Top 3 of the most beautiful waterfalls less than 2 hours from Lyon !
Rhône-Alpes is full of beautiful spots! When I used to live in Lyon I loved to take my van and escape for a weekend or even a day. That’s how I discovered these amazing waterfalls. I don’t know what I have with waterfalls, lakes, the sea, but I need water around me to feel good. No wonder I moved to the southwest, by the ocean.
Every time I go somewhere, I always look for a lake or waterfalls nearby. Call me the waterfall hunter!
I let you discover here my Top 3 of the most beautiful waterfalls I discovered, less than 2 hours drive from Lyon and 1 hour or 2 from Chambéry. Some are even accessible by train (with a bit of walking, of course)! No more excuses to stay lazy this weekend. Go for adventure!
1 – Hike to the Cirque de Saint-Même to admire these stunning waterfalls
I put it in Number 1 because I love this kind of mystical place that makes you enjoy landscapes of rare beauty, even within the national nature reserve of the Hauts de Chartreuse.
The Cirque de Saint-Même is located 900m above sea level in the town of Saint Pierre d’Entremont. It offers magnificent views of the waterfalls dominated by gigantic limestone cliffs of 500m. The waters come from springs of Guiers Vif which is on the border between Savoie and Isère.
It wasn’t sunny the day I went, I even caught the rain. But I love this kind of atmosphere when the fog that comes up the side of the mountain clings to the trees. With the view of beautiful waterfalls, it was splendid. Unfortunately, and this will make you laugh, I forgot the SD card from my camera on the computer. So I had the camera to take the pictures, but I didn’t have the SD card to record. I quickly realized that, but can you imagine my face? Annoyed. I remain positive, I have my phone and especially my memory. And clearly this moment, will remain engraved.
The hike starts with a very nice bridge that takes you on the trails.
I advise you to take the «trail of waterfalls» which offers a loop of 1h30 to make the most of this absolutely grandiose place. You will have no trouble finding your way, the paths are very well marked.
Another 30-minute loop is also available («The back of the circus and the Piss du Guiers waterfall»), if you don’t want to walk too much while enjoying the beautiful waterfalls. It is ideal for a family walk in an unusual way.
Access and practical information :
Location : Cirque de Saint Même, 73670 Saint Pierre d’Entremont, Savoie, France
1h50 by car from Lyon, 50 minutes from Chambéry.
Paid parking every Saturday, Sunday and public holidays from 16 April to 10 July, every day from 11 July to 11 September, every Saturday and Sunday from 12 to 25 September .
For the rest of the year, parking is free.
4.50€ for a car or motorhome, 2.50€ for a motorcycle and 15€ for a car.
You can enjoy a huge meadow with views of the circus to picnic at the feet of this grandiose circus.
2 – Cascade de la Brive, Marchamps
For a change of scenery at only 1h30 from Lyon and Grenoble and 1h15 from Chambéry.
It deserves a place in the top of the ranking. I admit that the choice was difficult.
If you live near Lyon and you have never been there then I strongly advise you to remedy it!
In addition to seeing magnificent waterfalls in turquoise water you can take a sumptuous walk in the forest, at the water’s edge. It gives the impression of an enchanted forest. With the sunlight piercing through the leaves of the trees, the sound of running water and the singing birds, it’s very bucolic.
Throughout the walk, you will come across these paradisiacal waterfalls (3 exactly) of which 2 are worthy of Balinese decor with flamboyant greenery and crystal clear water. The latter is much colder than in Bali but it is a real pleasure to swim when the temperatures are hot. Some even jumped from the top of the great waterfall!
I really loved this place and the energy it brings.
Access and practical information :
Location : Marchamps, Ain.
Park in the parking lot of the cemetery of Marchand then walk along the church and take the path that descends into the valley. The small downside is the path to the waterfalls is not indicated (at least not when we went there). You have to take a small path that goes down to the left of the road when you go down.
I make it clear because when we went there, we looked for a moment before finding the small path and we were not the only ones, other people were in the same case. It got us a lot of laughs. Fortunately we finally found it!
Duration : About 1 hour return from Marchamps
Level : Easy but better in sneakers.
Remember to take a towel if you want to swim.
For the most valiant, there is an alternative with a 4h hike from Cérin.
And I keep reminding, but I always find garbage in my way. It is essential to pay attention to the ecosystems around us. The least you can do is respect the place and take all your waste with you.
3 – Cascade de Glandieu
It is Sunday, the weather is fine and the day was expected to be hot in Lyon, I decide, with a friend, to take the road to discover the waterfall of Glandieu.
It is located in the town of Bregnier Cordon. It is a superb waterfall whose water springs from more than 60 meters high. It is very easy to access because close to the road.
When I went there, there were few people, so we were able to enjoy the waterfall to the maximum and even soak a little in fresh water. Salvator during the heat wave.
My friend told me he felt like he was in Thailand for a moment. It is true that this greenery with this magnificent waterfall completely changes scenery. We really do not feel like being elsewhere!
If you want to do a little walking, there are 2 marked trails: :
Le sentier de l’eau :
Average duration : 2h45
Distance : 7,5 km
Elevation gain : 225 m
Difficulty : Middle, there is a part with a relatively steep climb.
Start : N 45.648194° / E 5.621305°
Le Mont de Cordon :
At the top, at the Belvedere du Mont de cordon, located at the foot of the hamlets of Cuchet and Cordon, you can admire a magnificent panorama overlooking the villages of Izieu and Brégnier Cordon, as well as the Château de la Barre which dates from the 15th century and part of the plain of the Rhone and its forests.
Average duration : 2h45
Distance : 7,4 km
Elevation gain : 252 m
Difficulty : Middle
Start : N 45.637765° / E 5.622067°
By car : 1 hour from Lyon, 40 minutes from Chambéry
By train : 1 hour from Lyon Part Dieu train station (stop « Rue de la mairie » in Brégnier Cordon)
Location : Bregnier Cordon
Parking is available a few hundred meters from the waterfall. On site restaurants and breweries to eat or refresh you after your walk. I recommend the restaurant « Quand on sème ». The village is very small you can not miss it 😉