She’s a traveller. A wonderer. The winding canals pique her interest to discover every hidden corner of this beautiful town. She gets lost amongst the artisan markets, the boutiques, French cuisine, a smiling face, the blooming flowers.
Where someone gets lost, they open themselves up to being found and just like that the winding streets and gushing canals start calling her, leading her. As she follows, a calm walk breaks into a brisk jog as the pull gets stronger, faster.
A sudden stop. She’s here and all is silent. A wide open space where rolling mountains frame an aqua lake that disappears beneath the fog and into the horizon. There’s nothing but the sound of rowboats lapping the waves. It is peaceful, it is still.
Suddenly she’s not lost. She is found. She is free.
Welcome to Annecy
Okay, so if I’m being really honest I went to France with the hope of being swept away by a romantic French boy and living happily forever after, sailing on a white yacht along the Côte d’Azur.
Turns out things didn’t happen that way, but instead my heart was beyond fulfilled with other things.
When you think of France, you tend to think of Paris and whilst Paris is beautiful, there is so much more to France than just Paris. France surprised me and kept me guessing but most of all, it was beautifully picturesque in it’s every facet.
Annecy is no different – it’s absolutely gorgeous and relatively unheard of which means less tourists! Bonus :D
How to get there
If you’re travelling from Paris, getting to Annecy is really easy. There is a direct TVG from Paris to Annecy which takes approximately 4 hours.
I on the other hand came from Cassis, which is a slightly more complicated journey. Even though Cassis is closer to Annecy than Paris (I recommend going by car if you have one, it will save you half the time) there is no direct train, which meant quite a few train transfers:
- Cassis to Marseille St Charles
- Marseille St Charles to Lyon Part-Dieu
- Lyon Part-Dieu to Annecy
I recommend you book via Trainline – it will work out the entire journey under one ticket, plus you can download the app and have everything stored on your phone in one place; super handy when you have multiple tickets from travelling all over Europe/France.
The trip in total took approximately 4.5 hours and cost €51, but the earlier you book in advanced, the cheaper!
Where to stay
I had booked a place on AirBnB for my stay in Annecy which was adequate for one night, but I probably wouldn’t stay there again. My main reason for this was that the apartment was located outside of the old town and even though it was only a 10-15min walk into the old town, it just wasn’t the same. I highly recommend finding a place inside the old town.
WHat to discover
I only spent about a day in Annecy, which was definitely not enough. In any case here are my recommendations:
1. Vieille Ville – Located on the Thiou river, the old town of Annecy is gorgeous with it’s historic medieval architecture, canals and blooming florals. I encourage you to discover every nook and cranny of the little passageways and admire the beautiful architecture – remember to take pics! On Tuesdays, there is a fresh food market adding an extra burst of colour to the streets, along with numerous boulangeries, patisseries and artisan food shops.
2. Palais de l’Île – Possibly the most famous landmark in Annecy, I was so so so sad that it was under construction when I visited. Regardless, you must go and take a photo – this spot is one of the most photographed spots in France. Through its history, the Palais de I’lle has been a palace, prison, warehouse, barracks and today it exists as an exhibition space detailing the history of Annecy’s architecture, so you can have all sorts of fun browsing old courtrooms, dungeons, cells and a chapel.
3. Chateau d’Annecy – Due to time constraints, I didn’t get a chance to go inside the castle, but I made my way up to admire the terrace views. If you’re wondering what’s inside, you’ll find a museum depicting the lives of the rulers of Savoy.
4. Lake Annecy – Possibly the most beautiful lake I have seen in my life so far, Lake Annecy has crystal clear waters and is framed by snow capped mountains. Surrounding the lake is a vast expanse of parkland, where you’ll find numerous groups of youths chilling and playing sports by the lake. Next time I plan to ride the little paddle boats across the lake.
5. While you’re strolling around Lake Annecy, make sure to visit the Jardins de l’Europe. During my walk through the gardens, I stumbled across a beautiful building which ended up being a hotel called L’Imperial Palace.
If you’re able to spend more time in Annecy, there are many water sports, lake/canal cruises, hikes in the mountains and a number of other activities to do by the lake.
6. Eat!! I will continue this in the next section, but there are just so many good thing to try around every corner. Just eat everything.
Where to fill the belly
Lunch – L’auberge du Lyonnais
Overall Rating: ★★★.5
Nice food, absolutely beautiful location, friendly and prompt service – wait staff speak English.
DINNER – L’APPART DU DIX-SEPT
Overall Rating: ★★★★
Nice homely food – desert was particularly delicious! Funky interior with it’s own vibe going on, the restaurant itself is hidden, located up a staircase inside one of the beautiful old town buildings – it was great to be able to go inside of one! Friendly service – wait staff speak English.
SNACKs – Glacier artisanal La Fabbrica di Gelato
Overall Rating: ★★★★
This place instantly stood out for me because of the creative ways in which they sold their gelato. The display was so cute that I couldn’t go past these gelato pops!