Every year, Annecy's old town plays host to a not-to-be-missed event for fans of tradition, folklore and festivities: La Descente des Alpages! It celebrates the arrival of autumn and the return of the herds from the mountain pastures to the valley. This year, the Descente des Alpages will take place on Saturday 14 October from 9am to 6pm. We'll tell you a bit more...
The Alpine Descent in Annecy
The Descente des Alpages is a traditional event held in Annecy, particularly in the streets of the old town. It highlights the region's Alpine customs and heritage in a festive and convivial atmosphere. The descent in question refers to the return of herds of cows, goats and sheep from the mountain pastures to the valley in autumn - before the cold and snow arrive at altitude. This age-old practice, known as "désalpe", used to mark the end of summer and was a major event in the lives of the region's farmers.
An open-air show
Bronze bells, wreaths of flowers... the animals are adorned with traditional decorations. Local breeders and farmers are dressed in traditional costumes and guide the herds through the streets of the town, offering spectators a unique experience to(re)discover the cultural richness of the region.
Discovering local produce
During La Descente des Alpages, craftsmen and women showcase their skills in woodwork, copperwork, pottery and other local products: beer, Génépi, liqueur, wine, pastries and tartiflette... there's something for everyone! As well as tasting, this event also gives us the chance to try our hand at a number of traditional activities that have been handed down from generation to generation, such as cheese-making and wreath-making.
Ô Bon Bec tasting
To get into the Savoyard mood, head for the restaurant at the hotel Le Pélican****, just outside Annecy's old town, on Friday 13 October 2023! Creamy Reblochon, full-bodied Beaufort, savoury Tomme de Savoie, skilfully prepared Porcayou and 36-month matured Savoie cured ham, the "Retour des Alpages" cheese and charcuterie board is back for the weekend of La Descente des Alpages. To accompany these delights, we've selected two exceptional wines: Fabien Trosset's Mondeuse Arbin "Terre d'origine" 2021 and Domaine Jean-Claude Masson's Apremont "La Déchirée" 2022. The essential ingredients for sharing a convivial moment and celebrating the wealth of local culinary delights.
The Descente des Alpages in Annecy is a living celebration of the history, culture and natural beauty of Savoie and Haute-Savoie. It gives us the opportunity to immerse ourselves in a world of vibrant traditions and festivities. Whether you're a fan of folklore, a food enthusiast or simply looking for an authentic cultural experience, La Descente des Alpages is a not-to-be-missed event!
Please note that traffic in Annecy may be difficult on this day. Don't hesitate to get there by bike or bus.