Annecy is a small resort town in the Alps, full of the charm of the French countryside. Here are 10 ideas for enjoing a vacation here. You’ll certainly remember your trip to Annecy for many years.
Swim in the lake
The main attraction in Annecy is the lake of the same name, on whose banks the city sits. This brings the resort closer to neighboring Geneva, but a lot speaks in favor of choosing a French settlement: Lake Annecy is not at all inferior to Geneva in the beauty of the surrounding landscapes, prices are much lower here and the water is cleaner: you can see as much as 5 meters deep.
The swimming season is short here, but in July and August the water in the lake warms up to 24°C. There are several beaches in the city. You can enjoy a stroll on the grassy Albigny and the Marquisats beaches, which are free to enter. Those who like to lie on the sand will not be left out either: Imperial Beach, which is near the hotel of the same name (you can book a room here), is available to tourists for 5-7 euros.
Walk down the rue Saint-Clair
The history of the Annecy settlement goes back 900 years, and this solid age is reflected in the city’s development. Like any ancient city, it has its own Old Town, the heart of which is Rue Saint-Claire. As befits the pedestrian zone of this resort town, it is strewn with shops, stalls and small cafes. But the main feature of the street is the houses decorated with arcades (rows of arches of equal size).This architectural element was designed in the past to help fight floods, but gradually became the main feature of Saint-Clair. Now, in these wide arches, the very traditional shops and coffee houses are located.
If you want something new, we recommend that you get to know the city on a segway tour, which will give you the feel of a walking tour while preserving your strength and stamina. Read more here.
Take a photo against the backdrop of the Island Palace
The most photographed place in Annecy is the Château de l’Ile, located in the middle of the Thiou River, in the heart of the city. It was built in the 12th century and its original appearance has been preserved. The castle looks rather harsh, and until WWII it served as a prison. The gloom of the fortress is set off by toy houses located on the embankment and the water of the river itself. It’s the kind of picturesque view that seems impossible until you see it for yourself.
If the visual impression of the castle is not enough for you, you can visit the city museum located within its walls. It is also much more interesting and informative to get acquainted with the history of the ancient settlement on an author’s excursion with an English-speaking guide (order a tour here). After all, only a local resident can tell you with unprecedented love and admiration about the little charming Annecy.
Kiss on the Lovers Bridge
Annecy is called the Venice of Savoy because of the abundance of canals and bridges. So it is no coincidence that another attraction of the city is the Pont des Amours, which is thrown across the waters of the Canal du Vasse. The shores planted with trees create a romantic atmosphere. The bridge also has its own legend about two unfortunate lovers whose fate was sad. There’s now a belief that if you kiss on this bridge, you will forever remain with your beloved. It’s a simple and pleasant ritual. And so that your every day on vacation starts romantically, we recommend using this link to book a room with a view of the Lovers’ Bridge.
Take a walk in the Garden of Europe
A stone’s throw from the bridge is the Jardins de l’Europe, a landscape park in the English style. It is a favorite vacation spot for locals and tourists alike. The park is located on the shore of the lake, so you can come here to get away from the bustle of the city at the height of the season and admire the picturesque coastline. The pearl of the garden is the artificial Swan Island, inhabited by the proud and beautiful birds.
Visit the Lake Festival
The resort hosts many events, from classical music festivals to triathlon competitions. It even has its own Venice Carnival, which takes place at the end of winter. But the most impressive sight for tourists is the Lake Festival in August, at the very peak of the holiday season. During the holiday, 200,000 spectators watch the most grandiose pyrotechnic show in all of Europe At the culmination of the festival, the entire sky over the lake is colored by numerous fireworks.
Annecy is a famous paragliding destination. Fans of flight come here from all over the world. You’ll be brought to the starting point on one of the surrounding mountains. For beginner paragliders, the flight is possible only in tandem with an instructor. The pleasure will cost 100 euros, the flight lasts 30-40 minutes, and the views of the surrounding beauty are simply mesmerizing.
Taste local cuisine
Savoyard cuisine incorporates the culinary achievements of other Alpine countries and regions, especially Switzerland and Italy. So you shouldn’t be surprised that some of the most popular dishes here are fondue and crozet gratin, the local variety of pasta. Another authentic local dish to try is matafan, a kind of bacon casserole topped with Gruyere cheese.
The residents are especially proud of their desserts, the ultimate of which is the famous Savoyard pie with blueberries or citrus zest. Only exquisite Italian ice cream, which is served in any cafe in the city, can compete with it.
As for alcoholic beverages, it is worth trying wine from local vineyards, as well as Genepi, a traditional Alpine liqueur infused with wormwood herbs. It is customary to drink as a finish to a meal, as it promotes good digestion.
If you want to try best french wines with local cheese, we recomend to order degustation here.
Visit the fountain of Jean-Jacques Rousseau
Annecy played a significant role in the life of the outstanding French philosopher and writer Jean-Jacques Rousseau after his escape to Savoy. For some time he lived at the house of his patroness and lover, Madame de Varence. Rousseau often mentions the city and its inhabitants in his autobiographical novel Confession.
In honor of the writer, residents of Annecy erected a small fountain near the city conservatory. It is decorated with a bust and an inscription on the balustrade of the fountain: “One blooming Easter morning, Rousseau met Madame de Varence here.”
Go to the Aiguille du Midi observation deck
Since Annecy is located in the French Alps, it’s fitting to go to one of the peaks of this mountain system. There is an observation deck at the top of the Aiguille du Midi just outside the city. It is called “Step into the void” and fully justifies this name. From a height of 3800 meters, dizzying views open up, but the main extreme is the design of the observation deck. The glass walls and floor create a floating effect. However, if you are afraid of heights, you might want to skip it. Many people are simply horrorstruck when visiting this extreme attraction.
We hope we’ve given you some interesting ideas for entertainment in this cozy alpine resort town!
Enjoy your stay in Annecy!