Dear Girls on Travel,
Did you know Venice was also in France? Well, Annecy is actually called the Venice of the Alps, and it is easy to understand why. This is probably one of the cutest small city this country has to offer. Located between lake and mountains, the surroundings are stunning. The lake is also the cleanest one in Europe and local people are doing everything to keep it as such. From cobbled streets, romantic walks to impressive scenery, this city is just a must-see for the city and outdoor lovers.
1: Walk in the city
Spend some time walking and getting lost among the whimsical canals of Annecy. You will discover pastel houses and bright flower boxes. Just wander around, try a delicious croissant, come across a local market, do some shopping and visit the Palais de L’isle, a former prison turned in a local history museum. Don’t miss the “Pont des amours”, the lovers' bridge where legend says that if you kiss on it, you will stay together forever, so romantic!
2: Cycle around the lake
The lake is about 40km and you can do a roundtrip with the bike. The biggest part of the lake has path foreseen for bicycles making it easier. The view is absolutely incredible all the way through. And if you get tired, you can stop at one of the many beaches to relax or lovely restaurants to have a delicious meal.
Must eat: Petit Paradis, Angon
3: Hike the mountain
The hikes around the lake are infinite, you can choose all kinds of views, distances and difficulty. Check out which one seems the most appropriate, but one of my favourite’s one is the hike of Mont Veyrier. Easy to moderate walk for about 5h with amazing views on the mountain, lake and the city. As its close to the centre, you can easily reach it as well. And to finish and get refreshed you can swim in the lake, a must do!
4: Go Canonying
Annecy is one of those locations where outdoor adventure trips are really popular. Locals are all very active and either skiing, cycling, hiking or horse-riding. So why don’t you go along and enjoy what the rivers have to offer? Climb, jump, abseil and swim, adrenaline guaranteed!
5: Try Paragliding
Paragliding is one of those unique activities you ever have to try, and Annecy is the perfect place for it. You will be leaving on top of the mountain and discover the lake from above. And oh my god what a view. Absolutely stunning. I went with a company called Aeroslide and had a blast. They take pictures during the flight leaving you with incredible memories, a must try.
6: Eat above the cows
Eat above what? Yes indeed, the cows and the farm. This authentic place called Ferme de la Charbonnière not far from the lake offers all the local delicacy. You must try the tartiflette (to book in advance). Made with a local cheese called Reblochon melted on top of potatoes, white wine and bacon, heaven! But the other dishes are all worth a try, whether you are more of a meat lover or a cheese one.
7: See the sunset
With a lake like the one Annecy has you can only imagine the view on top of the mountains. So what better moment to enjoy this stunning view than during sunset? You can park your car at Plan Vérel and from there hike the mountain for about 1h. You will arrive at a chalet called L’Aulp where you will be able to enjoy the scenery. Check what time the sunset is and just wait for it. I also highly recommend having food there, very local and great cheese dishes. Try to go early so that you have enough time to go down before it is dark and return safely to your car.
8: Paddle across the lake
If you are not feeling up to the exertion of a bike ride around the lake, hire a paddleboat instead. Leisurely make your way around the lake at your own pace, soaking in a world-class view of the mountains. You will be able to find a few companies renting their paddleboat around the lake, so just pick your location and enjoy.
9: Try a Michelin restaurant
Annecy has its fair share of Michelin restaurants and popular chefs. What better way to enjoy the incredible view than with an exceptional dish? One of my favourite ones is Yoann Conte, 2 Michelin stars, with a cooking very close to nature, drawing inspiration from nature and plants. If you want to enjoy it more on a budget, the chef recently opened Yoann Côté Jardin, with salad, burgers and delicious pastries over tea time in the garden. The Michelin restaurant is opened the whole year whereas the new Bistrot is only open from June to September as it is outside.
10: Visit a castle
Did you know Annecy also had a castle? I had the pleasure to discover it as I attended a wedding there. It offers a breathtaking panorama of the surroundings and is a jewel of the French Alps. Home to the same family for over a thousand years, the castle de Menthon should be on your bucket list. They offer guided tours to know all about the family (still living there) and the castle and during weekends guides in period costumes provide the tours, highly entertaining!
So Girls on Travel, what are you still waiting for? Annecy is waiting for you!
10th of October 2018