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Take Faverges. It’s a small town with a wonderful Wednesday morning street market, shops and restaurants. It’s been put on the global map by a local butchers shop, run by two brothers who make a speciality sausage known as Pormontier – said to be the best in France. In the Haut- Savoie, these boiled sausages are a legend, every family will have their own recipe and it includes spinach or cabbage or chard. The sausages are eaten with potatoes – a hearty meal for the mountain people. I popped into the shop and asked Monsieur Le Butcher if I could see his famous sausages, the ones that were filmed the day before by a film crew for a Japanese TV programme. He might make good bangers but he didn’t have much of a sense of humour and gave me a stern look and asked his assistant to help me. But still – they are very tasty! There are wonderful places to walk and even a grotto hidden in a forest to explore. Take a guided tour of the Grotte de Seythenex and wear sensible shoes for your trip as this natural hole in the ground has a steep descent. Enjoy the beautiful riverside walk and views over the steep ravine with its waterfall and if you’re feeling adventurous – take on the giant zipline! A visit here makes for a great day out twinned with a trip to nearby La Sambuy. If you’re there when the “Cabin Festival” takes place (15 May – 8 July 2017) you’re in for a treat. In a woodland and watery setting, architects and designers create cabins from natural materials that will make you smile. Find out more about the local area and what's on: www.sources-lac-annecy.com Thones is a chocolate box pretty place and home to Reblochon cheese makers, the piquant cows milk cheese that’s delicious and perfect for the mountain dish tartiflette. (Click here to read about my visit to a grandmother/granddaughter cheese making outfit and a tartiflette recipe). Head to the nearby Montremont fish farm where there’s a restaurant that specialises in trout dishes. Looking like something out of the land of the Hobbits, in summer the garden twinkles under tiny lights, and it’s incredibly pretty and very laid back.
Le Grand Bornand This town is a popular summer destination with the French and no wonder, it’s really buzzing. There are delicious gourmet food shops, ravishing restaurants like Restaurant Confins des Sens which has a chic chalet ambience, sports activities galore and the air is fresh and sweet. It’s also where you’ll find the shop of Didier Perrillat, one of the last leather artisans left in Haute-Savoie. In his tiny shop he makes all manner of things from purses to bags and key fobs but he’s famous for the leather necklaces he makes for cows! Did you know every cow has a unique bell and a good farmer can recognise an individual cow by its ring? Well those bells have to hang on something and Didier makes beautiful straps for special cows! I'm told that cows here wear day time bells but in their closets they may have a special “dress” bell which is much bigger and heavier and worn for shows and special occasions! You can watch Didier creating in his pretty shop Chez Le Bourrelier with its mountain views. located in the main road of Le Grand Bornand. Head up into the mountains for more glorious scenery and fabulous restaurants. A short drive from Le Grand Bornand you’ll find the Col des Aravis, and at 1498m it has magnificent views that take your breath away. Those ski lifts that make skiers life easy, also work in the summer and make for a fun ride. Enjoy a meal high up in the fresh air, there’s nothing quite like it to whet your appetite and there’s lots of great choice. For views, ambiance and scrumptious dishes, Restaurant les Rhodos ticks all the boxes. Find out more about the history of the area, life in the past and Reblochon cheese at the new Le Hameau des Alpes museum near La Clusaz. Interactive exhibitions and great photos make this a fascinating visit.
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