Parmelan hike – 1,832m

One of my fav hikes. 

Last Sun morning we got up early enough, had a serious breakfast and drove to Villaz. We passed the village and parked higher up at the parking among other 10 or so cars. We dressed up properly. Packed a picnic, two bottles of water and clothes for change. And off we went. 
At first you pass the local farm where you can buy some regional cheese and stop for a drink. The vast view gives you opportunity to see Annecy from a different perspective. 

The cows have massive bells and make a lot of noise with every movement. It’s like an alpine orchestra that is welcoming you at the start of your hike. It always surprises me. Other countries/regions seem to keep their cows incognito;)

The weather wasn’t too bad. The beginning of the trail leads you through a forest. Then you move onto a narrow and steep path. Looking up make you feel very small. 

We decided to go through Le Grand Montoir, which is pretty steep. You have even chains to help you out.this was the most difficult part for me. I had problems with controlling my breathing and my legs were basically killing me. I was that person stopping every 10 min and drinking water and breathing heavily… I was fine after 1 hour. I felt great. This part took us 1h 25 mon. 

When we got to the top, a very tick fog showed up. It was pretty windy and cold. We decided to warm up in the chalet. Bringing clothes for change – the best idea ever. Not bringing cash only CC – not so best idea ever. In the chalet they accept only cash and the cheques*….. 

But as we sat there, we started chatting with two other hikers, I shared my dark chocolate with them and they’ve offered us some coffee. The nicest thing ever. Every time I hike in mountains, I find this sense of community. People say bonjour to each other and smile. Priceless.

The last time when we were in the Refuge du Parmelan, we had some wine and food including apparently the best farcement savoyard in the area…. worth trying. 

After a short break, we warmed up and the sky cleared up. The view was my reward. So worth it! We descended by Le petit Montoir. Much easier route as not so steep. 

Before you go, remember to:

  1. Take clothes for change and decent hiking shoes and socks.
  2. Prepare for every weather.
  3. Take cash.
  4. Take min 2l of water per person and some food.
  5. You might need walking sticks to support yourself.
  6. Whistle.
  7. Plastic bag for rubbish so you can bring it back.
  8. Map.

Practical info:

  • Difficulty: intermediate 
  • Parking is 14km from Annecy, Haute-Savoie, France, 1 h from Geneva. You will need a car.
  • Altitude: 1,832m
  • Overall time for semi-experienced hikers 3h
  • Round trip: 8.5km
  • More info here Randos Mont Blanc 

More photos:

At the top 

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