Les Bauges? A medium-height mountain range in Savoie Mont-Blanc, it is surrounded by the main towns of Savoie and Haute-Savoie: Annecy, Albertville, Aix-les-Bains and Chambéry, bordering the Lake Annecy and Lake Bourget.
The Massif des Bauges Regional Nature Park was created in 1995. In 2011, this area obtained the label of “Geopark”. Nature is protected here and you can spend your holidays alternating between the prairies and the forests. The lakes of Bourget and Aix-les-Bains, at the summit of Mount Arcalod, the highest peak of the Bauges mountains at 2,217 m., promise you holidays with relaxation and sports activities, gourmet flavours and craft discoveries ... Coeur des Bauges is the central area of the Park, extending over sixty municipalities. This is the most mountainous part that you can discover during any season.
Bauges, hiking territory
The major natural site of Coeur des Bauges is the Bauges National Hunting and Wildlife Reserve. From the villages of Ecole, Jarsy, Doucy-en-Bauges, and Sainte-Reine, you can walk or hike to discover the typical local landscapes. You may even have the chance to come across a Chamois, an emblematic animal of the territory.
From a family excursion (Pissieu Falls, the little Lake Mariet, the Bellevaux Chapel and Tourbière des Creusates) to more energetic treks or the Tour des Bauges in a 6-day adventure trek, everyone will find the hike that suits their level and pace. In addition, the Regional Nature Park has set up thematic trails for you to discover the local treasures.
You can also go trekking with a donkey or on horseback
Bauges, activities for everyone
Whether you are a sports fan or you simply like new activities, here you will find an activity that suits your mood:
- Biking: Bicycle tourism with the Tour des Bauges by bike, small loop tours or more active journeys, Savoie Grand Revard or Albanais by mountain bike and sometimes, to make the ascents easier, by electric mountain bike
- Skiing and sliding in all forms with 4 family ski resorts: Aillons-Margériaz, Savoie Grand Revard, Semnoz and La Sambuy.
- Swimming and water sports on the lakes but also at Lescheraines Leisure Centre, canyoning and water rambling, fishing in Chéran, in its tributaries or ponds
- Underground or in the air: potholing-trekking or discovering the many caves, climbing and via ferrata, but also free flights from the many sites for takeoff.
Bauges, land of heritage
To get to know everything (or almost!) about Bauges, we recommend you visit the two thematic centres at the Park: the Fauna-Flora Centre at Ecole, through models, films and exhibitions presents to you the relations between man and nature. At Aillon le Jeune, the Chartreuse Heritage Centre invites you to discover all the traditional rural activities of the area (wood, nails...) but also the daily lives of the Carthusian Monks when they occupied the building.
Several museums are waiting to be discovered in and around the Park: the Ecomuseum of Lake Annecy in Sevrier, the Paccard Museum in Sevrier, including the famous casting of bells (on Thursdays and by reservation), the Ecomuseum of Combe de Savoie in Grésy-sur-Isère, the Regional Museum of Vines and Wines in Montmélian ...
You will also be enchanted by the beauty of typical villages such as La Compôte, the only group of villages in Coeur des Bauges and the Vallée des Grangettes, emblematic of Bauges-Devant. There are many traditional ovens, chapels, mills and other architectural features in Bauges.
In season, guided tours of particular sites are organised by the Savoie Heritage Guides.
Bauges, “terroir” of gourmet flavours!
Gastronome or gourmet? The local products of Bauges will delight your tastebuds. The PDO Tome des Bauges , emblem of the area, is a cheese that is both soft and distinctive, to taste on a cheese plate or prepared with potatoes in a local dish known as Matouille! Cheeses of many kinds are found in the Park: Margériaz, Valbleu, Saint-Bruno, PDO Abondance, PDO Chevrotin...
But in Bauges, there are also chocolates with imaginative names such as the Geopark Stalagmite or the Bauges Baby Bear; there are also organic, aromatic and medicinal plants that are transformed into herbal teas, liqueurs and other cocktails, to taste with moderation! Still hungry? Push open the door of the organic bakery, which concocts original breads and pastries.
And for a refreshing break, “Baujue” beer: to enjoy with moderation while appreciating the quality of these typical local products.
Discovery workshops around chocolate or cheese are offered to you in season; don’t wait - find out more!
And in the Park, cheese also comes with wines (always with moderation!) in Combe de Savoie, where the emblematic grape varieties of the area are protected.
Bauges, for holidays at your own pace...
Sports, excursions, hiking... but also lots of fun! Discover Bauges the way you want through its typical villages and its remarkable sites: Pont du Diable, Pont de l’Abîme... and their activities.
You can also choose to admire the panoramic views from the lookouts accessible by car: Revard or Semnoz... Beautiful scenery is offered to you without an effort! Simply that of enjoying the pleasures of life.
Strolling around also means meeting the many artisans: potters, leatherworkers, sculptors, ceramicists... And don’t forget to meet Jean-Paul in the hamlet of Magne in Saint-François-de-Sales to discover the traditional local craft: “Argenterie des Bauges”, dishes made of turned wood named after the Sycamore maple tree, the bright, white wood used to make them!
Coming to Bauges also means taking the time to discover the towns in the surrounding area: Annecy and its old town, Chambéry and its heritage, Aix-les-Bains and its antique palaces, Albertville and the 1992 Olympic Games Centre...
Bauges, remarkable geosites...
There are currently 5 Geoparks in France, including that of Bauges. The Regional Nature Park has identified some 60 geosites and remarkable sites throughout the territory.
The Prérouge Cave, the Pissieu Falls, the Tannes et Glacières trail, caving-hiking, Lake Thuile, the Chaos du Chéran and the Saint-Jacques towers ... so many sites to discover when you come to Bauges!
For more info (in french)