French Alpes is a very rich region with endless corners to visit. Each of these corners hide a treasure waiting for us to discover. We decided to benefit from the region considering we are not travelling anywhere because of the pandemie, so we took of to our favorite camping in St Gervais-les-Bains called Nature and Lodge Camping Les Dômes de Miage. It’s a quiet camping in a vallet with large plots, lots of stars and a bit of wind.
Tips for campers:
- Bring your soap, electric adapter and long extension cable.
- Watch out for the sunrise/sunset points and find a place in front of trees where you will have the sun in the morning, but not in the afternoon.
- Order bread, croissants and pain au chocolat the day before for your breakfast.
- Book your place in advance. The camping may be fully booked because of its great location close to hiking spots.
- BBQ authorised!
The first of our camp based trips was to the Lac de Roselette in the Contamine Montjoie valley region. To reach the lake, take the telecabine de la Gorge (free parking), and then telecabine du Signal. After that it’s a 20 minute walk to the Roselette Lake. The lake is a small mountain lake. Since we visited in July there wasn’t any snow on the ground so I am sharing a picture from the region website. You can stay or eat at Auberge de la Roselette, or eat at the cafes at the exit of Signal.
Since the weather was windy, we did not risk closure of telecabines so we went down to Contamines Montjoie for lunch. I want to share with you a restaurant we discovered by chance and loved.
La Table d’Hôtes Savoie
La Table d’Hôtes Savoie is a Haute Savoyard restaurant recommended by Le Routard and Petit fute. It serves traditional Haute Savoie dishes some of which I haven’t had before! The daily menu is a cheaper alternative but the à la carte menu is correctly priced compared to the restaurants of the region.
For starters, we ordered crispy foie gras with rasperry and terragon sauce and ham and melon salad. Then for main, we had traditional bougnettes and farcement. And to finish with we had a merengue.
Even though I don’t prefer foie gras (ethical reasons), the rasperry terragon sauce was mesmerizing. Melon and Savoie ham salad was ordinary.
Bougnettes is kind of a potato croquette, or more like rösti in a round form. It’s served with cold cuts and salad. The inner part of bougnettes was ok but the crispy outer part was great! Farcement was something else, it was the most interesting dish. Think of a potato cake, inside there are lard (bacon), chestnuts, dried plums and raisins and served as slices. It was served with an onion sauce and diots. Diot is a local smoked sausage. You can opt for cold cuts instead of diot. This region’s specials always have potatos, cream an bacon (lard) so it’s quite heavy for summer. If you are planning hiking, try to go for dinner instead of lunch.
As dessert we had merengues (pavlova) with bluberries and genépi. Genépi is a liqueur prepared with an aromatic herb and it’s quite famous in Alpes region. The restaurant served a foam made with genépi inside a merengue demi sphere, and served it with blueberry ice cream and sauce. Normally I don’t like genépi but I was about to lick my plate, so guess how good it was. Even though the merengues are sweet, it was a balanced and light dessert and definitely the star of the day.
With starters we had rosé du savoie, and with mains we had Mondeuse (a grape specific for this region), a local red wine. The meal cost around 85 Euros for two persons. Our sweet waitress had a star from us because she served water for Mickey before taking our orders and cleaning the credit card machine with a hydroalcoholic gel before giving us.
Gorges de la Diosaz
About half an hour ride from Contamines Montjoie valley, there is a place called Gorges de la Diosaz worht a visit. Diosaz is a mountain torrent. Torrent means a mountain river with a high debit and lots of small waterfalls. The torrent starts from Buet Mountain and joins Arve river after 14.8 km, in Servoz.
In fact, the torrent in Gorges de la Diosaz comes from a dam (Barrage de la Bajulaz) and it flows only from June to September. June and September the water flows low and for a few hours, while in July and August it is stronger and regular. Especially it is spectecular after strong rain.
Gorges de la Diosaz (meaning Diosaz Canyon), has been ad walking path since 1875 open to visitors. It is protected and run by a family. This family cleans torn trees, erosions and repairs the path to keep it open. The maintenance takes three months every year. For this reason the entrance is 6 Euros per person. You can see one of the trees torn last year in the pictures (the site was closed when we came to visit last year, just because of this tree!) and I think it shows the amount of work it takes to keep this place open.
The path begins and ends with a gift shop and a small cafe. The path itself is made of wooden platforms most of the way.
Ardoise is a type of metamorphic stone. You know, the black stone that we use for serving food. It’s very interesting that it can be separated as thin leaves. Also another speciality is the iron content. Because of this, the rocks rust and take a red hue. Since there are other elements, you can also see yellows. Also, it’s possible to see crystals in some of the rocks (spongy texture). The roung shapes that you can see from time to time prooves that the place was a glacier before.
The region also has a small dragon. Gorgy, a dragon, flew from Himalayas to Servoz. He was too tired after his trip so he made a nest and he is still sleeping. In fact, he moved a rock while preparing his nest and this rock is now the natural bridge. You can see in the pictures Gorgy’s wooden skin and the natural bridge.
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