The French Alps have had a slow start to the ski season, with Christmas holiday-makers in La Clusaz limited to just a few small ski areas. My visitors sought alternative entertainment, opting for the Titanic Exhibition in Geneva and the view from the top of La Salève (above), where paragliders were able to soar in the unseasonal mild conditions.
Less than 24 hours later, Geneva (on the left in the photo above) was covered in a snowy blanket, and the Savoie region of France ground to a halt. Roads to ski resorts were closed after midday. People had to abandon their cars and take overnight emergency shelter in town halls.
French news showed scenes of traffic jams, police putting chains on family cars, and cars that had slid off roads. Local newspaper Le Dauphine had loads of reports and pictures showing the standstill.
Here in La Clusaz, a trip back from Annecy yesterday — normally 35 minutes — took 2.5 hours. That’s not bad, actually. The two-minute car trip between Le Grand Bornand and St Jean de Sixt took a friend three hours.
I suppose I should eat my words about how well equipped France is compared with the UK. However, yesterday was probably the busiest day of winter on the roads, with Christmas guests leaving and New Year revellers arriving. Rather than eat my words, I’m about to consume some of that fresh snow before the new arrivals do!