Savoy to Piedmont 1773
We now came to a new place named Savoy, savage land of high rocks that reached right through the clouds. It was truly the most fearsome sight I ever saw in my life.
In the pre-Romantic era most travellers found the empty mountains, snow and ice of the Alps, a horrific prospect. Retracing Biddy’s route I travelled from Lyons up to Lake Annecy and on to Chamonix and Mont Blanc. There I was fortunate enough to glimpse Italy from the Aguille du Midi, the highest cable car in Europe at a vertiginous height of nearly 4000m.
The Grand Tourists were not so lucky, dreading their Alpine crossing into Italy. Carriages would be dismantled and passengers carried across the mountains in chairs carried by local mountain bearers.
In Savoy the sophisticated food of London and Paris was replaced by plain mountain food – cured meats, dried fruits and cheeses. Tartiflette, a dish made of local reblochon cheese was typical of the limited diet of remote areas and the unfamiliar foods many tourists complained of.