Mountain Swimming

The sea may be a long way away but that doesn’t mean you can’t get a beach fix while  you’re in the mountains for Summer.

Many of the towns in the Haute Savoie have man-made lakes for swimming, some with sandy beaches too. And while bracing for a swim earlier in the year, even a woose like me can handle a quick dip in late August or September. Sunbathing is also encouraged, as well as many other activities, if you’re so taken.

Something worth noting is the strange requirement at some French swimming venues for men to wear what we like to call tighty-whities (or budgie smugglers). It’s not enforced everywhere and I for one, prefer those relaxed destinations that don’t. If you don’t have and need they will often sell you some!

Megève

I’ll start with Megève, the closest swimming opportunity – in the Winter as well – but without a beach. Le Palais Sports Centre, just 5-10 mins drive from the apartment, has both indoor and recently renovated outdoor swimming pools, with slides and water play area for small children.

Tighty-Whitey rule? Oui

Flumet

Next closest is probably Flumet, with an outdoor all-natural man-made lake, in a pretty basin in the hills and complete with fountain and pontoon for jumping off. This is a relaxed family-friendly location that, apart for 2euro to use the car park in high-season, is absolutely free. There’s plenty of room the relax by the lake and two lovely restaurants, although we often picnic.

You can preview Lac Flumet in 360° glory here 

Tighty-Whitey rule? Non

Combloux

This is in the small ski resort  on the other side of Megève that you will pass through if you drive from Geneva. Just below the town and near it’s entrance from the valley is a pretty little lake with the most stunning view of Mont Blanc. The lake is picturesque and shallower (and so warmer) than most others.

The area also has a spa and upmarket restaurant – although you can get more basic food and snacks from a window. You also need to pay to enter. Space is limited and it can feel quite packed on a busy day.

Tighty-Whitey rule? Oui

Sallanches

20 minutes drive down into the valley (head off via Domancy) and you’ll reach the biggest lake and beach. It’s enormous and there is plenty else to do there, other than swim and sunbathe. Notable is an giant inflatable assault course for kids of all ages. 

Tighty-Whitey rule? Non

Les Contamines

Pontet leisure park is next to the campsite in Les Contamines, a ski resort in Mont Jolie. It’s about 30 minutes drive away – head out the other side of Megève and but take the turning to St. Gervais rather than Sallanches (the next exit on). Before you enter St. Gervais (another beautiful Ski town), you take a turn off to the right and drive another 10 minutes.

This is the first lake and beach we discovered, so we have a real soft spot for it. There’s an awful lot of other activities here too, including parkour, boating, tennis and so on. Like the others there’s also a restaurant 

Tighty-Whitey rule? Non

Please let us know if you discover any more…

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