Panorama Bike: Charmey-Les Paccots
Striking Gruyères Castle from the 11th century and the Lac de la Gruyère – the hallmarks of the region – can bee seen close-up on this tour. The route leads around the Moleson, over Alpine meadows and through forest to Les Paccots.
Without a care you take off early in the morning, follow the mountain bike signs directing you to Bulle, until you smell something unusual – not freshly mowed grass or flowers in bloom. You smell chocolate! The Panorama Bike route passes the Cailler chocolate factory, and you know it because your nose will tell you. Gruyère cheese is not this region’s only popular culinary export.
This area of the Fribourg Alps is also famous for the picturesque Lac de la Gruyère, whose south end is briefly skirted by the route. The next landmark then comes into view: Gruyères Castle, towering majestically on the hill above the pretty medieval town. Those planning a detour here should also be sure to visit the nearby HR Giger Museum, dedicated to the Oscar-winning «Alien» creator.
But the stage through the Gruyère region has even more to offer than a chocolate aroma, castles and ghastly science fiction creatures. Now you will circle Moléson mountain. The striking rocky peak stands alone, high above the Gruyère area, and for us it marks the gateway to the Lake Geneva region. A mix of single trails and gravel roads takes us through the lovely scenery, almost forgotten somehow and overshadowed by fashionable towns such as Montreux and Gstaad. With this kind of competition, the small village of Les Paccots is easily overlooked – but for us, it is a perfect ending of today’s stage on the Panorama Bike route.