Annecy XC Flying

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Flying Cross-Country from Annecy & the Northern French Alps

For basic orientation and tips for accomodation etc, see my Annecy-Intro-Page !
Annecy with it's wonderful panorama is certainly one of the most picturesque spots in the
world for free-flying. Generations of pilots have made their first XC-attempts and the area
is great for hopping around from hill to hill in many directions.  But because both big take-offs are facing North-West, it is more suited to the relaxed holiday-pilot that wants to sleep long in the mornings and comes to take-off around 1PM.  
-> This page is mainly dedicated to the XC-Pilot that want more than the traditional Tour-Du-Lac around the lake.
IIt also shows other nearby takeoffs and opportunities for bigger triangles in the region.

from Annecy (Planfait / Forclaz)

Extra (for local buddies)

other Takeoffs nearby

Chartreuse and the South

Tips / Links




  • Please read the orientation chapter of my Annecy-Intro-Page first!
  • The classics: Patrice Bailly wrote his guide XC Flying around Annecy some years ago and  it is still very inspiring with a step-by-step foto  guide to XC-Flying.  So as there is alrady a very thorough guide available I don't intend to duplicate his work.  My page here
     should serve a quick-start collection to gain the  most important knowledge fast.

  • The region and the mountain ranges: When you talkt to local pilots
    about flying XC you should know where the most important cities
    and ranges are. The 2 pictures on the right help you with that.
    Some Highlights:
    • The Roc-des-Boeufs is a great beginners adventure:
      The first time it might seem scary how low you arrive, but the valley
      wind pushes you up that ridge and puts a smile on your face.
      Crossing back is easy as you will see below.
    • The Parmelan is practically a sure bet for an XC-crossing:
      Although the corner can be bumpy it usually works quite well.
    • the Aravis-Chain is like a Paragliding Highway once the snow
      has mostly melted: Usually starting in May it works reliably.
  • NEWS: This year there is a new "Annecy XC Challenge" announced:
    It is open to all pilots: all you have to do is start at Planfait or Forclaz
    Check out the picture to the right for more details!
    -> For longer distances you will need an early start-> check tip below.

the region

 Mountain Ranges


Annecy: Mini- "Tour du Lac"

The "Tour du Lac" is the classic tour that most visiting paragliders hope to do if they have a little interest in flying Cross Country. On good days it should be no problem to cross the lake even with an LTF-1 / EN-A glider.  If you are uncertain, just wait until you see a number of other pilots soar up on the other side of the lake on the "Roc des Boeufs" ridge. You can reach the tip of this ridge *very* low and still soar up.

To come back, build up altitude on the ridge. If you are quite high and have a good wing, it is not a challenge to go straight back to Forclaz, or even Planfait. On a bad day, and if you are in doubt, use a trick: follow the ridge north using it's slightly lifting effect  until you get more sink, then cross the lake with a slight turn to the right towards Rovagny (aim for the prominent rocky spot here). This minimizes the risk of having to fight against the valley wind, which you might have when crossing too far south trying to reach Forclaz. 

The Panorama while crossing the lake is breathtaking, check out the cool 360 degree VirtualReality panorama of Tristan Shu



Annecy: "Tour du Lac Deluxe" - 50Km FAI

If you are a little more ambitious, the next step up is to include the neighboring ridges Parmelan to the north and Semnoz to the west in the loop and pay a visit to the highest mountain in the valley: "La Tournette"

The crossing to the Parmelan ridge is straightforward: collect as much altitude over the "Dents de Lanfon" as possible and approach the corner that is in view. Try to reach it with a little left-curve, as the valley-breeze causes a lee on the right side.
You can reach the ridge low, and soar up. Note that the corner-thermal can be quite turbulent on some days!

Tour Deluxe


Annecy: 100Km FAI: Arclusaz / Pt.Percee

This 100Km FAI Triangle is the first step to leaving the "fish-bowl" around Annecy:
  • Cross over to the Roc de Boeuf
  • turn around on the Dent de Arclusaz
  • up to the Aravis
  • and back home -> Flying over Thon against the valley wind can often be
    a bit tricky: Learn from Tom's flight: Jump onto one of the 2 lower ridges and soar up.
  • Flight example 1  and Variant, both of Tom Payne on XContest
  • XC-Planner

100Km from Annecy



Bisanne 123Km FAI

This is a lesser know site, but the orientation to the SE and the ridge towards Mont-Joly in the right exposure make it a good starting point.
  • This triangle can be easily stretched to 140Km FAI ( here in XC-Planner),
    but that is about the end.
  • at an altiude of 1941m the snow covers this takeoff longer in the spring.
  • Google-Earth track
  • Variation by Tom Payne: 120km The les Saisies Classic  



Starting early in Annecy

As said above, the takeoffs facing NW are not ideal for early starts.
But the idea to get around this is simple:  you can either start in Entrevernes,
or cross the lake from Forclaz and thermal up on the Entrevernes ridge.


Meruz / Marlens: 230 Flat

This flight of Damien de Baenst is actually what brought me back to XC flying after a break of 3 years where I focussed fully on competition flying. I like this route, because it is straightforward and you get to see a lot of the region:

  • Meruz is a private Take-Off of Patrick Berod : Please do not use it without his
    explicit permission. You can probably find him in his Auberge des Aravis in Marlens.   If you cannot reach him, you can use the official takeoff in Marlens as an alternative. Meruz is better as it works even earlier.
  • The route along the South-East facing ridge from Meruz down the Isere Valley is ideal to get you going early in the morning.
  • Once you have been in Grenoble the sun is already a bit to the west, so you have 2 sides that the Chartreuse ridge will be working on.
  • Crossing back near Chambery is easy with enough altitude, but the valley wind from the north can make it tough when you are low: Gain as much alti as possible before you cross.
  • The ridges in the Bauges up to Annecy are like a highway: I got an average of 40Km/h over one hour up to the Parmelan ridge.
  • Now hurry to catch the last sunrays hitting the Aravis chain! If you are too late, and there are no clouds over the Aravis you can also return via Annecy and Tournette. 
  • Flight of Damien: 215Km Flat
  • Waypoints in CompeGPS format
  • XC-Planner



Ugine (Meruz): 230-260Km FAI

The following flights have not yet been done.
These projects are the biggest FAI-Triangles I can see as realistic for a fast pilot.
  • The first part is again straightforward: south towards Grenoble.
  • Then the 2 legs come that haven't been flown much so far.
    I have drawn a suggested route into the pictures in the right, following the Skyways-Tracks of flights that were already on the XC-Servers.
  • 260Km in the XC-Planner

Variant 240Km

Topo 230Km


Chamonix - 180Km FAI

This flight is anenhanced version of the  170km "Pierre Boullioux Classic"
as Tom Payne has called it. "The limiting constraints are the 4000m+
mountain range behind Cham and the CTR vs geneva. This more or less
fixes the lower turnpoint in a very exact spot on the Dent d'Arclusaz.



St Hilare: 75km FAI "Lunchtime Flight"

This is the classic FAI Triangle that you can fly from St. Hilaire on an avrage day:
  • Down to Grenoble and up the Aravis chain
  • up on the other side
  • and back home.
  • XC-Planner

Overview w Skyways



St Marcel - 215Km FAI

This is a great flight from Jacques Fournier:
  • He starts his FAI Triangle from St Marcel, and the early sun on that SE-ridge allows an good morning start.
  • He crosses into the Vercors and than back to the Taillefer.
  • Here is his flight on XContest






Serpaton 260Km Flat

A great flight from Guy Parat.





The Airspaces are luckily normally not a big issue in Annecy and the region:
They are nicely aligned in the flatland so that the mountains can be flown without much problem. Just be careful when you cross towards Semnoz that you don't fly over the city too much as downtown is already in the CTR.

There is a No-Fly zone on the east side of the Bauges National Park as you can see in the official overview document. Just stay off the plateau there  
(here in the forum are more detailed pictures)

Here you can download the restricted areas for your GPS or to view them in GE:



Tourist Office

Detail: Annecy City