Divonne Les Bains
We crossed the channel at 3pm on Thursday. Our earlier-than-usual crossing meant we could travel as far as Dijon on the first day, and we arrived at a fantastic aire de camping car in Corgirnon, a small and quiet village, by 10pm. We were able to get a good night's sleep, even finding time to chill out with a glass of wine before bed, and being in no real rush in the morning.
We'd done little to no research ahead of time, I'm not really sure if that's laziness or the buzz of discovering things for ourselves. It can be hugely rewarding and more relaxing to explore on your own terms but it can backfire too, when you arrive home, tell friends where you've been and they ask about something you ought to have seen but didn't know about!
For our second day I consulted Google Maps which indicated Lake Geneva was easily reached on bikes. Tony suggested that Geneva wasn't too much of a distance after that and so our plan was to follow the lake around and explore Switzerland's third largest city.
We appeared at the shore of Lake Geneva at a small harbour. Half of the tables at a lake-side cafe were occupied and we decided to fill another and enjoy a coffee in the sun. The cafe readily accepted our Euros but gave us change in Swiss Francs.
I didn't have any preconceived ideas about what Lake Geneva would be like, but it's huge and very pretty. The scale of it, and the placement of towns and plush residences around its edge reminded me of Lake Garda.
I'm not a fan of big cities, but I'm adding Geneva to only two others I'd happily live (those being San Francisco and Lisbon).
As I mentioned earlier, on the return bike ride we found cycle route 50 which joins Geneva with Divonne Les Bains. This route across country avoids all major roads, and so apart from being mostly uphill all the way, it made for pleasant cycling.
We walked back past a quaint church, higher up the mountain still and with even better views of the lake. We continued a gradual ascent for much of the walk back to camp and this seemed counterintuitive, however a steeper final decent balanced our change in altitude even if it didn't help our aching joints.
We mooched along the shore absorbing this new view of the lake, the Jet d'Eau in Geneva still visible at this distance. We spent much of our remaining Swiss Francs on ice creams and meandered back to our bikes.
Divonne is a great place to base yourself for a few nights and if I were to suggest itineraries, our two days of cycling and one of walking would be exactly what I'd recommend. We'll certainly be investigating the other shores of Lake Geneva for future holidays.
We left camp at 7am for what will hopefully be a 2pm arrival for our next four night adventure.