It’s been five years since I started living in the Annecy region. The lake, mountains, and lush nature have shaped my days. Running, cycling, paddling, I’ve explored every nook and cranny, but something was missing. Something that tickled my curiosity every time I looked up at the sky. Yes, I’ve always wanted to fly over Lake Annecy, but I must admit that taking off from the Col de la Forclaz has always been a bit intimidating to me. This is where the Annecy Tourist Office comes into play, for which I am the proud ambassador, enabling me to live this great dream by offering me to take my “flight” (pun intended) and to try the adventure with Adrenaline Paragliding.
Taking off from the Col de la Forclaz
The Col de la Forclaz, the starting point of our flight, is a paragliding site renowned worldwide. Located at an
altitude of 1157 meters, it offers an exceptional panorama of Lake Annecy and the surrounding mountains. The take-off is from a well-maintained grassy area, slightly sloping to facilitate the run-up. The plunging view of Lake Annecy, bordered by the city and backed by verdant peaks, immediately sets the tone for the unique experience ahead.
What makes this site special is its microclimate. Indeed, the Col de la Forclaz benefits from ideal aerological conditions for paragliding. The thermal updrafts generated by the sunshine on Lake Annecy allow the paragliders to stay in flight, usually offering longer flight durations. In addition to its favorable aerological conditions, the beauty of the landscape is another reason why this site is so renowned. The contrast between the deep blue of the lake, the greenery of the mountains, and the bright sky creates a mosaic of vibrant colors, a true spectacle for the eyes.
This combination of optimal flying conditions and spectacular landscapes makes the Col de la Forclaz an exceptional place for paragliding.
Adrenaline Paragliding Annecy
There is a vast offering of organizations proposing paragliding flights in Annecy, departing from Col de la Forclaz. Adrenaline Parapente is among the most recognized entities, boasting a large team of professionals and various flying options. Adrenaline Parapente provides a range of paragliding experiences, suitable for all desires and all levels of experience. Whether you are looking for a gentle flight to admire the scenery, a more sportive adventure, or a combination of terrestrial and aerial activities, they surely have an offer that suits you.
For the youngest or those wishing a gentle introduction to paragliding, the “Special Child” and “Discovery” flights lasting 10 to 15 minutes are perfect options. For thrill-seekers, the “Sensations” flight of 15 to 20 minutes allows you to experience acrobatic maneuvers safely.
For those looking to spend more time in the air and explore thermal currents, the “Thermal” flight lasting 20 to 30 minutes, or the “Prestige” and “Prestige Plus” flights of 40 minutes to 1 hour are the options to prioritize.
Adrenaline Parapente also offers combined experiences, blending paragliding and other outdoor activities like hiking, climbing, or ski touring. These options allow you to discover the Annecy region from different angles, combining the pleasure of free flight and the joys of terrestrial exploration.
Being the great food lover that I am, I chose the “Apérobloch'” experience. This package combines a 15 to 30-minute flight with an aperitif at Col de la Forclaz. The flight took place under perfect conditions, and the aperitif with local products was an ideal way to extend the pleasure of the flight and savor the region’s specialties while enjoying the exceptional view.
My Paragliding Flight in Annecy
Come on, I’ll take you through a quick recap of this adventure! Our meeting point was set at Col de la Forclaz. It’s possible to park there (even though I realized on the spot that parking is now paid…nice). The Adrenaline Parapente team took us in a minibus to the takeoff site. Once there, I was handed a complete set of equipment, including a helmet for safety. The preparation was professional and meticulous, and each step was clearly explained. The weather was mild, ideal for a paragliding flight.
I must admit that at that point, a good surge of adrenaline (no pun intended) started to make itself felt. The Forclaz takeoff has always seemed quite steep and especially short to me, even more so when standing right in front of it! But well, the time had come. Guillaume, my guide, checked the equipment and the sail one last time. He explained the takeoff process: a few rapid steps, and then… the void.
I won’t hide that the first few seconds running towards the takeoff were filled with slight apprehension. Yet, as soon as the wind filled the sail and my feet left the ground, anxiety gave way to a much more powerful emotion: bliss! I could observe Lake Annecy as never before. The shimmering surface of the water, the imposing mountains, and lush forests that surround them: everything appeared in a new perspective, including the famous Tournette which I suddenly saw from another angle.
The flight itself lasted about thirty minutes, although the duration can vary depending on the aerological conditions. During the flight, Guillaume even allowed me to briefly take the controls – let’s be honest, that didn’t last too long, I was freaking out so much!
Then, upon arriving at Doussard, the shuttle took us back to the takeoff site at Col de la Forclaz. And, as I mentioned above, the experience did not end with the landing. The little extra from this paragliding jump with Adrenaline Parapente in “Apérobloch’” mode is that we returned to the takeoff place to savor local products from the farm at Col de la Forclaz. Tasting an aperitif at sunset facing Lake Annecy while admiring the last paragliders strolling between the sunbeams beautifully concluded this moment. To be savored: the reblochon, the tomme, the local wine, and apple juice, as well as the cured ham (well, not for me, eh).
If you too want to take a paragliding flight in Annecy
You can get information from the Tourist Office, and I can only recommend Adrenaline Parapente, whose team has been very attentive!
Choose your flight according to your preferences: Adrenaline Parapente offers several types of flights, from simple discovery to the “Apérobloch” experience. Personally, as it was not my first flight, I knew that apart from the takeoff into the air, I would “react” quite well. If it’s your first experience, maybe try a short flight to start.
Prepare well: Make sure to bring closed shoes, sunglasses, and dress according to the weather. Even in summer, it can be cool at altitude, so bring a jacket or a sweater and pants.
Choose your paragliding school carefully: I had an excellent experience with Adrenaline Parapente, but there are many other schools in Annecy. Look for reviews online, inquire about their instructors and their offers to make an informed choice.