Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Lac de Champex

I love spending time next to a scenic lake, strolling along the water's edge whilst admiring the scenery, dipping my toes in the cool water on a hot summer's day and enjoying a nice picnic. Living on the edge of Switzerland's largest lake, Lac Léman, it's only natural that we often go there in the summer, heading to one of the lakeside towns such as Vidy, Vevey, Morges and Montreux.

This weekend, we decided to try somewhere different for a change, and went with friends to the Lac de Champex in Valais. Champex is a small village, but as with seemingly any lake in Switzerland, it has beautiful scenery.

It took about an hour and a half to get there from Bussigny, so it's not too long a drive for little kids to endure (although an hour and a half of listening to nursery rhymes and childrens' songs is pretty much the limit for parents). Parking was fairly straightforward, although not right next to the lake and it seemed to be in some sort of quarry...
As with all good lakes, there is a walking trail that goes all the way round. The Lac de Champex is not particularly big, so the entire trail is only a little over 1.5km, making it a great walk for young children that won't tire them out too much. For our little Lydia this was just about right. I think it was good that our friends' 3 year old boy was there as the two of them love running around together, seemingly spurring the other on to copy what they are doing. If Lydia was alone with us there she probably wouldn't have walked as much, instead preferring to be carried or sit in the pushchair.

In addition to the calm, clear waters of the lake, there are plenty of flowers and greenery for the nature fans, with a backdrop of mountainous hillside across the lake from whichever viewpoint you have.

We made it about half way round the lake when we came across a playground, so naturally the kids were happy.

The playground was right on the bank of the lake so we decided to have our picnic there, laying down our blankets and getting the food out. It turned out to be a great decision as we were able to enjoy our picnic in peace while the kids - having had their own fill of food - enjoyed the climbing frames and slides. The playground was fairly close to some public toilets, so if there had also been a little café/buvette nearby it would have been nearly perfect!

As we were picnicing right on the bank of the lake, we were even able to have a little apéro before we ate, dipping our feet in the refreshing water. Lydia enjoyed throwing some leftover bread to the ducks, who came almost close enough to touch. Admittedly they didn't get much bread, as Lydia decided to eat it instead of sharing it with our feathered friends, but it was still a nice little back-to-nature moment.

After lunch, and the end of playtime, we continued the walk around the lake. We stopped at a little restaurant for a refreshing drink and some ice cream, before casually making our way back to the car and heading home.

One thing I should note is that, like with all activities involving water, you have to keep an eye on the little 'uns. The path is right next to the water and although it is shallow on one side (allowing for paddling, as shown in the photo) the other side has a much deeper edge, so keep an eye on the kids when walking near the lake.

Lydia seemed to enjoy her day out as well. She is now a little over 26 months old, and I think she is getting to the age where she is starting to take more of an interest in the wider world around her. Ok, so she isn't marvelling at the glorious scenery or proclaiming how pretty nature is, but she is at least happy to see different coloured flowers and express her joy at seeing ducks and fish.

I'm hoping to get her interested in nature as I think that will come in handy for future walks in the forest in autumn and winter, when you can't really go outside to enjoy the weather.

All in all, it was a very pleasant day out.

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