The Parmelan is an imposing limestone plateau which rises to an altitude of 1,832 metres. It is part of the Bornes massif and is set back from Mont Veyrier. The large cliffs that surround this mountain are a well-known feature of the Annécian landscape.
An emblematic mountain of Annecy
It is a beautiful hike to walk on the limestone plateau of Parmelan. The ground is made of cracks, chasms and faults called lapiaz. Therefore, when it is foggy, this hike is not recommended. These geological curiosities are caused by water running off the rock.
Access to the mountain is impossible in case of snow, as the roads are closed.
At the top of Parmelan, you will find a refuge open from mid-May to mid-September, belonging to the French Alpine Club. It is a large hut, which allows you to take a break at the end of the hike, to drink and eat Nepalese food (reservation required) and even to spend the night.
How to reach the Parmelan summit?
- The easiest way is to park at the chalet de l’Anglettaz (pronounced “de l’Anglette”) from the village of Aviernoz (pronounced “d’Aviernoz”). The path is a very steep, unsealed mountain road.
- The Grand and Petit Montoir roads allow you to reach the plateau in summer only, as the snow can make the path slippery. Access is from Villaz along the Parmelan forestry road.
To access the plateau and make this nice family outing, the departure is from Villaz at the end of the road. The difference in altitude is 675 metres. The vegetation is made up of fir and pine trees. The best period is from mid-June to October depending on the snow conditions. In case of rain, the climb should be postponed as the ground can be very slippery on the slopes. The duration of the excursion is 2 hours to go and 1.5 hours to return by the same route.
The loop on the plateau
If you choose to do the loop on the plateau, it takes 2 hours and 15 minutes. The Grand Montoir includes a difficult passage with cables, and should be avoided by children and people who are prone to vertigo. The Petit Montoir path is recommended. The lapiaz on the plateau can hide holes, you must be very careful, especially with children. The path has many stones, mountain shoes are recommended. In summer, it is better to leave early to avoid storms.
We recommend the following hikes: the big loop on the plateau which crosses the Grotte de l’Enfer and the glaciers (big cavity). The Pertuis trail which follows the ridge of the Parmelan is also a beautiful route.
The Parmelan refuge
This refuge is ideal for a morning excursion and to discover the different hiking routes. It is an opportunity to make a two-day family excursion. It belongs to the French Alpine Club. Built in 1883, it has a basic comfort which makes its charm and conviviality. The wardens offer local and exotic cuisine that is well worth a visit. The building is on the edge of the cliff, with a magnificent view of the Annécien basin. Accommodation is in dormitories for 2 to 18 people. Opening period: from the end of May to mid-September.