April Roadtrip through France 2022 - The tip of the iceberg
Easter skiing can can be fraught with the risk of there not being enough snow. Fortunately, as we arrived at Meribel, we were welcomed with a fresh flurry of snow that would keep the pistes in great shape for the rest of the week. It's a good job that Shannon and I were SkiFit as we seem to be spending more time on the tail of Max as he heads effortlessly down the slopes. (Our SkiFit package includes over 40 on demand videos with 5-60 minute yoga and HIIT classes).
After a great week's skiing it was time to head northwards.
With such good weather, a late Easter - surely there would be an easy transition to summer activities such as hiking and open water swimming in France.
Leaving the ski resort in Les 3 Vallees it therefore seemed only natural to explore the various open water swimming options that we could find en route back to the UK. Over the course of 2 days, I think we found various locations to break up the long trip home. Having booked our return journey on Eurotunnel, we also had a bit of flexibility as to when we needed to board the train to the UK.
Only an hour and half from Meribel, this a lunch time stop - one that many would have passed through if they have arrived to ski via Geneva airport. Along the shore there are many beach clubs to try out. We chose a the public park - Plage de Menthon Saint Bernard; a green shaded area with plenty of space to picnic and then get into the lake.
It was cold - and it took a bit of time to get adjusted. In the true spirit of cold water therapy we were reminded to focus on the breathing. The turquoise blue water reminded me of the beautiful lake at Karnten in Austria where we had swam as part of our Austria Ironman back in 2005; all those years ago.
Max seemed less inclined to spend too much time in the water but was at least willing and humoured us.
What seems great, from our experience driving through France is the free parking that encourages you to stop and explore. Whether stopping to find somewhere for a quick dip or just exploring a local village, France seems to make things easier for a tourist.
Having spent a short time searching for our next stop online, this was a real surprise, in that we found a few great spots to swim and get in the cold water not too far off our route back to the UK.
Staying locally, in boutique hotel, we took the opportunity to dip into as many of the waterfall pools as possible. OK, so not technically open water swimming; more like cold water therapy for sure. With 7 waterfalls over a 3 hour walk, not only were the views spectacular as we weaved through the forest, we thoroughly enjoyed getting back into the water.
Close by we found the Lac de Bonlieu, apparently one of the most picturesque lakes in the Jura region. A pontoon provided a safe, and excellent entry point into the water. (There's always a open water pontoon shot when it comes to open water swimming).
This time Max didn't join us. (I think at this point I think the novelty was starting to wear off for him).
These are just two opportunities we had time to get undressed and get into the water. There are plenty more opportunities in the area to explore wild swimming or from public beaches. In fact, across the Jura Lake Route provides a great way to explore. One thing we noted was that Lake Ilay has been suggested as a great place to swim, however, notices alongside the shore noted that the water was used for drinking water and asked people not to swim in (fair enough).
Travelling north towards Troyes for our second stop over, the Orient Lake was too close by not swing by for a quick dip. With limited time, there wasn't a lot of time to explore and get away from the crowds. With 3 lakes and woodland covering over 70.000 hectares there should be plenty of great places for quick dip and explore. The most important thing there was some cold water to waken us up another road trip,
This is our first trip exploring open water, and in this case - cold water locations in France and certainly won't be our last.
Unfortunately for Max, this could be the tip of the iceberg as we use one of our tonics (passions) to enhance our travel plans. On the plus side, it won't always be this cold and the lakes will get warmer throughout summer.
As the summer beckons, and as open water swim coaches, we are looking forward to more swimming more locally around Cookham, the Jubilee River and Braylake. We're also running a openwater swim courses - contact us if you want to find out more.
At My Life Tonic, we really believe that find what works for you, or following your passion, really makes an overall impact in your daily happiness. I know that Shannon and I are fortunate that we are able to combine a number of our tonics during this trip - skiing, open water swimming, cold water with the chance to explore new areas.
What's your tonic?