Arriving on the train from Burgundy, we entered a part of France that was unfamiliar to us, and that was not even part of France until 1860 – the duchy of Savoy.
The land that is now the two departments of Savoie and Haute-Savoie was ceded to France by its former ruler, the king of Sardinia, in exchange for France’s help in the struggle to expel the Austrians from Italy and allow the formation of a unified Italian state.
There was a slightly Swiss feel about the countryside that we passed through – steep meadows, compact villages, herds of contented cows.
After a couple of days, during which the high meadows gradually gave way to vineyards, we came down to the Rhône, which was still young at this point, but already wide and majestic, with the milky tinge of glacial melt water from its source in the Alps.
We followed the river all the way from Seyssel to Yenne, and even beyond, sometimes on muddy little tracks beside the water and at other times high above in thick forest, or amongst the pampered vines of the Côtes du Rhône.
As to material comforts, we did very well. We camped every night (only once in squalor) and had a splendid restaurant meal and a fine French breakfast every day.
Day 2: Neydens to Frangy
Day 3: Frangy to Seyssel
Rest day: Seyssel
Day 4: Seyssel to Chanaz
Day 5: Chanaz to Yenne