Annecy is one of the most photographed towns in France – and with good reason. Placed at the foot of the wooded and snow-capped Alps and lying at the tip of a startlingly turquoise lake, this little town is home to a natural paradise. On top of its phenomenal backdrop, the Vielle Ville is incredibly pretty. Known as the Venice of Alps, this picturesque town is dissected by small canals and streams running out to the Lac Annecy. Dating back to the 14th century, this medieval wonder still has its cobbled streets, pastel-daubed houses, turreted castle and old prison.
À voir :
La Vielle Ville: While on a summer’s day you might want to rush straight to the gorgeously blue lake, Annecy’s old town is a must-see. Wind down alongside the canal before wandering around the town’s photogenic jumble of narrow cobbled streets. It’s worth taking time to admire the pastel-coloured houses and to rummage around the cute boutiques.
Palais d’Isle :
This little castle built in 1132 is in the centre of the Thiou canal. Originally the residence of Lord Annecy, it has since had various roles in the town before becoming a prison in the Middle Ages. The town’s landmark now houses a local history museum.
Lakeside & Pont des Amours:
After exploring the old town, continue down to the Jardins de l’Europe and the lakeside. During the summer the Champs de Mars becomes a popular picnic spot for both locals and visitors. Make sure you cross over the iconic Pont des Amours which has no padlocks weighing it down unlike its counterpart in the French capital.
Lac Annecy : This strikingly turquoise natural lake is Annecy’s main attraction. Its water is one of the purest in Europe, something which the habitants of Annecy work hard to maintain and are very proud of. The wide range of water and mountain activities available attracts hordes of holiday-goers. A boat trip is the best way to see the lake and its surrounding mountains in their full glory. Sadly my pictures do not capture their sheer magnificence.
Château d’Annecy: While going inside the town’s old castle is not a must – especially if you are only in Annecy for the day – it is worth trekking up the small hill to take a look.
Plage d’Annecy-le-Vieux : If you have time, walk along the lakeside over to Annecy-le-Vieux. Independent in its own right, this commune has one of the cleanest beaches in France and neighbours the region’s towering mountains.
Neighbouring Geneva, Annecy’s specialities are fondue and tartiflettes. The town is home to lots of quaint cafés and restaurants serving traditional dishes. Whilst dinner by the canal or lakeside may seem like a wonderful idea, these restaurants are often tourist traps with prices to match – it’s better to stray away from the canal into some of the smaller streets for a good-value quality meal. Having spent only the day there, the only eatery I can recommend La Bolée, a crêperie breton with a wide selection of savoury galettes and sweet crêpes washed down with cidre bien sûr. My galette was not lacking in trimmings which is sometimes the case in some crêperies and really hit the spot after a long day of wandering around.
41 Rue Carnot Annecy
While Annecy’s main sights are doable in a day, a holiday here is perfect for those who want a mixture of lounging by the beach, water sports and walks in both a picturesque town and glorious natural surroundings.