Cascade de Berard was the lone waterfall on our France trip where we didn’t get to see it properly after hiking to it.
That was because access to the viewpoint where we could be face-to-face with it was forbidden and blocked. So all we could do was settle for disappointing views of the waterfall from the bridge over its top. We were even able to see the viewpoint below us across the stream where we should’ve been. Unfortunately, it didn’t appear we had a way of detouring there safely.
Yet despite this setback, we were able to enjoy some Alps scenery as the trail itself allowed us to get out and enjoy the beautiful snowy mountains that were surrounding us. Even as we hiked the 20-minute uphill trail, there were a pair of prominent peaks that constantly commanded our attention as they towered over the trail and the handful of mountain chalets we passed between.
Even on the drive to its trailhead, we were able to see Mt Blanc as well as the ski resort town of Chamonix along with its surrounding jagged peaks and glaciers.
Perhaps one of these days, we might be able to return here when the trail work is done. We did see a sign here that work is being done (since 2008) to improve access to that side.
We drove here from Cascade d’Arpenaz along the autoroute A40. We followed this route towards Chamonix-Mt Blanc where the autoroute eventually became La Route Blanche (The White Route) as it approached Chamonix while ceasing to be an autoroute (note: we did NOT take the Mt Blanc tunnel crossing into Italy).
At that point, the road became D1506 due north (headed towards Martigny in Switzerland) going through a pass before descending towards a train station at Le Buet. This train station was where we could park the car and start the hike for Cascade de Berard, which started right across the road from the train station’s car park.
The falls belongs to the Haute-Savoie department of the of the Rhône-Alpes region, and it is very close to the Swiss border. Meanwhile, the Chamonix-Mt Blanc town is very close to the Italian border. Indeed, being here felt like we were on the mountainous frontiers of eastern France.
For geographical context, Chamonix was 101km (around 90 minutes drive) east of Annecy, 82km (over 60 minutes drive) southeast of Geneva, and 223km (about 2.5 hours drive) east of Lyon. The city of Lyon was 466km or at least 4.5 hours by car from Paris. However, we used the very fast and efficient TGV (high speed train or le train a grande vitesse), which wound up taking around 3 hours to cover this stretch between the two major cities.
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