Paragliding aroud Annecy Lake
Lake Annecy and its surrounding mountains are not only the birthplace of paragliding, they are one of the main world centres for practising flying sports.
This is no coincidence: it is simply because the air conditions in these parts of the Alps are perfect for practising the sport: winds are generally gentle, warm currents abound, the takeoff sites are easily accessible, the wide, green valleys provide excellent landing terrain and the roads make picking up paragliders easy.
In its environment, the region is a paradise for paragliding.
Fly over the dents de Lanfon and La Tournette limestone walls, soar above the turquoise waters of the purest of the large alpine lake and glide for kilometres over the Bauges and Aravis crests, which seem to have been designed for long-distance paragliding.
Land, dive into and swim in the lake, then discover all the latest trends in flying sports in the local paragliding schools and shops.
The Annecy region is a paradise for flying sports and the most popular flying destination in the Alps, for excellent reasons.
The main takeoff areas are on the East bank of Lake Annecy: Planfait (950m altitude) in the town of Talloires and the Col de la Forclaz (1250m altitude) in the town of Montmin, with panoramic views to take your breath away. These sites are suitable for both novice and experienced flyers.
On the Western bank of the lake a small site in the town of Entrevernes is suitable for morning flights. It is a more technical site, due to the limited size of its takeoff area, cleared amongst the trees. The Semnoz, the main peak to the West of the lake, provides two takeoff areas facing the plane and offers fantastic potential flights, in particular when conditions are too unstable to fly in the high mountains. It is on this rangy crest facing west that you can join up with the Revard and Sire site, some 35km to the South, and return to your point of departure without any major technical difficulties.
To the South of the lake, you will find the Bauges Regional Natural Park which provides a real "stadium for flying sports”. The many peaks in the massif are easily accessible, and takeoff and landing sites abound in the mountain pastures. Before flying, it is advised to research the areas where flying is prohibited (towards the Arcaloz massif) and sensitive nesting areas at certain periods of the year.
To the North-East, in the Aravis massif, Le Grand-Bornand and La Clusaz mountain lifts make taking off at high altitudes easy. These sites are much appreciated in the summer, to fly above the inversion layer and when the air mass in lower layers is stable. Towards Bargy and Jalouvre summit, you will sometimes be lucky enough to spot a Bearded Eagle, a majestic bird of prey with a wingspan of over 3 metres.
A large part of the year, with the best conditions between the end of March and the beginning of October.
Types of flight:
Introduction, on-site flights, two-place gliders with certified flyers, bivouac flights, flights which are part of mountain hikes, flights above the lake in a specially designed environment with a local school, speed riding in the Aravis in winter, kite in Semnoz.
A network of weather markers is available on the FVL frequency (Fédération française de vol libre 143,9875 Mhz) and on the internet.
In the event of a major problem, 112 is the unique phone number which forwards emergency calls towards the emergency services and mountain police services.
For cross-country flyers, the proximity of Annecy airport requires taking care not to enter the TMA to the North of the lake.
- A restitution flight over the Col de la Forclaz in the evening.
- The small tour of the lake towards Roc des Bœufs and returning, crossing the width of the lake.
- The cross-country flight from Semnoz to Revard.
- The flight and hike from the summit of Tréloz towards the Ecole en Bauges plain.
Article written by Antoine Desvallées (two-seater pilot, currently taking the BE). For more information, find him at: Résidence Florimontane à Talloires.
For an introduction to paragliding: first flight... contact Passagers du Vent.