Hike to Croix de Sainte-Catherine & Tour de Branchy

A few months ago, I went on a short hike to Vallon de Sainte-Catherine, a small hill on the west flank of Semnoz, and walked a loop in Seynod after that. Here is the path I followed (download KML):

I went by bike to the Zone Industrielle de Vovray, in the Seynod neighbourhood of Annecy. I started on the nearby forest path to the Vallon de Sainte-Catherine and soon reached the ruins of a former convent (Couvent de Sainte-Catherine) and the trail to Croix de Sainte-Catherine. There was a good view on the Pays de l’Albanais from the cross. Then I kept walking in the Vallon: The trail was very muddy so I walked instead in a glade for a while. At La Boverie, I found a trail to get down to Vieugy in the valley. Instead of looping back directly, I went on a walk in the area. I made a detour to have a look at the Tour de Branchy, a tower located near the road between Annecy and Aix-les-Bains. Then I passed Val Semnoz, a large shopping strip mall, on the way to Parc de la Maison de Malaz. Finally, I went back to the Zone Industrielle to pick up my bike.

Above, oil tanks in the Zone Industrielle.

Above, at the car park before the start of the forest trail.

Above, in the Vallon, at the place where the convent used to be.

Above, Croix de Sainte-Catherine.

Above, view on Pays de l’Albanais.

Above, Montagne de la Mandallaz.

Above, Val Semnoz and Parc de la Maison de Malaz.

Above, Tour de Branchy is visible in the background.

Above, La Boverie.

Above, the path goes up for a little bit above the ruin.

Above, I lost the trail at some point but I kept on the ridge until I found the path again.

Above, on the way down to Vieugy.

Above, out of the forest in Vieugy.

Above, Semnoz.

Above, old Eglise Saint-Martin de Vieugy.

Above, new church.

Above, Mont Veyrier and Parmelan.

Above, near a horse riding school and stables.

Above, Tour de Branchy.

Above, road to Aix-les-Bains.

Above, on the way to Val Semnoz.

Above, more horses.

Above, La Grande Mouette at a round-about.

Above, in Val Semnoz.

Above, Parc de la Maison de Malaz.

Above, Basilique de la Visitation.

Above, back at the Zone Industrielle.

Above, lake on the way home.

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Parc du Bois Vidal (Aix-les-Bains)

Parc du Bois Vidal is a large park in Aix-les-Bains. It has multiple forest paths, lawns and a viewpoint (belvédère) with a good view on Lac du Bourget and the surrounding mountains.

Above, Dent du Chat hidden by clouds.

Above, the main path on the way to the viewpoint.

Above, belvédère.

Above, Lac du Bourget.

Above, Mont de Corsuet.

Above, Dent du Chat still in the clouds.

Above, Mont de la Charvaz.

Hike to Crêt du Maure (Semnoz)

A few weeks after the Circuit Central, I came back for a hike at the foot of the Semnoz. This time I went to Crêt du Maure, passing by a few viewpoints along the way, with a good view on Lake Annecy and the Bornes mountains to the east. Here is a map of the trail that I followed (download KML):

I started at Les Marquisats, on the shore of Lake Annecy, and walked up to the convent behind the Basilique de la Visitation. Using forest trails, I reached a place called “Super Panorama”, near a restaurant with a good view on the lake. I continued towards a first cross, Croix de Chuguet, which I reached with a small detour from the path. A second cross, Croix du Crêt, was not very far after that. There is a third cross, Croix du Chef-Lieu, but it was getting late and I decided to loop back before I went that far. On the way back, I crossed the road that goes to Crêt de Châtillon and walked down the Circuit Central with viewpoints on the Albanais. It was night when I arrived at Basilique de la Visitation.

Here are descriptions of similar trails in the area: Circuit des 3 Croix, Sentier de la Grande Jeanne.

Above, sailboat on Lake Annecy, from Port des Marquisats.

Above, near La Tambourne, behind the Basilique de la Visitation.

Above, crossing the road that goes to Crêt du Châtillon.

Above, the place is really named Super Panorama.

Above, Lake Annecy from the restaurant near Super Panorama.

Above, clouds on La Tournette.

Above, Croix de Chuguet.

Above, Dents de Lanfon.

Above, Mont Veyrier and Mont Baret.

Above, Sévrier.

Above, looking towards the Castle of Duingt.

Above, La Tournette and Roc de Chère.

Above, Croix du Crêt.

Above, La Tournette.

Above, Belvédère des Gélinottes.

Above, Belvédère de la Grande Jeanne.

Above, Annecy and the lake.

Above, antenna.

Above, Montagne de la Mandallaz in the background.

Above, Basilique de la Visitation.

Hike to Circuit Central du Semnoz

Starting from La Tambourne, next to the Basilique de la Visitation in Annecy, I walked the Circuit Central du Semnoz, passing by a few viewpoints (belvédère) along the way. Here is the trail that I followed (download KML):

It is a short and easy trail that should take a couple of hours to complete. However, I didn’t do the full loop: I walked until Belvédère du Crêt des Bruyères, then went back using the same path, with a small detour to the Parc Animalier de la Grande-Jeanne, a small deer park.

There are also many other paths to choose from starting at La Tambourne.

Above, start of the forest trail.

Above, first viewpoint (unnamed).

Above, bell tower of the Basilique de la Visitation below.

Above, Parc du Taillefer in Cran-Gévrier and Montagne d’Age.

Above, the city of Annecy and Montagne de la Mandallaz in the background.

Above, Belvédère du Pas de l’Echelle.

Above, Belvédère de la Grande Jeanne.

Above, the lake is visible from that viewpoint.

Above, Rond-Point des Ecureuils.

Above, Belvédère des Gélinottes.

Above, Belvédère du Crêt des Bruyères.

Above, Albanais.

Above, Zone Industrielle in Seynod.

Above, on the way down.

Above, at the Parc Animalier de la Grande Jeanne.

Above, fallow deer.

Above, red deer.

Above, the park also has some goats.

Above, wall of the convent when exiting the forest.

Above, Basilique de la Visitation on the way to the Old Town.

Above, Castle.

Above, at the lake.

Pont du Diable

The Pont du Diable (Devil’s Bridge) is small stone bridge in Bellecombe-en-Bauges, not very far from the Pont de l’Abîme. The deep and narrow gorge formed by the Nant de Bellecombe below is a popular place for the practice of canyoning.

Above, walking to the bridge from the car park.

Above, the gorge.

Above, Pont du Diable.

Above, there are paths in the forest along the river.

Above, Mont Colombier.

Below, I had already been there during the summer, while I was passing through on my bike. At the time, I saw a few people in the Gorge.

Above, canyoning.