Annecy, France 2012


Without question one of the best hotels we have ever experienced in many ways, helpful and friendly multilingual staff, the excellent dining room and the location which is perfect for a relaxing. A fifteen minute walk along the beautiful Lake Annecy shore to the pleasant little village of Talloires and a fifteen minute drive to the picturesque town of Annecy.

Dinner is not to be missed; nor is breakfast for that matter, which goes well beyond the traditional French baguette or croissant. We ate dinner in the hotel each of the evenings we were at Les Grillons, the photographs provide a sample of the delightful and well presented dishes. 

A single main course selection is offered each night, but, if it isn’t something you like, let them know and they will make you something you will like. The cheese board every night was a big hit with us all with a good selection of local cheeses. We had a variety of main courses ranging from veal, lake perch and beef, each beautifully presented and of excellent quality and flavour. 


Our large room with an ‘Ollie annex’ made the holiday with a stunning views over looking lake Annecy the lake and a superb view of the mountains. We had a very comfortable king-sized bed and modern flat screen TV, plenty of closet and storage space. 





Annecy Town Centre

Driving through Annecy at the start of the holiday we were inclined to give it a wide berth given the heavy traffic and general buzz, however, we hired bikes for the day and took the ideally loctaed cycle track 10k outside of the town centre. Annecy is one of those pretty old Town’s that has canal’s running through, making it a little like Venice! The abundance of pavemnet cafe’s made it a ‘people watchers paradise’ so we locked the bikes up and order two grand cafe au lait.  



Open water swimming. 


Lake Annecy is said to be the cleanest lake in Europe and is a favourite watersport destination for the French. We soon found that one swim in its refreshing waters reveals what all the fuss is about. With water visibility of 15 feet and a ring of yellow buoys conveniently situated every 500 meters around the lakes perimeter, it is almost tailor-made for focused open water training…or just an easy recovery swim. And the contrast of towering green mountains, brilliant blue sky and crystal clear water everytime you turn to breathe, is pretty hard to beat. Our swim training consisted of swimming out to the nearest yellow buoy and then swimming along the line of these buoys for as long as you wish. The buoys run the whole parimiter of the lake and restrict all vessel’s to 5 Knots making swimming very safe.


We had the good fortune of a session with Christine Hemphill, Proffessional Triathlete. (










A Mini Adventure – France 2012

We had a little surprise at Geneva Airport when we were told our hire car had been upgraded to a top of the range mini convertible. After the initial scare… ‘where are we going to put the suitcases’  the mini came into its own as we cruised through the Alps (around La Plagne) with the top down, Ollie suggesting I looked like a gay hairdresser in the driving seat!


Via Ferrata – France 2012

De la Roche a Agathe – is famed for being the most difficult Via Ferrata in the lake Annecy area (in the Haute-Savoie region in the French Alps). We’ve been there, survived and loved it – well I did anyway – Heather and Ollie bottled it after a few minutes. This was the single most scariest thing I have done in my life, it’s a shame that the pictures don’t do the scale of the climb justice.  It’s a sheer vertical climb with a scary tight rope crossing near the beginning. It gave me an incredible buzz on completion but there were times I thought…this is it.
This via ferrata in Thones (de la Roche a Agathe) is considered one of the harder in France, and very steep and overhanging in places, with some heart-in-mouth gorge crossings, the literature says ‘you will need to be in decent physical (and mental) condition to take it on’.
  • Altitude: It climbs from 660m to 895m above sea level
  • Length: in total you cover 600m of the south west facing cliff face
  • Difficulty: D+ (Difficult) to start (accessible to most people, with an ED (very difficult) finish. There are some easier alternatives to the steepest sections on the Thones via ferrata, bringing the overall grade down from ED, to Difficult.
  • Time: It is a bit shorter than the other via ferratas nearby in the Alps, typically taking about 2-3 hours – I did it in one hour thirty minutes!!!

Take a look at the last photograph  – if you enlarge you can just see me and the size of the cliff.