French Alps in early June ?

Old Feb 20th, 2011, 08:05 PM
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French Alps in early June ?

Is it worth having a ~3-4 days drive in French Alps in early June ? If yes - what kind of itinerary would you suggest ? We are coming from the west, and leaving for Paris. Looking mostly for natural beauty, hikes, and authentic countryside (and would prefer to stay away from narrow, dangerous serpatines).
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Old Feb 21st, 2011, 11:37 AM
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And, more specifically, is it worth going to Chamonix in early June ?
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Old Feb 21st, 2011, 12:41 PM
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In around '03, we drove through the Alps from Embrun to Annecy from about June 10 through June 15. We mostly took the Route des Grande Alpes. In some of the higher elevations (Briancon, Bonneval-sur-Arc) many of the hotels had not opened up yet. I think in Bonneval we arrived around 3pm & got the last room in town (we reserved Embrun weeks in advance). A major heatwave hit France while we were doing this drive. We arrived in Chamonix without reservations, the weather was spectacular, and we did not have trouble finding a hotel room. We then went to Annecy, had big trouble finding a room (a convention in town) - but finally stayed in a "business" hotel just outside of the old section of Annecy.

In early June, the weather can be pretty "iffy". IMO, Chamonix is not that interesting - except for Mt Blanc & the surrounding mountains - whice are spectacular. I would keep your plans "loose". If the weather is nice, head to Chamonix & explore the Mt Blanc region. If the weather is not nice - you might not have much to hold your attention for 3-4 days. If the latter is the case, go to Annecy instead (we stayed there for 2 weeks in '08) for a couple of days to wait out the weather. If it is still nasty - go visit Chambery (but not Geneva).

We were in the Alps this past July for 2 weeks - split between Embrun & Briancon - plus 1 night in Grenoble before taking the train back to Paris. In '08, we stayed on Lake Annecy for 2 weeks in late June.

Stu Dudley
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Old Feb 21st, 2011, 02:06 PM
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Thanks a lot for your response. It looks like we better book a room in Annecy, and if the weather in Chamonix is goood - just go there for a few hours to take a lift. Would that work ? Also, what about the roads along the Route des Grande Alpes, and around Annecy and Chammonix - are they like narrow mountain serpantine roads, or more like a highway ?
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Old Feb 21st, 2011, 03:48 PM
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It takes about 1 1/4 hrs to get to Chamonix from Annecy - and almost all highway.

I have to run now - but I'll try to post some scenic drives around Annecy that we enjoyed. I don't recall many serpantine roads in the Annecy/Chamonix region - but there were plenty south of Briancon near St Veran.

Stu Dudley
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Old Feb 22nd, 2011, 07:59 AM
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Here is a scenic drive east of Annecy.

Find Flumet on your Michelin 328 map - Flumet is just southwest of Megave. Take the D909 northwest along the pretty Gorge de l'Arondine and then over the scenic Col des Aravis. The road looks a little winding on the map - but I don't recall it being "scary". If it is scary for you - just return to Flumet. Go over the Col des Aravis - or even get out for a walk in the area. If it is a nice day there will be lots of people hiking in there. Continue on the D909 for a very short distance, and then take the pretty D16 west through Manigod and on to Thones.

On a day when the weather is not that great, visit the Gorges du Fier - you'll walk on a ramp along the gorges.

There is an interesting Chateau to visit just east of Menthon St Bernard. You may have to do some research to find out the days/times it is open.

Stu Dudley
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