Cycle to Annecy – Duingt, Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes, France

Having arrived the evening before and stayed in at the campsite for a barbecue. This morning we were keen to walk down to the shore of Lake Annecy and see the view. So for our morning dog walk we headed into the medieval village of Duingt complete with 2 castles. Chateauxvieux (Old castle) from the 12th century stands on a cap extending into Lac d’Annecy it was once a promontory between a larger and smaller lake now flooded. This seems to be a private residence now.


Another castle right behind us in Dhéré a relative youngster from the 15th century adds to the beauty of the green countryside backed by towering hills. However it is a pretty little village right beside a lake where even the Spar shop is picturesque, as only the Alps appears to achieve. It was only polite to stop for a coffee at a lakeside café to finish off our walk.

Dhéré castle
Duingt village

Running literally past the gate of the Municipal Camping here in Duingt is Route Vert which circumnavigates Lac d’Annecy. I have never seen such a well used cycle path. It is well away from the road until you get into town and as a sign of the volume of cycle traffic there are little cafés all along the route for cyclists passing by. We had originally planned to stay nearer town and walk in but with this on our doorstep it was time to get the bikes out to go and explore by bike. So we assembled our Bromptons and loaded up the dogs for our trip.

I would happily say that we have got a lot of things right in our selections for this trip. Our Mercedes MLT580 has been the perfect tool for the job and taken us everywhere we wanted to go in comfort. The solar panels, aircon, batteries etc have done what we needed (subject to a health check on one battery when we get back). However the Bromptons, despite fitting perfectly to the space allocated in the garage have not been a great success for actually riding. The small wheels and minimal gears mean that effort put into pedalling is barely translated to forward motion! I think as city bikes to carry on the train etc they are probably perfect. However, they made an only 11km ride to Annecy harder work than it needed to be. The short trips they are more suited to we would normally just walk with the dogs, normally covering a pretty hilly 6 miles a day back home each day.

We had shied away from a rear mounted bike rack due to the general paranoia and fear of theft in the UK, horror stories of petrol station thefts while you fill up etc. However in France, we seem to be the only ones without a bike rack most of the places we go. So I think for our next trip, the Bromptons will not be joining us. Our electric mountain bikes more suitable for hauling dogs and shopping etc in hot climates will be joining us. It is also not a case of electric v manual, we would probably both prefer a road bike / racer but we could not fit the dog seats to those and without those we would likely not use them very much. As it goes, we have certainly used the bikes a lot less this trip, partly because they just aren’t fun to get out on, but also because of our smaller van we have mainly been able to park up in walking distance of where we are visiting.

Anyway, we did manage to make it to the very picturesque Annecy. The cycle path taking us alongside the lake which was filled with people enjoying the glorious sunny weather and the amazingly clear turquoise waters of the lake. The cycle path takes you straight to old town Annecy, with hundreds of bike racks available to park up and explore.

The old town has been referred to as the Venice of France with its river and bridges. It is centered around the Palais de l’Isle, a 12th century castle built on an island in the river Thiou. We passed a pleasant time wondering the old streets taking lots of photos. We just managed to get a table for a light lunch amongst the crowds doing the same as us.

Before long it was time to cycle back, with some slight assistance due to a following wind. We managed to get in time for the Premiership rugby semi-finals – Saracens v Harlequins and Leicester Tigers v Northampton Saints followed by a barbecue.

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