Having dragged the children up and down mountains for several days in a row, we thought best to find something a bit more relaxing to do – and discovered Lac de Passy (Lake Passy), a huge lake about 30-minutes’ drive from Chamonix centre with a man-made sandy beach open in July and August.
In Chamonix you’re obviously pretty far removed from being anywhere near the sea or a normal beach so this was a welcome experience – being able to lay out on the sand in the sun and swim in the giant natural lake, with its gently-sloping bed of sand making for safe, shallow and – when we were here at least on a hot sunny day – pleasantly warm swimming waters.
The stunning backdrop of Mont Blanc, mountains and hillsides all around you makes it all the more enjoyable an experience.
There’s a large car park, toilets and some decent facilities to allow you to enjoy a whole day here including a hut selling food, drink and ice creams.
When we were here they had a high platform with a huge, floating inflatable cushion you could leap on to as well as pedalos and small boats for hire.
The beach area has a large area of soft sand to lay your towels out on, or sun loungers if you want to pay for them.
The water is split in to areas that are ankle-deep and ideal for small children to splash around in – with deeper areas for proper swimming.
If lounging around on the beach isn’t your thing, there’s a long, flat footpath that runs all around the lake taking in the sights.
We spent virtually all day here and it was a welcome rest day from the more strenuous walking and climbing we’d got up to throughout the rest of the week – definitely well worth a visit if you’re in Chamonix but want a slight change of pace and scenery for a day.