So here is the story easy and clear: we now have to deal with a little third person in our life, a constant chaotic happiness called Cesare! Travelling in the first two months of his life seemed impossible but our new life also kind of felt like drowning in a little tiny baby pool which made us say: “It’s time to go!”
And that is how our beautiful journey in this little gem of the Savoy region in France started! We had a great opportunity to work with Aix les Bains Riviera des Alpes tourism board to craft us a fabulous family trip to this city famous for its thermal baths and we enjoyed every second of our stay.
At the beginning of June we packed our things, left the baby at home and…. of course not! The little prince had his moment of glory during this trip but that will be revealed as you go on reading this amazing report by an Italian who also tries to be funny.
As I was saying, we packed our van – yes, Freckles is back! – and we went on something that felt like a little road trip!
First thing that caught my eyes after the 1.5hrs ride from Grenoble was the view of the vast lake in the last part of our ride…. It felt perfect, mountains and lakeside, and I could tell I was going to enjoy this trip!
Day 1 in Aix les Bains
Staying at the Hotel des Eaux
We made it to the hotel by midday, and our suite was ready at the Hotel des Eaux. It was absolutely perfect, beautifully decorated, very practical – the baby bed was already set up – and the room was totally silent. We couldn’t have expected better than this.
Can I get a permanent residency here?
This suite has been our little castle for a couple of days, peacefulness and comfort combined to a perfect breakfast buffet to boost our days!
Aix les Bains city center is rather humanly-sized, and everything was within walking distance of the hotel.
That helped us a lot since it rained on our first day there and we completely forgot to bring an umbrella (I mean we did say “let’s take an umbrella”, and then forgot about it. Life of young parents I guess…).
Tip: If you’re in the same situation, the tourism board shop does sell umbrellas (and we now own one – they’re a gorgeous blue).
Just by the square where the town hall and the tourism board are located and where we were to start our first activity of the trip, we found a nice tea house called La Potinière where they had a vegetarian salad that was actually vegan. It was huge and we didn’t have time to finish, but at least we had some more energy for our visit.
Guided tour: Aix les Bains during the Roman Empire
Did you know that this area was once part of the great Roman Empire?
Well, we got thrown back in history and went to discover what my ancestors brought in terms of architectural design and I was happy to learn so much about it! We visited first the ruins of the original Thermal baths, followed by an explanation about the Campanus arch and the Temple of Diana, which was turned into a “museum” where some Roman artefacts and statues are kept.
Our tour guide made this visit even greater as she was not just telling a storyline, she was interacting with us at all time!
And the baby? Well, picture this: Cesare’s first conquering campaign in France was made of sleep, sleep, sleep….. I mean check us out: me wearing a ring sling wrapped like an ancient Roman with my son Cesare in a French Roman region….. This could have been a commercial!
Italian food for diner at Le Passé
Once the tour was over we got back to our hotel, and went to get some (why not?) Italian food! We went at a place called Le Passé that we had seen on our way to the guided tour. They have some pasta dishes which should definitely be vegan, so it worked for Alice too. It’s a rather homely place, favored by locals (a good half of the customers were clearly regulars, friends with the staff).
Day 2 – A day by the Lac du Bourget (Lake Bourget)
We started our second day very early, by taking care of Cesare who was a bit confused at not sleeping in his own bed, and then packing on energy by eating a good breakfast at the hotel. By 12 we were already by the lakefront, eating while being kissed by a beautiful sun. Finally, nature at its best! It felt so rejuvenating, so calming to finally take a breath and enjoy ourselves as a family in a beautiful setting.
Commented cruise on the Lake Bourget
Once our stomach was full, it was time to go on a cruise on the Lake Bourget with the Compagnie des Bateaux. And let me tell you… after 5 minutes we were already discussing how to move there!
Imagine one of the largest lakes located entirely in France, surrounded by mountains where you can go and ski in winter (actually not too far there is a glacier for summer skiing), and where during the warm season you can choose to do any kind of nautical activity you want. Imagining kayaking on this lake to discover all of its natural beauty… or finding a secret beach to spend a glorious and lazy afternoon… Or you could also decide to make a stop at the Hautecombe abbey, standing tall above the water…
And what did our baby do? Well I guess you know the answer: sleep!
After the cruise the day was still beautiful and it was hard to leave this heavenly place so we sat on a bench facing the lake and Alice nursed Cesare for a while. The baby cried for a couple minutes after putting him in his car seat, but who would be happy to leave this place?!
An evening walk in Aix les Bains city center
In the evening we were pretty spent so we went to walk in Aix les Bains city center and ate at the first Japanese place we found before walking back to the hotel and try to all go to bed.
Day 3 in the Riviera of the Alps: Wellness at its best
Sport for mummy and spa for baby
On the third day of our trip to Aix les Bains, the prince had his reward for being a real little explorer already: an entire baby spa session at one of the only place offering this in France: Bébé Bulle et compagnie.
Alice started by doing some exercises specifically thought for mothers, and doable with a baby. She only tested a couple of moves with Cesare though, because he spent most of the session sleeping on me.
And then the doors of pleasure and bubbles opened for what has been one of the most bonding experiences so far with the kid.
Inside a warm room stood his little spa bathtub and after being given instructions and putting him in a bathing suit, he got to experience the spa, as his mother had done with him in her belly a few months earlier in Alpe d’Huez.
Laying down in the warm water – held by us – we turned on the relaxing lights, then the bubbles at his feet, and finally the bubbles at his back.
After he enjoyed his little baby jacuzzi, I used the baby moisturizing balm (locally made with great products) to massage his tiny body before dressing him back and leaving his den of relaxation.
Did the treat finished here? Absolutely not. Some organic tea, coffee and sweets were waiting for the grown ups so we could debrief about this surprising and very enjoyable experience!
It was unfortunately time to go home, but this trip couldn’t have ended in a better way.
A great thank you to Aix Riviera des Alpes for crafting such an amazing family trip for us, to Hotel des Eaux for hosting us, to the Compagnie des Bateaux for the dream cruise and Bebe bulle et compagnie for offering us such a cute moment. As always, we only offer you our honest opinion on the activities and services offered during this trip.