Between 8-29 September 2007 we decided to go off for 3-weeks to Aix-les-Bains, a small spa town in the foothills of the French Alps - or more precisely the French National Thermal Baths in Aix-les-Bains.

Let us first look at the town of Aix-les-Bains. The town is situated on the side of the Bourget lake, in the French region called the Savoie, and is said to have a nice warm-sunny microclimate. Bourget is France’s largest natural lake, is about 18 km long and 2.5-3.5 km wide (145 m deep and contains around 3,600 million cubic meters of fresh water; about the same quality as consumed by France annually), and appears to mix nicely both nature and all sorts of nautical sports. Aix-les-Bains is a small town (26,000 people) that has retained something of its “Victorian” past (the old town near the thermal baths), but has more recently developed a younger and more modern presence near the lake (port de plaisance and holiday homes). In fact the old town (and thermal baths) is situated about 2-3 km’s from the lakeside, and is dominated by curistes (around 35,000 mostly-elderly people go to the thermal baths annually). Between the old thermal baths and the lake, the town has developed a residential and holiday area. It is clear that the lakeside activities target a much younger population (presumably from Lyon which is short drive away) that enjoys camping, sailing, lakeside jogging, etc. In fact the town offers different type of packages for remise en forme, bien-être, balnéo, fishing, water skiing, and golf.

The town is pleasant for an afternoon walk (they claim that they plant in the towns parks 4 million flowers/year), and the lake is nice for an afternoon tourist trip on one of the tour boats.

Our 1st week was crowned with fine sunny weather (>25°C), but it rained early in the 2nd week and the temperature dropped quite quickly. The latter part of the 2nd week and the early part of the 3rd week were again nice, but our stay terminated with a bout of colder rainy weather (dropping well below 18°C in the daytime) that felt as if it was heralding-in the autumn (they even announced snow at 1400m).