june 20th, 2010
The Reporter left the City of Light for Geneva, to rent a car and drive south into France to... Talloires. Talloires is on the lake of Annecy in Savoie. Savoie is the french area where the Alps are.
Now that we are all organized, let it be said that everything started this morning in Gare de Lyon.
She had her shoes on
The weather was awesome as ever, in fact she had seldom seen such wind before on her childhood lake
This is the little harbor from Talloires. Just so you know, Churchill thought this was the most beautiful bay in the world. Just so you know the Reporter didn't spend her childhood's summer on any bay.
Here is the regular boat stopping at the little dock, so that if you want to go to the large city of Annecy on the big lake, you can hop on and not use a car to drive 8 miles.
There is only one lake but slightly angled in what they call " Le grand lac" which is the large lake and " Le petit lac " which is the small lake. The small lake has way more charm. Talloires is of course on " le petit lac ".
because all readers are tremendously interested, here is the little dock where the Reporter learned at the age of 4 to swim. Shed a tear.
This is the rest of the harbor, note the old abbey turned into a chic hotel, which was way too chic for the Reporter's family to go to for twenty years every July. As an aside, a little part on the side has become a Tufts antenna. Like what's the idea to send students to study in the most beautiful bay of the world. I am asking you.
Behind the abbey you see up on the photo a mountain called " les Dents de Lanfon " or " the Teeth of Lanfon " which the Reporter, at the tender age of 12, climbed. Cause that's already what her grandfather at that age had done. And her older brother, and her older sister. Like perversity in families is not genetic.
Back to the hartbor, the dark house is the Auberge [ Inn ] du Pere Bise [ of the Father Kiss ]. It was so dark, you can click on the photo to see the Inn better. As an aside it is one the three stars restaurants in france. As a child, the Reporter was taken once a summer by her parents to go there for dinner. We would wear white dresses, [ not her brother though ] and ribbons in hair [ again not the brother ] and shiny shoes. We would eat religiously the " Omble Chevalier Meuniere " which is frankly like eating fish in paradise. Children would barely talk. Her dad would talk and tell really witty things, and everybody was petrified to spill something.
Here are pics of the place which is still the same forty years later :
Here is the terrace, usually it is warm and there are pale blue tablecloths on table. And the Reporter's parents in the thirties came paddling in a canoe to have a drink on the terrace one late afternoon, and there was the big steamboat which did the liaison with Annecy, the big city on the big lake, and steamboats make big waves, and the canoe capsized right in front of the terrace and the Reporter's father and mother were all dressed in white linen clothes, and the maitre d' jumped into the water and they came up all wet and everyone on the terrace applauded. There was a paragraph in the Talloires gazette the next day.
And here is the " debarcadere " or the landing where the damn steamboat comes and makes big waves
This is inside the landing and as you see, in Talloires today and yesterday, there was " Fete du Livre " or a Book Feast, which didn't exist when the Reporter was young. Which shows that lots of things can happen forty years later in the most beautiful bay of the world.
And then there is the timetable for the boat,
Then there is the little path, the " Chemin de la Ruaz " to go back to the hotel, and to the tennis
Then there is the shore
and the little cabin where you can change, and where they stock the beach mattresses in a cold day of June
And then last but not least, the house next to the hotel beach, is the " Maison Besnard." Mr. Besnard used to be a designer in the thirties, pretty well known, and did lots of props for the french cinema. The house is the most strange house on the lake. It has practically no windows on the lake side, but has a huge fresco that he himself painted...
He was a pretty awesome and original character. I remember being about 6 years old and going to this huge house with my parents for a drink in late afternoon. Mr. Besnard was very kind but his voice was as cavernous as his house.
The grown-ups would drink Lillet.
and here, behind the wall, is the house which now looks even more romantic since it is a little dilapidated
So this is a little of Talloires. Tonight there was a little dinner at l'Abbaye with friends that the Reporter used to have fun with forty years ago, and are the same giggling girls. There were some professors too as tomorrow, there is a lecture at the Tufts branch about Taine, a french philosopher. So, as with philosophers, there was lots of talks and lots of laughs, since there was a little wine. Now it's high time to let the lake sleep.
With love from Talloires,