We scheduled a second mini vacation around my birthday and decided to circle Lake Geneva. We rented a car from Lyon and set out for our first destination, Annecy, France. We visited Annecy on one of our previous trips and decided to make it our first stop on the way to Switzerland. Annecy is sometimes called “Venice of the Alps”, this idyllic and touristic representation comes from the three canals and the Thiou river lying through the old city and whose initial role was to protect the city and to empower its handicrafts.

We arrived in Annecy to find what seemed to be an event of some kind because the roads around the lake were blocked off for a race. It turns out they were having an International Nordic competition where athletes strap on what looks like short skies with roller blade wheels on them. They use the equivalent to ski poles to help push them racing through the course. It wasn’t a free-for-all race but instead each racer left the starting posts about one minute apart from each other so it was strictly time based.

We left Annecy the next day and thought it would be a good idea to see Geneva. As we got close to the city we hit traffic, cars/trucks were everywhere. We endured the traffic as long as we could and decided to break out and drive along the southern part lake to our next stop, Thonon-les-Bains, France.

We visited the town and walked the seawall and marina located just down the hill from our room at La Maison de Concise. Renée is featured looking out of our room window onto the garden. It was also nice to be able to walk along the docks, see all the boats and the clear water of Lake Geneva. Basically the lake is bordered to the north by Switzerland and to the south by France. The Swiss side of the lake is call Lake Geneva while France calls their side Lac Leman.

Our next stop for the night is Vevey, Switzerland, which is located on the shores of Lake Geneva. Vevey is home to the world headquarters of the international food and beverage company Nestlé, founded here in 1867. Milk chocolate was invented in Vevey by Daniel Peter in 1875, with the aid of Henri Nestlé. The residence of British American actor and comedian Charlie Chaplin was in Vevey, where he lived from 1952 until his death in 1977.

Along the way to Vevey we decided to stop and tour the Chillon Castle. We have been through a few castles on our trips to Europe but each is very unique with history and worth seeing. It is amazing if you stop and think about building these structures and the people who lived in and around them. Chillon is located along the shores of Lake Geneva with fantastic views from anywhere in the Castle.

Our original plan was to drive around the entire lake before returning to Lyon. However, we changed plans and headed back from where we came and re-entered France. This time we took a route that led us into the Alps, past Mont Blanc and the village of Chamonix. The scenery is stunning, with massive mountains, clear streams/rivers and clean fresh air everywhere.

Mont Blanc is the highest mountain in the alps rising 15,780 feet. As you drive through Chamonix you go right past Mont Blanc where you can see the snow covered peak.