Alsace or Chamonix??

Old Mar 20th, 2012, 11:37 AM
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ljv
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Alsace or Chamonix??

Our family has finalized details for our August trip EXCEPT for the last 5 days, one of which will be a travel day back to Paris for our flight home.

We can't decide between the above two regions, each of which has its obvious charms. I've read that the Alps/Chamonix area is inundated with tourists in August.
The Alsace area appears to have a very different vibe than the rest of France, which might be interesting to experience.

We do hope to get some hiking in wherever we end up. (Alps vs Vosges)

Any input from you seasoned Francophiles is greatly appreciated. MERCI!

P.S. We will have a car during all our explorations(except Paris) and we will be coming from the Loire Valley to either of the above!
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Old Mar 20th, 2012, 12:15 PM
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Alsace is an entire region and Chamonix is just a small town. I love both of them and both will be full of tourists in August.

Actually, with a car, you can visit both. The drive over the Ballon d'Alsace and into the Jura to the Alps is a wonderful drive.
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Old Mar 20th, 2012, 12:38 PM
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Given that you're already in the Loire, have you thought about the Pyranees?

There are many threads and articles about the National Parks, the hiking and the like.

It may not be so crowded, but I've never been there in August.
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Old Mar 20th, 2012, 12:51 PM
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Chamonix doesn't hold much charm for me - it's Mt Blanc & the surrounding Alp's that's the draw.

I think your two options should be:
1. Annecy with a day-trip to Mt Blanc if the weather is nice
2. Alsace

I think it should be noted that you really only have 3 1/2 days to see anything. The night before, you are staying in Vouvray. It is a 6 1/2 hr drive to both Colmar and Chamonix. Add 3/4 hr for pottie breaks, lunch, & 1 or 2 "deviations" due to road work. Add another 3/4 hr if you do this on a Sat or Sun and hit the autoroutes heading south from Paris in early August. So your first day is mostly wasted/lost.

Also, you may hit horrendous traffic getting back to Paris if your trip is in late August on a weekend - so plan accordingly.

We spent 2 weeks in Annecy a few years ago, plus another 5-6 days in the Annecy/Chamonix area on prior trips. We spent 1 week in Alsace a few years back plus another 1 1/2 weeks prior to 2000.

I like both areas - but it's cute villages & vineyards vs mountains (lake too if you choose to stay in Annecy). The mountains can get some bad weather, which would make your 3 1/2 days there not so enjoyable - especially if you want to hike.

You might consider taking the TGV/train back to Paris instead of driving.

Stu Dudley
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Old Mar 20th, 2012, 12:56 PM
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>>Given that you're already in the Loire, have you thought about the Pyranees?
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Old Mar 20th, 2012, 01:43 PM
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Thanks everyone!
Right now we're leaning toward the Alsace region..aside from the towns/vineyards, we can drive the route des cretes.

Has anyone done hiking in this region? I know it probably doesn't compare to the Alps( we hiked in the Jungfrau region 2 years ago!), but is it decent and/or challenging?
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Old Mar 20th, 2012, 01:56 PM
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I was in Chamonix end of August last year. I thought it was primarily a hiking destination for summer. Of course, you can have Savoie dishes, but I found them very heavy and after a few days wanted lighter fares.
Alsace is also full of tourists in August. I was also there in August. Unilike Chamonix, it is a region and there are many towns you can visit. I think food and wine are primary and the hiking is secondary in Alsace.
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