“Nature is painting for us, day after day, pictures of infinite beauty if only we have the eyes to see them.” So said the great writer and artist John Ruskin. He never went to the little village of Manigod in Haute-Savoie as far as I know but if he had, I’m pretty sure he would have repeated these words out loud. And slowly. With awe in his voice as he looked over the incredibly beautiful countryside…
Manigod’s many glories
Manigod is bijou, charming, authentic. It’s not a big place so you can get to know it pretty well in a few days. But it’s big enough that you’ll never be bored here. The people are friendly, the food is fabulous, the countryside is a little corner of paradise year round. Spring sees alpine flowers burst into life and blossom scents the air. In summer the mountains are verdant. In autumn, as when I visited, the air is warm and the scenery lush. And in winter the snow covered resort is perfect for those who love to ski. There are 15 chair lifts, 25km of marked slopes and 8 night slopes. You can go dog sledging, snow-tubing and many other fun snow sports.
Home to the Col de la Croix Fry
Col de la Croix Fry is a pretty pass located at an altitude of 1477m at the heart of the Aravis Massif and well worth stopping by. With a stunning view over the Aravis mountains you’ll come face to face with majestic Mont Blanc. The road that leads down to Manigod is very beautiful, surrounded by fields and chalets.
In winter, the Col de la Croix Fry is a super access point for all activities: downhill skiing, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing on the vast Plateau de Beauregard. In summer, it’s great for hiking and cycling. It has been featured several times in the Tour de France, and with a 9.3% slope and 13 km of ascent it’s a challenging ride. But you can also hire e-bikes if you want to enjoy the views in a more relaxing way.
What to see and do
If you visit outside of the ski season – this is perfect walking and cycling country. There are plenty of marked trails that take you through forests, past crystal clear mountain lakes, up and down flower filled meadows of the valleys dotted with little chapels and pretty chalets. It’s a place to relax, revitalise and recharge your batteries. Uncrowded and unspoiled.
Once you’ve nourished your soul, it’s time to eat.
Head to The Garage concept café. The former village garage is now a café and store. It has the most wonderful views over the mountains. And, sitting out on the deck watching the sunset is one of those moments you won’t forget. Inside the garage you’ll find all manner of things you’ll want to take home. And everything is for sale here from the glasses they serve your wine in to the chair you sit on to enjoy it.
Make your way to the Chalet-Hotel La Croix-Fry gastronomic restaurant to be utterly and thoroughly spoiled. Dine out on the deck overlooking the Aravis mountain valley or inside the cosy restaurant with its grand wood fire and beautiful décor. Delicious dishes made with fresh regional products, ceps, Manigodine cheese, fish from nearby Lake Geneva, divine reblochon cheese pie and wild mountain fruits – make for a memorable meal.
Manigod is close to Annecy, another of Haute-Savoie’s jewels. There are so many gorgeous places in this alpine region I could write a whole book on them – Faverges, Thones, le Grand Bornand, La Clusaz to name but a few. This area is brimming with beauty.
Visit Manigod Tourism website (they have a great hiking app you can download): en.manigod.com
Annecy mountains Tourism: en.lac-annecy.com
For inspiration and loads of ideas for what to see and do in and around Annecy Mountains head here: www.annecymountains.com