Shore Thing; Travel; 60 SECOND GUIDE TO YVOIRE, FRANCE
Byline: BRIDGET MCGROUTHER
Yvoire, on the shores of Lake Leman (better known as Lake Geneva), is one of the most beautiful villages in France. Protected by medieval walls, its narrow streets wind to the harbour past historic architecture and dazzling flower displays. In summer, it's packed with visitors but in quieter autumn, golden leaves are reflected on the water.
Little and Large
Its strategic position on a steep hillside between the "small lake" and the "large lake" didn't escape the notice of Count Amedee V the Great when he built his castle in 1306. The ramparts and fortified gateways have been miraculously preserved, while the shiny, onion–shaped steeple of St Pancras Church adds to the stunning Savoyard skyline.
Come to your senses
Open April to October, le Labyrinthe Jardin des Cinq Sens has now been restored in medieval style and activates all five senses in its maze of aromatic herbs, fountains, vegetables, fruit and flowers.
Called a "Remarkable Garden" by the French Ministry of Culture, you're invited to smell, touch, look at, listen and even taste some of the 1300 plants.
The best views of Yvoire and the majestic mountain backdrop are from Lake Leman. Boats such as the silent, solar–powered Aquarel or the magnificent paddlesteamers of the CGN give regular cruises around the French and Swiss lakeside towns.
Bonkers about conkers?
Chestnut trees that are hundreds of years old grow in the Rovoree–La Chataigniere, a protected nature area. It can be reached on foot along the greenway from Yvoire or by sailing on the sun–shuttle in summertime. Set 24 acres of woods and meadows, Chestnut Manor hosts art exhibitions.
Tour de France
You don't need to be Bradley Wiggins to enjoy the many cycling routes that hug the lakeside and climb the mountain passes. Maps are available from the tourist board (www.savoie–mont–blanc.com) that show cycleways, distances and abilities from family to athletic.
Lap it up
Shopping is a pleasure browsing the many boutiques, galleries, jewellers, craft shops and delis selling delicious local produce such as wine, cheese, lake fish and charcuterie. …