We checked something incredible off our bucket list this weekend when we took a ride in a hot air balloon.
We organised the trip with Ballons du Léman who were really helpful and well coordinated which made the process really easy. We booked a Discovery Flight which last 4 hours in total from beginning to end with an hour of flying time.
We received confirmation the night before that the weather conditions were good and details of where we should meet so we dug our our warm clothes and set the alarm for an early start on Saturday.
We woke the children up for a quick breakfast and left the house at 6am for our rendez-vous point in Cossonay at 6.30. From there we were taken by mini bus to the launch site and watched as the team unpacked the balloons and got them ready for our flight. It was really interesting to watch the process and the children were really excited to see the flames firing into the balloon.
A few minutes before take off, we all climbed into the basket and installed Elio in his special seat. This was really great and he was so comfortable and well contained. The seat is adjustable so that those sitting in it can elevate themselves in order to admire the views like the rest of us which we thought was a great idea. It also meant that we could lower Elio if there was a bit too much wind or the sun in his face so it was really practical.
The take off was so gentle I almost didn’t realise we were in the air until I looked down. Neither Jean nor I have vertigo but we had expected to feel a bit nervous as we set off but I really didn’t at all. The basket feels so solid and the movements so gentle, it just felt really safe.
As we rose higher, the view stretched out beneath us and we could see the lake of Neuchâtel, forests and fields all around us. Alba had been quite worried about the ride the evening before but as soon as we got in the air she declared that she loved it and was no longer frightened. The team provided a little box for Jude and Alba to stand on so they could see well and Alba loved pointing out the things we could see from our birds eye vantage point.
The weather was perfect with sunshine, few clouds and only a light breeze but it was still quite chilly at 1'700m alt. so take a good jacket, hat, gloves and sunglasses so that you can enjoy this glorious journey in comfort. We had worried that Elio might get stressed and shout during the trip but in fact he was so calm, he actually fell asleep for quite a while which amazed us.
Laurynas, our pilot, was really calm, friendly and happy to answer all our questions. Ballons du Léman has also a GoPro which you can use for an instant to take an amazing picture of yourself in the air.
Towards the end of the flight, we drifted closer to earth and we really enjoyed being able to wave at people as they looked up at us, we could hear cow bells and Alba was excited to see some horses below.
I must admit I was a bit nervous about the landing as I imagined we would all end up sprawled on the grass but, like the rest of the ride, it was extremely smooth and gentle. Back on the ground and we helped pack the balloon away (actually I stayed with Elio while everyone else put the balloon away) and there was one more lovely surprise in store before we got back in the bus to take us back to our car. We won't tell you any more about it, you will have to discover the surprise for yourself :-).
We all agreed that this is definitely an experience to savour in life and something to try if you are able. Between the incredible views, the tranquility and the gentleness of the movement, it was one of the most beautiful things we have experienced and one that we will never forget. The chance to do these amazing things makes us feel so incredibly fortunate and the fact that we are making so many wonderful memories with our children fills us with joy.
Thank you again to the amazing team at Ballons du Léman for their amazing organisation, and the kind and friendly team who transported us and took such great care of us all.
Get 10% off your booking of a Discovery Flight with
Ballons du Léman until the 31.12.2022
Just apply the code TheFamilyOf5 at the check-out.
Ballons du Léman Sàrl
Champ Vionnet 8
For the Discovery Flight, the prices are the following:
370 CHF adult
199 CHF child
BALLONS du LEMAN has a basket designed to accommodate passengers with reduced mobility. It allows to go in and out through a suitable door. This basket also has a seat adjustable in height to make the most of the view.