It has been voted the prettiest city in France, the very best place to reside, essentially the most lovely setting – all of the kudos you may think about.
I are likely to agree, however then, I am biased.
You see, I reside 45 minutes from Annecy, so I usually go there for procuring or a meal out. And what a fortunate individual I’m!
Seeing Annecy is to fall in love with the city.
Sleek bridges span slow-drifting canals and the tiny Thiou River, all framed by windowsills whose flowers tumble freely beneath. All through city, cobblestone streets are lined with historical arcades, the previous buildings they assist silhouetted towards the mountains and lake simply past.
In the event you lookup you may spot high-flying paragliders drifting slowly in direction of the lake, skilfully touchdown in a close-by area.
Deciding what to do in Annecy will not be troublesome: it is a small city − you may merely do all of it. And even do nothing, merely having fun with its magnificence throughout a mild stroll.
In the event you occur to be within the Swiss metropolis of Geneva, Annecy could be seen on a day journey or perhaps a half-day journey if that is on a regular basis you will have.
If in case you have a bit extra time otherwise you’re coming from elsewhere, I’ve some transportation choices on the backside of this text.
Annecy’s turbulent historical past
Like most of the most lovely cities in France, there’s one thing Roman across the nook.
Within the case of Annecy, traces of civilization date again to 3100 BCE, with the city evolving into the medieval Annecy we all know and love at present.
When the château’s first stone was laid within the Twelfth century, town was known as Annecy-the-new, to distinguish it from Annecy-le-Vieux, or Annecy-the-old, a Gallo-Roman settlement on the hill above town and which nonetheless carries that identify. That is complicated, as guests see the identify ‘previous’ and head for what they suppose is Annecy Previous City, or Vieille Ville.
Between the constructing of the château and the fifteenth century, Annecy was razed a number of instances by hearth, so what we see at present is “solely” 5 – 6 centuries previous.
Being near Switzerland made Annecy a refuge for Catholics fleeing the Protestant Reformation in Geneva and incomes it the nickname “Rome of France”. Even thinker Jean-Jacques Rousseau known as it house for some time, however for no specific non secular purpose.
Right now, Annecy is the capital of the Haute-Savoie, having lastly joined France in 1860. That will have been 150 years in the past, however a hard-core nucleus of Savoy separatists nonetheless haven’t accepted ‘French rule’ and consider the area ought to be a sovereign nation.
Actually, the bridge in my very own village of Seyssel (which spans two provinces, the Haute-Savoie and the Ain) is commonly bisected by a ‘border’ of white paint, with the phrases “Savoie” on one facet and “France” on the opposite.
Annecy could also be France’s prettiest city, but it surely’s nonetheless far off the vacationer path for foreigners (besides the Swiss, who’ve all the time visited). It wasn’t even a dot on the vacationer map till the steam practice arrived within the mid-Nineteenth century. What was as soon as the ‘finish of France’ is at present a fast half-hour drive from Geneva over a scenic and dizzyingly excessive motorway.
6 greatest issues to do in Annecy
Most issues to see in Annecy are inside strolling distance, which makes issues simpler. Most of them are additionally within the Previous City, a smallish space that’s simple (and pleasant) to discover on foot.
Here is what I counsel, if you wish to get essentially the most out of this city.
Amble across the streets of previous Annecy
The streets of Annecy are made for strolling, and for those who decide your home within the Previous City, it’s possible you’ll really feel you are again in medieval instances, the place little has modified in centuries.
That is by far probably the most pleasant issues to do in Annecy. In the event you do nothing else on this city, strolling round will already fill you with marvel.
And alongside the way in which, you may discover lots to see − the Jardins de l’Europe (Gardens of Europe), the numerous church buildings and outlets, the whole lot round you as a result of Annecy is actually a feast for the eyes.
Rummage round Annecy market
It is not possible to walk beneath Annecy’s arcades and never be taken in by the romance. However it will possibly get even higher.
On Tuesdays and Fridays, a market units up its stalls alongside the previous city’s arcades and also you get the additional benefit of native produce and regional specialties.
On the final Saturday of the month, a beautiful brocante, or flea market, takes locations beneath the arcades. Costs aren’t significantly low, however then, the setting is beautiful.
Go to the Palais de l’Ile
Probably the most iconic sight of Annecy is the Palais de l’Ile, an historical Twelfth-century fortress whose triangular partitions jut out into the Thiou River. After all that is the half you see, however the constructing stretches out behind, as you would possibly count on for a constructing that was as soon as a jail and a mint (not on the similar time). It was additionally a courthouse and the positioning of administrative buildings.
It had further makes use of, turning into an artwork faculty for stonemasons, with a gymnasium and lodgings. At one level, in direction of the top of the Nineteenth century, authorities thought-about tearing it down and changing it with municipal baths, however that concept was deserted when some notables took offense and as an alternative, received the constructing labeled as a historic monument.
As for the jail, it hasn’t gone away − you may nonetheless go to the previous cells and chapel.
Stroll throughout the Pont des Amours
The Pont des Amours, which interprets as Lovers’ Bridge, is at present a lightweight, ethereal steel span from which you’ll be able to get pleasure from two lovely views: to 1 facet, Annecy Canal and the mild rows of boats alongside its edge; to the opposite facet, a shocking panorama of Lake Annecy and the Alps past all the way in which to Mont Blanc.
Legend has it that anybody who kisses whereas on the bridge will keep collectively for all times.
However there’s one other legend: this one traces its identify again to a time when prostitutes used to work on the bridge.
Irrespective of, it is a pretty spot and it is clear love does have one thing to do with it.
Relive historical past by means of Annecy Citadel
One of many issues to see in Annecy is the Twelfth-century fortress which sits on the prime of the previous city − and is nicely well worth the climb. It is a slightly extreme fortress however harmonious in its proportions.
It was as soon as the residence of the counts of Geneva and is now the Museum of Widespread Alpine Artwork, with collections that embrace vintage furnishings, historic images and chalet scale fashions.
The citadel additionally incorporates an observatory, whose reveals show the area’s pure assets.
Picnic on the Pâquier
One of the best ways to explain Le Pâquier is as an enormous garden and backyard that ends on the lake and opens up on beautiful mountain views − but it surely began out as an enormous pasture.
You may discover paths, bridges, and actions of each kind: household outings, canines frolicking, children studying to experience bikes, water sports activities and swimming…
Seize your picnic meals and head straight right here with a blanket or towel, and benefit from the solar and conviviality.
Prime issues to do in Annecy Lake
Lakes are good for outside actions and this one is especially great for the outside (and some indoor ones, too). Listed here are some enjoyable Lake Annecy actions
If in case you have the time or if in case you have a automotive (you may hire one right here), take a drive across the lake and cease in all places you may − it is that stunning. Most individuals drive counter-clockwise − however I favor the view going the opposite manner.
Cease in Talloires for espresso, then head as much as the Col de la Forclaz and have lunch in one of many mountaintop eating places. Stroll it off by heading uphill to look at the paragliders leap off the mountain. Then proceed your drive.
Driving in France is an excellent expertise when you get off the motorways − you may have little visitors and glorious roads. However for those who’re a bit nervous about renting a automotive in France, this is the whole lot you must know.
We even have some driving peculiarities and you must a minimum of concentrate on them earlier than you sit behind the steeting wheel (you may discover recommendations on driving in France right here).
There are many different methods to go to the lake. There is a biking path all the way in which to the top of the lake, and you may return alongside the alternative shore (tougher and hillier). Or you may merely stroll, and benefit from the mountain surroundings as you do.
These of you who need energetic sports activities can go paragliding or climbing near Annecy, or head for one in every of the lake’s great seashores. The lake is ideal for nautical actions, from taking a passenger boat to renting a pedalo, paddleboard or a sailboat.
Annecy hikes are additionally widespread and you may have your decide of the encompassing mountains, just like the Semnoz or Mounts Veyrier or Tournette.
Or if you would like one thing outdoorsy however totally different, why not a Segway tour of Annecy?
Taking a day journey from Annecy
Following the contours of Lake Annecy is an apparent day journey throughout your Annecy vacation however there are many others.
Day journeys from Annecy if in case you have a automotive
Listed here are 4 good day journeys from Annecy by automotive:
Lyon is a shocking city, with a historical past of silk weaving and fabulous murals (and good meals). I’ve positioned this right here as a result of the highway journey to Lyon is nicely beneath two hours, whereas the practice or the bus are each longer, and never that frequent.You could possibly drive to Chamonix, that pretty city on the foot of Mont-Blanc, superb for snowboarding in winter and mountain climbing in summer time.
Talking of Geneva, Switzerland is simply half an hour’s drive from Annecy so for those who’re utilizing Annecy as your base, you may simply drive into over the border and probe for the day.
Day journeys from Annecy for those who’re utilizing public transportation
However what if you do not have a automotive? Does that restrict you to town?
In no way.
An hour’s bus or practice experience from Annecy is the charming metropolis of Aix-les-Bains, a remnant of the Belle Epoque, with buildings that have not been retouched since Queen Victoria swung by.Chambéry is the historic capital of Savoy and nicely value a go to. It isn’t removed from Annecy, lower than an hour by practice.When you’re in Chambéry, you may be midway to Grenoble, a beautiful metropolis in one more spectacular setting, which you may as well attain by bus or practice.
Consuming in Annecy
One of many points of interest of Annecy is the meals scene, however you’d higher like cheese…
In the event you’re visiting in winter, you may’t depart city with out consuming a cheese fondue or a tartiflette, a well-liked cheese and potato dish. At any time when I really feel like both of those, I head for Le Freti or L’Etage, each equally scrumptious for the whole lot Alpine cheese.
In the event you’re within the temper for one thing extra classical, strive L’Autentic, and whenever you’re completed with all that consuming, stroll beneath the arcades and cease for an ice cream − there are a minimum of half a dozen one subsequent to the opposite (I often cease on the Glacier des Alpes however others are equally good).
In the event you’d slightly seize some meals and head for a picnic on the Paquier by the lake, you can begin by selecting up your primary goodies at Pauvert within the Previous City, then to the cheese store of Pierre Homosexual (who has achieved the elite standing of Meilleur Ouvrier de France, or Greatest French Workmanship), and eventually, for dessert, you may need a pastry from Rigollot, voted greatest pastry chef on this planet in 2005.
Map of Annecy, France
Issues to do in Annecy in winter
Whereas summer time brings out the flower bins and throngs of vacationers, winter can be an excellent season to go to Annecy.
In the event you’re right here near Christmas, town has a rising Christmas market that turns into extra charming with yearly.
There’s additionally loads of snowboarding round Annecy, at La Clusaz and the Grand Bornand but in addition just a little additional afield, in Chamonix.
get to Annecy
There are airports close to Annecy however that is not essentially one of the best ways to get right here.
In the event you should take the aircraft, fly into Geneva. From the airport, you may take a bus on to Annecy from Geneva airport.
The practice can be a very good possibility. It is a four-hour experience from Paris, and far much less from close by regional cities like Lyon or Grenoble. Examine the nationwide railway schedule right here.
A 3rd alternative could be to drive. I really like taking highway journeys in France and whilst you will not want a automotive in Annecy correct, you would wish one to drive across the lake or go to the close by mountains. You possibly can examine automotive rental costs right here.
Locations to remain Annecy accommodations
You may have loads of alternative in Annecy: it is a much-loved metropolis and many individuals come to go to, so you may have loads of alternative.
The highest resort in Annecy is the Imperial Palace, proper on the sting of the lake. A top-notch “palace” worthy of its worth level.
In the event you’d slightly be within the coronary heart of city, Les Loges are luxurious self-catering residences with a contemporary contact in a beautiful conventional constructing.
For mid-range Annecy accommodations, there’s much more alternative. Le Splendid sits alongside one of many city’s canals; the Resort du Chateau is true subsequent to the citadel − beautiful views however an uphill stroll; and you will not get a greater location than the Resort du Palais de l’Ile.
And for a cut price, strive the Ibis Centre, proper on the sting of the Previous City; Resort des Alpes, cosy and clear within the Previous City; exterior the middle, for those who’re on the lookout for a dog-friendly resort with its personal parking, strive the Ace Resort.
When is the very best time to go to Annecy?
Annecy in summer time means that you can get pleasure from all of the summer time sports activities of the lake − and the throngs. In September and October, the crowds will likely be gone however the solar will nonetheless be excessive. Winter is time for snowboarding, and March is Carnival time. So there are many decisions!
How lengthy does it take to go to Annecy?
In the event you solely have in the future, you may nonetheless handle to see the very best vacationer points of interest and pure sights: you may spend the morning and early afternoon touring the lake (with lunch in-between), with the late afternoon and night in Annecy, after the crowds have left. Two days in Annecy could be higher however you may see Annecy in a day.
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