better than taking the cable car up, but I haven’t been able to find the new access from the parking lot to the skiing area (maybe they’re trying to close it off?) – but you can get these views if you drive up.
If you’re an okay skier/snowboarder (as long as you’ve taken one day of skiing lessons and can turn and stop), I’d suggest to get a Massif ski pass and go up to Tête des Saix-2120 and ski back to Samoëns (or to Morillon) – it is connected to many surrounding mountains with green and blue routes.