Cheese Hiking in Semnoz, up in the French Alps

Cheese Hiking in Semnoz, up in the French Alps

Rob coined the term “cheese hiking” to perfectly describe the experience of trekking across high alpine wildflower meadows dotted with farmhouse fromage shops. Welcome to Semnoz! This was one of my favorite days of our whole trip.

Semnoz Cows

Semnoz is just 30 minutes drive from Annecy – up a steep cycling route that Rob would tackle on his bike later in the week. In the summer, it’s a hiking destination with sweeping views and lots of flowers. Apparently, the cows here eat over 400 varieties of wildflowers, all while chiming away with pretty cowbells around their necks. Everything is so green!

Wildflowers on Semnoz in France

In the winter, it’s a ski area with downhill, cross-country, snowshoeing and lots of fondue. These cows are a very specific French breed called “abondance,” used to make a very specific regional haute savoie cheese called Le Reblochon, which is used to make a very serious dish called tartiflette (which is delicious and you’ll ready about soon). There are several very serious pamphlets you can pick up about the whole process.

French cows in Semnoz

My camera didn’t come close to capturing just how many wildflowers were on these hillsides.

Semnoz wildflowers

Rob and I hiked around for about an hour through the different meadows and fields.

Hiking haute savoie

We picked a gorgeous spot with a view of Mont Blanc in the distance for our picnic. A spread of pasta salad, saucisson, reblochon cheese (of course), peaches and radishes.

Picnicking in Semnoz

That view! It was a shock each time I looked down and looked back up again!

Semnoz view of Mont Blanc

Time to re-stock our cheese supply at one of the many small dairy stores. Rob and I bought a block of reblochon and a package of fresh butter for about $3.

Semnoz dairy store

On the drive back, we pulled over for a view of turquoise Lake Annecy in the distance. Rob calls this look the “cute mummy.”

Overlooking Annecy Lake


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Website: EmilyStyle

I'm an adventurer and founder of a brand strategy studio. I'm so lucky to work abroad for a couple months each year. Weekly dinner parties and picking what to wear when I'm at home in San Francisco. I love a tough challenge, email [email protected] to reach me.