Few people know it, but paragliding was invented in 1978 in Mieussy, a town in the Haute-Savoie region of France, about an hour’s drive from Annecy. It was created to make the ultimate human dream possible: to fly. Three parachutists from the Annemasse club were the first to take off from the Pertuiset hill (Mieussy).
To feel the sensation of being free in the air and to be able to fly in complete calm and enjoy a breathtaking view of the surrounding landscape. The creation of paragliding (from a parachute canopy) came about in order to provide this feeling of freedom to those who wish to venture into the air.
Credits: Xavier Murillo, “La folle histoire du parapente”
So why so much paragliding in Annecy?
1. The living environment
Known as the Venice of the Alps, Annecy offers a pleasant living environment thanks to its natural setting between lake and mountains. The city and its surroundings offer a splendid natural panorama, which allows citizens to take a break and enjoy the fresh air in the middle of its green spaces. For the panoramic view from the Col de la Forclaz and the geographical location of the city, Annecy is without doubt the city of paragliders. The city of flights and baptisms leaving each person amazed by the picture of the lake and the mountains seen by the eye of a bird
2. An unrivalled microclimate!
Lake Annecy enjoys a microclimate that allows you to fly 300 days a year over the lake. The wind is moderate and the thermals are abundant, which creates perfect conditions for taking off. The take-off areas are very accessible and clear, and the abundant vegetation creates safe and pleasant landing areas.
3. The colours
In addition to this perfect harmony between this discipline and the aerological context, the site of Annecy and its lakefront gives a wonderful spectacle. It is interesting to observe the border between the mountain and lake which is very visible. This landscape containing a mixture of green, blue or white (when the snow is still present on the summits), will make these flights unforgettable moments.
These rather exceptional characteristics make this site a must for paragliders from all over the world. Most pilots prefer to fly from the Col de la Forclaz, given the natural setting of the small villages around. In terms of flying, with a favourable and sunny climate, passengers are able to have a clear view of Mont Blanc, which is located 57 kilometres from the town.
There are several take-off areas around Lake Annecy. On the east side of the lake, sites such as the Col de la Forclaz mentioned above and Planfait offer a sumptuous panorama accessible to beginners and more experienced pilots. For a more technical launch, go to the east side of the lake, to Entrevernes which has many trees on the launch area. To the north of the lake, the Grand Bornand and La Clusaz ski lifts allow you to take off at altitude. To the south of the lake, you can find easily accessible peaks in the Massif des Bauges Regional Natural Park which are a real playground for paragliders.
Finally, it is possible to take off from the Semnoz, if the conditions do not allow you to go into the high massifs, by leaving the take-off zones on the banks of the lake.
These sites are summarised in our top 5 article!
”As you can see, flying over Lake Annecy has its advantages, which many amateurs, instructors, aerobatics enthusiasts, beginners and professionals take advantage of to make the best possible flight.Quentin & Nada