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Chinaillon in Summer

For summer visitors the range of activities is endless. There is walking at all levels often from the Chalet door, mountain biking is popular in the area along with parapenting, via ferata, rock climbing, swimming, horse riding and golf.

Hiking in the French Alps Mountain Walking Holidays in the French Alps

Le Grand Bornand is where most of the organised summer activities take place, based around the area by the swimming pool complex. The source of all information and booking of activities is the Tourist Office where there are assistants who speak good English to help you. There is a good range of shops including two small supermarkets and a weekly market on Wednesday mornings.

Our chalets are mostly based in the quiet hamlet of Le Chinaillon which is on a high, sunny plateau. Here there is a small, well-stocked supermarket and several shops. It is quiet and has a pleasant rural feel to it. There is a Tourist Office which has English-speaking assistants and is a central point of information and organisation.

Outside the villages the small farms are scattered over the mountainside, many of them selling dairy products at the door. As you go up the mountains you will come across the herds of cattle grazing on the high summer meadows, their bells ringing across the valleys.

Mountain Biking in the French Alps Summer Holidays in the French Alps

In August there is the annual International Children's festival, Au Bonheur des Mômes; a week long festival of puppet shows, theatre, circus acts, mime, juggling etc. There are also lots of workshops and events that children of all ages can participate in. It finishes with a huge firework display and street party on the last Friday night.

There are village fêtes all through the summer in some of the smaller hamlets, including Le Chinaillon's Fête d'Alpage, which celebrate traditional mountain activities. There are sheep dog trials, cattle competitions, wood sawing and chopping demonstrations and local food and drink in abundance.

Swimming:

There is a large outdoor pool complex in Le Grand Bornand. There is a water slide, a paddling pool with a water fountain and a proper swimming pool.

Others:

In the village, near the swimming pool complex, there are areas dedicated to trampolines and acrobatics, archery, tennis, volleyball and yoga amongst others. All the activities are supervised and tuition is available.

Pony Trekking:

Pony trekking can be organised from just a one-hour ramble or a two-day trek to a mountain refuge.

Paragliding:

Paragliding is one of the most popular summer sports in the area. Le Grand Bornand is well known in the paragliding world as one of the best places to fly in the mountains. The World Championships were held here a few years ago. You can learn to fly solo in a week-long course or take a tandem flight with an instructor just to get a feel for it.

Via Ferrata:

This is a route up the side of a mountain with a continuous safety wire attached from top to bottom. There are three Via Ferrata in the area including one in Chinaillon. A guide can be hired at the Tourist Office.

Golf:

There are several championship standard Golf courses within 1-2 hours drive as well as a challenging 9-hole course in Grand Bornand where tuition is available.

Le Grand Bornand and local produce:

Le Grand Bornand is a long established alpine village which has preserved its character and traditions well. It has a genuine year-round life based on dairy farming and its ancient wooden chalets are still used as farms and give an authentic feel to the area.

Eating out in Chinaillon

Le Grand Bornand has a weekly market on Wednesday mornings where fresh fruit and vegetables are sold alongside other local products. The area is famous for its Reblochon, one of Frances' best known Appellation Contrôlée cheeses. The region also produces large amounts of Tomme de Savoie as well as sheep cheeses (Brebis) and goats cheese(Chèvre). Pork is another important local product and you can buy a large variety of dried hams, saucisson, pates, terrines and sausages. There is honey from different parts of the mountains as well as jams made from the local fruits. Wines from the Savoie can also be bought from the market and in some of the village shops. They are mostly light white wines (Apremont, Chignin, Roussette) with a flowery nose and a fresh lemony taste. The red wines are either Gamay, which is light and fruity or Mondeuse which is fruity, peppery and tannic. There are similar markets in La Clusaz on Mondays and Thônes on Saturdays.

Chinaillon Local Produce, Le Grand Bornand.

Annecy

Annecy is one of the loveliest Alpine cities in Europe situated by a gorgeous lake which is about 30 minutes drive. It has been called the Venice of the Alps because of its well-preserved Medieval centre and its canal system. Inside the old city, which is nearly all car-free, there are lots of interesting shops and restaurants under the covered walkways and along the canals. The castle has a comprehensive museum and there are others monuments to visit as well. By the lake is a big open park and a botanical garden. You could also visit the numerous beaches all around Lake Annecy and swim in the cleanest lake in Europe. There are many water-based sports on offer all around the lake including sailing, windsurfing, wakeboarding as well as pedalos and rowing boats for hire.