We started with a detour to Dramelay. They say that about 30 people live here, but the only life form we encountered was a large black dog who wouldn't even bark as we walked by. That's how stifling the heat was. From the backside of Dramelay there's a communal trail that meanders up into the hills above the village to the ruins of an ancient chateau built at the beginning of the 13th century.
Before you reach the ruins (which we didn't - no map and the trail markings were slightly confusing) sits an equally ancient chapel.
The trail then leads from the chapel back down the hill through a dense forest where lichen hang from the trees in thick clumps like shaggy hair in need of a good cut. It's an enchanting place that belongs to another age, and we fully expected to hear the faint and peaceful whisperings of fairies or wood elves; that or the thunderous crashing of dinosaur stomping toward us.
Having a quiet lunch on the stone bridge above the stream.
From Dramely we headed north-east to visit the lakes: sinuous Lake Vouglans (see map below), Ilay, Narlay, Maclu, Bonlieu and the Herisson Falls.
We walked the trail (11 kilometers) that goes around the four
lakes seen here in the middle.
Small Maclu Lake
We swam in two of the four lakes along our walk despite the obvious "Swimming Forbidden" warning signs. My wife reassured me that the signs were posted more in the spirit of "No Lifeguard on Duty - Swim at Your Own Risk". In that case, the hundreds of others in the water that day were not doing so from that sometimes annoying propensity of the French to go against authority - they were just having a good time.
Here are three different views of the lakes from Eagle's Peak (993 meters).