Riding the good lifeon the bike paths around Lake Annecy
Coming full circle
Great news! Since last summer, you can ride the 42 km around Lake Annecy almost entirely on dedicated bike paths, the exception being a short section through Veyrier-du-Lac.
Enjoy crossing “paths” with families, avid road cyclists, cargo bikes, kick scooters, roller bladders, and even strollers. A study is currently underway to determine the feasibility of a project to widen the bike path along the west shore of the lake between Annecy and Doussard.
© Monica Dalmasso
Easily accessible, riding the full loop around Lake Annecy takes approximately 2.5 hours, offering you the chance to let your mind wander, stop to cool off at one of the many beaches, or take a refreshing break at one of the many cafés along the bike path. Separated from the road and safely away from car traffic most of the time, riders still need to pay careful attention on the few sections of the loop shared with other vehicles.
In addition, during the summer when visitors flock to the bike path, we recommended starting your ride in the morning to enjoy the cool temperatures and having the place all to yourself; take full advantage early in the day of the almost empty beaches for a quick dip in the lake.
If you ride counterclockwise around the lake, the only strenuous section is the steep climb in Talloires along the east shore; a steep descent if you choose to ride in the other direction, from Annecy to Doussard. In this latter case during the summer, cyclists often glide downhill faster than most cars.
© Monica Dalmasso
The designated bike path
Along the west shore of the lake, from Annecy to Doussard, the designated bike path follows an old train track bed as it passes through Sévrier, Saint-Jorioz, and Duingt. As you leave the latter, the bike path takes you through an old train tunnel that offers not only the chance to cool off, but one of the best photo opportunities along the lake right when you exit.
In Sevrier, after taking you along the lake, the bike path heads slightly inland. To enjoy one the more fascinating places to take a break, we recommend stopping at the old Bredannaz train station in Doussard. It has an old steam locomotive from 1911 that remains proudly on display. The former train station has restrooms, a water fountain, and a picnic area with tables and benches.
© Gilles Piel
Distances on the east shore
- Annecy – Veyrier-du-Lac : 6 km
- Annecy – Menthon-Saint-Bernard : 9 km
- Annecy – Talloires : 12,5 km
- Annecy – Doussard : 18,5 km
Distances on the west shore
- Annecy – Sevrier : 5 km
- Annecy – Saint-Jorioz : 9 km
- Annecy – Duingt : 12 km
- Annecy – Doussard : 18 km
Cafés to stop at during your ride
Several cyclist-oriented cafés have recently opened along bike path around the lake. This new concept where riders hop off the saddle to take a refreshing break demonstrates the current overabounding enthusiasm for cycling and a more pensive approach to the activity.
Certain places, like L’Abri Cyclette in Saint-Jorioz or Le Bon Wagon in Duingt offer a wide variety of services for cyclists, from small repairs, to bike rentals and sales.
Let’s take a quick look.
© Monica Dalmasso
Stops along the east shore
La Petite Reine bike café – Veyrier-du-Lac
After a successful career in marketing and communications in Lyon, Nathalie Duyts, decided to merge into the slow land for a while and open a bike café, La Petite Reine, in the house where she grew up in Veyrier-du-Lac. She began serving cyclists in July 2019, following a year’s worth of renovations: building a summer bar, a terrace, and a professional kitchen.
“At the time, the project grabbed the mayor’s attention. She provided her much-needed support, as did the Lake Annecy Tourism Office, which also helped with publicity,” Nathalie reminds us.
“By opening a café in the yard of my family’s home, we wanted to create a relaxing hassle-free place to take a break and enjoy a delicious bite to eat (breakfast, a meal or salad, and homemade fries) in a warm and friendly setting. Just like at home. We are open Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday, Sunday, Monday, from 10:30 to 15:30, except in the event of bad weather,” she explains.
© La Petite Reine
You can also fill up your water bottle, make minor bike repairs, or recharge your e-bike there for free. New this year and extremely popular: barbecues on Thursday evenings (reservation required) and English Breakfast at weekends.
Did you know?
The expression “Petite Reine” (Little Queen) in French to refer to a bicycle comes from the Netherlands, where Queen Wilhelmina ascended to the throne at the young age of ten, and was apparently one of the first people to ride a bike on the streets of Amsterdam. During a trip to Paris, where she rode through the city on a bike, French journalists gave her the nickname “Petite Reine.”
Stops along the west shore
L’Abri Cyclette – Saint-Jorioz
Located in an old crossing-keeper’s house along the bike path in Saint-Jorioz, L’Abri Cyclette was the first of the current generation of bike cafés when it opened in 2018. A restaurant, bar, and snack bar, the terrace seating offers amazing views of the mountains. Take advantage of this great spot to stop and take a break after a long ride on the bike path.
© L'Abri Cyclette
Christophe Robin, aka Monsieur Vélo, is available on Wednesdays and Fridays at L’Abri Cyclette to make small bike repairs when you need them. The rest of the time he travels around – by bike and with his repair shop trailer in tow – making house calls or to his clients’ offices for all types of bike-related work: repairs, new gear and accessories, or basic maintenance. His talent and expertise know no bounds.
Le Bon Wagon, a café created for cyclists – Duingt
A café, rental shop, bike shop, and repair workshop all in one, Le Bon Wagon has become the meeting place for anyone with a passion for the Tour de France and cycling in general. Whether you need to pump up your tires, adjust your derailleur, charge your e-bike, or even refill your water bottle, Bon Wagon offers cyclists a variety of free services to make your ride around Lake Annecy a great experience.
© Le Bon Wagon
- © Monica Dalmasso
Journalist: Aude Pollet-Thiollier
Translation: Darin Reisman