It was a scorcher today. 90 degrees and counting in the bright sun. Which made it the perfect day to visit La Grotte de Seythenex, the only cave open to the public in Haute Savoie, the French province of which Annecy is the capital.
The cave is beyond the southern tip of Lake Annecy, in a mountainous range called Les Bauges, which has more modest peaks than those closer to Mont Blanc. It’s a very subdued tourist attraction (the gift shop wasn’t open, and even if it had been there wasn’t anything worthwhile to buy, much to Chloe’s dismay), which made it absolutely perfect in my mind. Here’s a photo of the girls climbing through a very claustrophobic gallery in the cave, which was discovered in the 1800s.
On the same grounds as the cave is a lovely waterfall, accessible by climbing a bunch of steep steps.
After our cave and waterfall adventure, we decided to climb even higher (in the car) to La Sambuy, a small ski station nearby, where I had hoped we’d be able to take a ski lift and then hike to the top of one of the mountains. Our plans were foiled, however. When we arrived, the place was essentially deserted, except for the workers preparing for the start of the summer season this coming weekend. We were a few days too early. Happily, the on-site restaurant stayed open for us and we enjoyed a leisurely lunch in an adorable spot that we had all to ourselves. Chloe, being Chloe, couldn’t resist making a fool out of herself with her pasta, even though her only audience was us (and now the readers of this blog).
It was my turn to take the wheel, since anyone who knows our family well knows that my husband often needs a little sieste after eating. So there was no way in hell I was going to allow him to take the hairpin turns leading back to civilization. I hadn’t driven a stick shift in a very long time – if I’m not mistaken, I think the last time was about ten years ago when we rented a car to visit the Dordogne region when Chloe was an infant. The good news is that we made it back to Annecy in one piece and I was reminded that driving a stick shift is like riding a bike – you never forget how.
Before signing off for the day, another breathtaking mountain panorama for your enjoyment, taken from Seythenex.