Turquoise set in a setting of peaks, Lake Annecy considered one of the most beautiful in Europe, boasts of being also the purest. With it, a whole region, men, villages and mountains, goes green. To the chefs who decline the pearls of the terroir.
It is a strong symbol, a great excuse to discover the surroundings of Annecy : Jean Sulpice , young leader with the dazzling course, has just hung his two stars at the top of Val Thorens to land smoothly on the shores of Talloires, in The mythical Auberge du Père Bise.
Jean-Paul Sartre, Charlie Chaplin and the Queen of England, Jean and his wife Magali have kept the house spirit, dear to the Annéciens for more than a century. Who can once again have a coffee, a snack, a gastronomic emotion or, now, a nice bistro moment. Of course, it was necessary to renovate, to luster the chalets which have suffered from a lack of maintenance in recent years.
The good taste of the terroir
But far from the couple the idea of making it a temple to ostentatious luxury. Just a hotel of great elegance, dominated by shades of blue duck , old gold and raw wood, now large glazed over the park and the lake. With a few winks to the past, mirrors to tain tired, signings – Ah, Brigitte Bardot writing her “fear of getting fat so good” – and copper pans engraved with the names of the Bise tribe, in which Jean Sulpice tambouille In memory of a remarkable family saga .
Opened in 1903, Father Bise’s table was awarded a star in 1931 and the third, twenty years later, preserved by the descendants until the 1980s. Notably for their gratin of crayfish tails, put back to the menu by the new Head . The latter draws little by little its inspirations in its immediate environment.
Hardly arrived at Talloires, the wild picking crazy has already spotted good spots. In the woods of Bluffy, he picks up loads of garlic of bears, of asperule which, dried, takes notes of vanilla, oxalis with cheerful acidity. Jump like a crazy fire in the neighboring meadow to garnish pimprenelle to the taste of fresh walnuts, roots of salsify with cepe flavor, still find time to appreciate the song of a bird and the murmur of the creek.
The harvest will perfume Beaufort moss, snails raised by Philippe Héritier (Domaine des Orchis, in Poisy), or eel, perch or Arctic char that will bring him on the pontoon Florent Capretti, one of the two fishermen of the lake. And tinged with poetry his creations dictated by the omnipresence of water: one, potato angel hair on féra filet surrounded with watercress juice, hosts at the top eggs of eel: “My wink Of eye to the pair of swans that nests each year on our bank. ” The other, green cucumber jelly stretched like a mirror around quail eggs and borage flowers, evokes the transparency of the lake. Which has not always been so pure.
As early as 1943, a scientist, Professor Hubault, issued a warning: discharges of pesticides, detergents and wastewater threatened him with total asphyxiation. Fifteen years later, the intercommunal syndicate of Lake Annecy, created to save it, began a huge project of collection, pumping and treatment of the waters. Its president Pierre Bruyère says: “Today, 97% of the waters are filtered, we could drink from the lake.” And adding with a big smile : “Without being chauvinist, it is the purest of Europe.” The restoration of the reed beds, these edges of the lake where the reeds often grow, to help the fish to spawn, and since it is also the mission of the union, to finish the cycle path,
Escapades by electric bike
What a pleasure to ride without noise and without too much effort on this ribbon pulled between mountains and shore! More sporty is the ascent of the Semnoz, but recently the Cyclable store in Annecy rents electric ATVs. To try absolutely, for beautiful escapes on the lake in the last laces and, at the top, a grand view of the chain of the Alps to Mont Blanc. Other walks, quieter, offer such remarkable points of view.
The Col de la Forclaz, accessible by road, overlooks the lake in its entirety. You can just stroll in the terrace of Chalet La Pricaz, good restaurant of altitude; Or climb a few hundred yards, to touch the finger of the strange world of paragliders who rush through the void almost tens of meters above the lake. The heart tightens at every flight, but the show fascinates.
A few minutes later, the colored sails arise with more or less grace, sometimes wallowing in the marshes of the natural reserve of the Bout du lac. Peatlands, reed beds and wet meadows shelter a very rich fauna and flora, including the European beaver, reintroduced in 1972, and the rare military orchid. Last suggestion of altitude, a very cool walk at Roc de Chère, at the start of the golf of the lake of Annecy. Moreover, during the development of this golf course, the discovery of an unknown fossil, the bulime, served as a pretext to put the massif “under the bell”.
The path winds under a beech forest bathed in golden light, with damp undergrowth lined with lily of the valley and holly, where thrush musician and whistling piping spun; Suddenly, we switch to the South side. Some degrees more and it is the appearance of Mediterranean species – pubescent oaks, junipers, perfumed coronille. Very quickly, the belvederes succeed one another, the last of which, remarkable; Under our feet, a sandstone slab in which the monks of the abbey of Talloires cut their grain millstones, leaving room for vast basins.
The glance looks down on the bay of Talloires, chiselled banks, alternating water pale green and royal blue. On the pontoons, tiny silhouettes bask in the sun. A sudden desire to take a head at the Brune beach in Veyrier-du-Lac. Lawn nickel, crescent of blond sand, clear water, it deserves its label Blue Flag.
Opting for local products
To change the shore while remaining green, direction Duingt, where Odile and Daniel transformed a simple boarding-house into a 4-star hotel with park and private beach; Their Clos Marcel is so energy efficient and eco-friendly that it is entitled to the demanding Green Key label. No need to stick the slightest label to Laurent Petit, head of Clos des Sens, Annecy-le-Vieux, his approach seems unique. At the approach of the fifties, he understood the absurdity of cooking by proxy.
Exit wholesalers and distant suppliers: “I want to know the human behind each product.” To pass, at a stroke, of foie gras and saint-jacques, everything to bet on the vegetal and the lake: an enormous risk. Well, not only has it kept its two stars, but every mouthful is a powerful slap that one does not soon forget: its caviar of féra with the magnificent crunchy, to roll in creamy polenta, its crawfish it declines in Lace, tartare, bisque, pianotant on the whole range of flavors, head and carapace included.
Here, this strong turn in mouth and oxygen ends. A question anyway: when will the electric bus-buses, to unclog the road at rush hours? This would be a logical sequel to the colossal work that has made the lake its original purity.
Immediate departure for Lake Annecy
Inquiries: Office of Tourism of the lake of Annecy, 04-50-45-00-33. www.lac-annecy.com
Getting there: TGV direct Paris-Annecy starting from 68 euros the round trip. www.voyages-sncf.com
Y to sleep: In the Relais & Châteaux laden with history, advancing in prow on the lake, just picked up by Jean and Magali Sulpice. Coup de coeur for suite 18 with jacuzzi on the terrace, for the direct view of the lake, the ambient harmony, the fine cuisine of the chef. From 229 euros per night for 2 people; Breakfast, 29 euros per person. Auberge du Pere Bise, Talloires, 04-50-60-72-01. www.perebise.com
Eating: strong of its 2 macaroons, Laurent Petit dares an ultra-locavore cuisine, whose fish of the lake and her garden of herbs are the stars. A pure moment of grace. Menu in 5, 8 or 10 flavors from 110 euros. The Clos des Sens, Annecy-le-Vieux, 04-50-23-07-90. www.closdessens.com