Let us begin with a riddle:
What has amazing sorbet, an incredibly clear lake, and is known as “La Venise des Alpes,” or Venice of the Alps? That’s right! It’s Annecy, France!
Last Sunday, we went on a little day trip to the capital of the Haute-Savoie region of France. Lyon is a wonderful city, and I love it here, but being from Idaho, it is tough not to see some mountains every day. There are some mountains in Annecy, but I’ll get to those later.
The first thing we saw when we stepped off of the bus was the Château d’Annecy. It was built between the 12th and 16th centuries and served as home to the Counts of Geneva. It has since been restored and turned into a museum.
Walking around Annecy is a bit like walking around Sun Valley. They definitely cater to tourists, which has its ups and downs. It’s interesting to see what items different places choose to represent their region or town. What do they want people to remember about visiting their place in the world? What makes it unique? Annecy is known for the beautiful lake and canals, and that is what they want you to remember. The down side of these tourist traps is in the name. Tourists are loud and make places uncomfortably crowded, but I don’t think that is justification for staying in one place for your entire life.
Away from downtown Annecy, there is a nice park with beautiful flowers, fountains, and way less people. We also found a nice restaurant for lunch. One of my favorite parts about France is that people eat outside. Every restaurant has just as much space for eating outside as they do inside. I’m convinced that food tastes better when consumed out of doors. Stay tuned for French eating habits in the winter.
The best part of the day was walking around the lake. People spread out all around the lake, and there are benches to sit at, gelato stands to try, and the best views to be seen. I would recommend walking as far away from town as possible. People think that the best views are from the pier, and while they aren’t bad, they’re better if you keep going. You are also more likely to find an unoccupied bench on the other side of the lake.
For our last activity, we took a boat tour around the lake. It was so beautiful! There are houses tucked into the mountains, so surrounded by trees that you really have to look to be able to see them. I have always wanted to try paragliding, and Annecy just might be the place to do it. Can you see the paragliders in this picture?
The weather forecast had said that it would rain all day, but we got lucky with the sunshine. Not a single drop of rain until we were 20 minutes outside of Annecy. It was a splendid day!