Category Archives: Annecy, Chambéry & France

Le Retour des Alpages

By   October 13, 2007
Alpine cow walking toward me.

Today was the Retour des Alpages in Annecy. Every year in October, sheep, goats, and cows wearing huge bells are paraded through the over-crowded streets in Annecy to signify the end of the grazing season in the mountains. I missed out on this tourist attraction last year, so I was determined to go this year even though I knew how many people would be downtown. David & I spent a good 30 minutes driving around before we found a parking place, and passed the time waiting for the cows to arrive shopping in Decitre (my favorite bookstore!) As soon as we exited the store, we saw the sheep at the front of the parade crossing Rue Sommeiller at Rue Carnot.

I ran to the middle of the street to take some pictures and quickly felt sad for the poor animals who had to walk through all the people all over Annecy. And when only a few cows had crossed the road, the policeman thought it would be a good idea to hold up the parade and let some buses and cars go through. ::sigh:: Those cows looked so scared. They tried walking toward people standing at the edges because they didn’t know where else to go. And I bet those huge belts around their necks itched like crazy.

Frantically stopping cows from walking into bus.

Thiou River

By   July 7, 2007

I took a little stroll along the Thiou river yesterday. It’s the shortest river in France at 3.5 km long. It connects the lake in Annecy (cleanest lake in Europe) to the Fier river, and is also featured in every touristic photo ever taken in Annecy because it makes up the cute little canals in the old town, without which we wouldn’t be called the Venice of France.

The promenade along the Thiou extends out to the suburbs where I live, so I followed it into Annecy. The water was so clear and peaceful and after weeks of rain, it was nice to be outside in the beautiful summer weather for once.

Crossing the bridge to start the promenade
No flooding yet

The water is so clean and clear!

Le Plateau des Glières

By   April 15, 2007

On Friday, David and I drove up to the Plateau des Glières, the famous hiding location of the French Resistance fighters during WWII. There’s a Resistance Monument, a few restaurants, and several hiking trails on the plateau. David had heard about Chez Constance and their delicious meals of beignets, so we decided to head there for lunch.’s directions lead us to believe it would take 44 minutes to drive there. It took us nearly an hour an a half because there are absolutely no signs for the plateau, except right next to the road that leads up the mountain. We drove through La Clusaz, Grand Bornand, St. Jean de Sixt and Thones (all of which are cute Alpine towns, btw) before we finally found the right road in Petit Bornand. That was actually the easy part.

The road that leads up the mountain is a tiny, although paved, path that only allows for one car at a time. Several of the curves had no guard rails, so I can only imagine how many cars have slid over the edge during the winter. We almost gave up and turned around twice because we didn’t think we were on the right road. Finally, nearly an hour after we were supposed to arrive, we made it to the plateau.

Les Gorges du Fier

By   April 9, 2007

The Fier River leads west out of Annecy, towards Rumilly. In between the two cities, there is a neat little tourist attraction called Les Gorges du Fier. Basically, the water has carved deep gorges into the rock, and you can walk through them on a little platform. David and I spent the day there taking pictures:

On est allé au Semnoz.

By   April 7, 2007

I spent today on a mountain. The weather was gorgeous, so David and I drove up the Semnoz (all the way to the top where there is still snow), and then came back down to have a picnic in the grass. We watched little children play soccer, dogs happily chase after sticks, and les parapentistes glide above us. C’était magnifique.

I was most amused by our choices of sandwiches. David made a typically French one on a baguette, while I stuck to my “American Sandwich” (it says that in English on the bag) sliced bread. I guess I still feel that baguettes are too high class and sophisticated to be treated as lowly sandwich bread.

Plus I learned a new word AND species of animal. Towards the bottom of the mountain, there was a small caged area full of daims. Looking up the French to English translation online only led to looking up the English definition of fallow deer. Apparently they don’t live in Michigan, and actually only in very small parts of the US, so I had never heard of them before.

J’ai passé une bonne journée.

Three weeks later

By   October 16, 2006

I’ve been in France for 3 weeks now. I love it here. Annecy is so beautiful and the mountains are always in sight. I’ve made some good friends with the other language assistants and work is fun. I like all of the English teachers I work with and the students are enthusiastic about learning English. I watch a lot of TV and read a lot of French as a Second Language books because I really want to become completely fluent in this language.

I will have a vacation from work soon, and I might go to either Lyon or Lille. I don’t really like taking the train in France, but only because I almost went to Geneva instead of Annecy the last time I took a train (as did many other assistants). I really want to travel as much as possible while I’m here, which will be easy because I have 3 other 2 week vacations during the school year.

I have to go to Grenoble on Wednesday for my medical visit and try to get my Carte de Séjour on Thursday. Those are the last two things in the mound of paperwork I had to do. Buying a cellphone and opening a bank account were easy compared to getting a residency card.

I wish everyone could move abroad at some point in their life. You learn so much!