Megève, Haute-Savoie (74), FRANCE
For the past few years, my parents, my little brother and I have been taking a week away in the mountains to escape the buzz and the routine of our daily life at home. It is always a welcome break and the fresh air of the Alps makes me feel much more relaxed and peaceful.
We do a lot of walking there, especially as we go waterfall hunting or hiking in narrow, rocky paths. I am not much of an adventurer, but whenever I go on holiday I am ready to climb mountains and walks miles and miles like there's no tomorrow, until my feet hurt and I feel like I've been doing something special.
We always stay in a little flat in Megève, a picturesque village of Haute-Savoie, and take the car to explore the surroundings. If you ever find yourself in Megève, there are two interesting walks to take:
- the Chemin du Calvaire: a lovely clear path that leads you on the hilltops of Megève, as you follow little chapels all the way to the top. All the photos at the beginning of the post were taken as we climbed (the path, although completely made of asphalt so easy to walk on, can be a little steep at times), and this is where you get the best panorama of the city.
- the Cascade de la Belle au Bois: a small but cute waterfall hidden deep in the woods, as you walk along the river that crosses the village. Visiting the Belle au Bois is something we've done every time we've come to Megève, it's a rather easy walk, but be careful as you climb down the last few meters to access the waterfall. There, you'll probably come across a little group of gorge-walkers, jumping down from the top of the waterfall and into the freezing water.
The water was so cold, it felt like dipping my foot in a box ice cubes. You know when ice is so cold it starts burning your skin? That's exactly how the water felt. Consider the fact that I did take a swimsuit with me to bathe in the waterfalls... How optimistic and naive I was!
We had a lot of fun nonetheless, breathing in the cold air around us. The 'pit' of the waterfall is surrounded by high trees and rocks, so that the sun barely reaches the area. It makes it even more special and unique to stand there and walk around carefully to avoid falling into the icy waters. Nature really is a wonderful thing!
The Best Waterfall of the Area: Cascade du Rouget, Sixt-Fer-à-Cheval
The cascade du Rouget is by far the most impressive waterfall I've seen (yet!). You can access it by car if you don't feel like hiking - it's actually quite a long way from the town of Sixt-Fer-à-Cheval itself, so the car park area they've created is quite welcome. You'll arrive directly at the foot of the waterfall, just a few rocks to climb and you're there, most likely with eyes as big as tennis balls and mesmerised by the sublimity of the water pouring down, drops flying around in the wind and sending shivers down your spine.
The view from down there is the most impressive, but there's actually a path that goes all the way up to the source of the waterfall. My father and I decided to conquer the steep rocky paths and found ourselves at the very top, jumping from rock to rock in the river.
The surroundings of the waterfall itself, when you go back down and cross the village of Sixt-Fer-à-Cheval, are pretty amazing as well. We paused for lunch at the prettiest spot near the river, where the water was crystal clear - but, may I add, still as cold as ice.
The landscapes in the Alps are truly breathtaking. We generally think of summer holidays as the perfect occasion to go to sandy beaches and exotic islands, but I hope I convinced you that going to the mountains can feel just as good in the summer months!
Have you ever been to the mountains? What is your favourite area to take a step back from the busy city life?