Conwy Mountain isn’t really a mountain; it’s more of a hill. But, for one reason or another, the giant mound behind Conwy Marina is known locally as Conwy Mountain. Growing up, I spent lots of summers (and many more weekends) in North Wales, visiting seaside towns such as Caernarfon and Beaumaris, collecting shells and sea glass at the beaches and taking in the splendour of Snowdonia National Park. From Chester, it’s only a hop, skip and a jump down the A55, and I was only too happy to spend a weekend there with my parents over the summer.
Shortly after my hike in the Chartreuse, Olivier suggested a ‘randonnée cerises’ in the nearby Monts du Lyonnais. It’s fairly self-explanatory what this hike entailed, but I fancied sharing a few photos from it as I had a jolly good time. (Let’s face it, a hike that combines rolling hills and end-of-season fruit is pretty much the dream for me.)
Before I left Lyon, I was intent on returning to the Parc Naturel Régional de Chartreuse. Put simply, my visit to the southern edge of the park back in February had whetted my appetite for more and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to see another tiny corner of this majestic mountain range. I also had my eye on a little trip over to Chambéry, and it just so happens that this quaint little town provides easy access to the natural park. (A win-win scenario, if you ask me.) The map was purchased, the packed lunch packed (no items left in the fridge this time!) and the alarm set. On y va!
After the success of my first solo hike, I decided that another trip to the Parc Naturel Régional du Pilat was in order. With a string of sunny days on the forecast, I picked one, traced a new route onto my map in blue felt tip and set off for Lyon Part-Dieu. Although there were no huge peaks on the cards this time, the Massif du Pilat didn’t disappoint, for viewpoints were numerous and trails virtually devoid of hikers.
Just two days after my first trip to the Parc Naturel Régional du Pilat, I found myself back in the area again, this time to hike the first twenty-six or so kilometres of the Aqueduc du Gier. (I’m not sure which part of my brain thought that two lengthy hikes in almost as many days was a good idea, for my legs certainly weren’t of the same opinion, but I thoroughly enjoyed myself, even if I did end up horrendously sunburnt.) Once upon a time, this eighty-odd kilometre long aqueduct transported water all the way from the Vallée du Gier to Fourvière. Although much of it has crumbled away in the intervening centuries, surviving elements of it remain to be seen today.
Shortly after my family visited me, I ventured out to the Parc Naturel Régional du Pilat, one of six regional natural parks in Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes. At this time of year, the park is a vast expanse of lush green meadows, trails bordered by bright yellow gorse and fields and woodland filled with the animal kingdom’s newest arrivals. Crêt de la Perdrix, the park’s highest peak, commands stellar views of the surrounding valleys and rolling hills – and, most importantly, is entirely do-able as a day trip from Lyon.
When I first visited Grenoble, back in December, the city was under a heavy blanket of fog and it was freezing; the second time around, the skies were blue and a heat haze smothered the mountains to the south. Encircled by three mountain ranges, Grenoble certainly lives up to the title plastered across all the postcards sold in the city. Capital of the Alps it is, undoubtedly. With the Parc Naturel Régional de la Chartreuse, the Parc Naturel Régional du Vercors and the Parc National des Écrins (along with its foothills, the Chaîne de Belledonne) to choose from, there’s no shortage of trails to hike in this region.