Day 22 — July 22, 1996 (Monday)
22.07.1996 - 23.07.1996
Up bright and early. We checked out last night. The manager spoke no English but he was very well organized so with our little French, we managed. He had carefully kept our reservation check and returned it to us when we paid him in francs. It was again cold enough to see your breath and the tent fly was soaked with condensation. We rolled it up wet and put it in the trunk!
Stopped in Bourg d’Oisans for croissants. We ate them walking back to the car. Zipped to and through Grenoble and got on the A41. There is a very dramatic bridge as you approach Albertville. It is more sculpture than bridge — very modern. Switched to N508 up to Annecy and soon found ourselves beside a mountain lake the color of the Caribbean. We passed many campgrounds and they all looked full. Au Coeur du Lac, the one we want in Sevrier, wouldn’t take reservations so we approached with some trepidation. When we arrived, the “campground full” sign was up. We decided to ask anyway. Ed pulled in and we waited for the manager who was very nice and spoke very good English. He found a camp van pulling out and gave us their space. It’s large and flat, but has no shade. We’ll deal with it. At least our tent should dry out quickly! Put up the tent and gave the campground the once-over. Clean bathrooms, no toilet paper, expensive camp store and a small restaurant. We walked across a bicycle highway to a beach — grassy with a few trees. This could be pleasant.
Exploration over, we drove to Annecy and parked at the Hotel de Ville in a huge underground lot — yes, you pay. We found the tourist office and got maps, then set off on foot to find a takeout lunch to eat in the Jardins de l'Europe. We passed up Q (Quick food) and found a little sandwich shop nearby. We asked them to couper a chicken salad sandwich so we could share, added two Cokes and a pastry for dessert and headed back to the gardens with the canal and swans. We found a bench! They had watered the grass and there was mud at the bench so no one wanted it. Sometimes mud is our friend!
After our pique-nique, we set off to explore the old town which is a major tourist trap but still very beautiful. We hiked up (and up and up) to the château, but entry was 65F so we walked back down to explore the town some more. We went in Cathedral St. Pierre and sat down to rest our weary feet (and drink some more of my small 10F bottle of Evian). We heard some clicking and clunking behind us and someone climbed up into the balcony. It was the organist! He had come to practice, so we got a free concert in the almost magical old church. Château d'Annecy web site
There are canals running through town and lots of ducks and swans. It is great fun. We continued wandering — looking for a flag for our patio and instead found the tiny portable fountains we hadn’t gotten at Carcasonne and later wished we had. This time, we got one! You can put two little plants in it too. We decided to hand carry it on the plane. Ed cheerfully volunteered to carry it . . . much better than listening to me complain!
Back at the parking lot, we put our new little fountain in the car and headed for the exit. When we got there, the machine spit out our ticket and refused to let us out. A little Frenchman came running over and explained we had to pay an Automatique machine upstairs. We parked in the exit and the man took Ed upstairs to show him what to do. Such fun — but we finally escaped the parking lot! The French are so much more polite in these situations than Los Angelenos. No one honked or appeared in any way disturbed.
At camp we decided to do our journals by the lake so brought our table cloth to use as a beach blanket. We got a place in the shade right at the water and now have three ducks and two swans to keep us company. They don’t seem to mind the myriad swimmers.
Drove back to Annecy for supper. We parked for free at the Château and walked down and down to the old town in search of a restaurant. After checking several menus, we settled in at Beau Soleil on the canal for fondue. It was a very different fondue from Jausiers, but we liked it. Our waiter was a lot of fun. We ate too much — but I think you are supposed to occasionally in France. [We have returned to Annecy and always eat at our namesake restaurant Beau Soleil. We've always gotten fondue so I have no idea what the rest of the menu is like. The fondue is terrific and we've always had great service.]