We have many memories to draw us back to Annecy
Moored boats bobbing on aquamarine waters.
Exploring the ancient streets of a medieval village.
Canal-side restaurants providing shady awnings to escape the mid day sun as you enjoy a traditional French lunch.
Market stall holders plying everything from cheese and sausage to home made crafts on the bustling medieval cobblestone streets, the aroma of their wares wafting along the alleyways.
Holiday makers basking in the sun and taking in the tranquil scenery.
Sitting on our verandah of an evening, sipping French wine and watching the light play with the French Alps.
Little Venice on the lake
Situated at the foot of the French Alps, I had never even heard of Annecy before my sister included it on the itinerary for our 2017 road trip.
Known as “Little Venice” the spectacular views and pristine, aquamarine waters of the lake make this a popular tourist destination for locals in summer. Having spent a glorious week here, I can understand why the French would like to keep it a secret.
It is possible to walk or cycle some 47 kilometres around the lake, however we chose instead to join the throngs of holidaymakers swimming, paddle-boating and relaxing in the sun beside the lake.
Stepping one block off the modern main street into the old village is like stepping back into medieval history.
We spent a wonderful week here exploring museums, chateaux and tourist attractions in the area. A highlight for me was strolling along the canals of the medieval town, or “Olde Ville” of Annecy.
Exploring the canals
Walking along the canals, mixed aromas waft from the market stalls offering everything from cheese and sausages to tacky souvenirs and “antiques”.
Glace artisans offer home made ice-cream like you have never tasted before. Restaurants and cafes line the canal, where you can relax under the awnings enjoying a traditional French lunch.
I was disappointed to find that the landmark “Palais D’Lisle”, the 12th century prison museum at the centre of the canal in the old village was shrouded in scaffolding and closed for restoration work during the week of our visit. Which gives me a good excuse to return to Annecy one day.
Walking to the top of the hill we were able to visit Chateau d’Annecy. The medieval castle was once home to the Counts of Geneva and is now a natural history and arts museum. From the ramparts you get an unrivalled view of the lake, village and alps behind.
We also spent an enjoyable morning riding the ferry around the lake, stopping at each of the resort villages- a significantly cheaper alternative than some of the more formal tours.
Our home for the week was a ski chalet set high on the hills above Talloires, a small village on Lake Annecy.
Here we would relax on the deck with our family, sipping a glass of French wine as we watched the afternoon light play with the French Alps. Parasailers glided overhead, sailing down to the landing in Talloires below.
We took it in turns to cook dinner with local produce sourced from the markets, enjoying the magnificent lake and mountain views.
Talloires is very much a playground for the wealthy. Skiers by winter, boaters and paragliders in summer.
The small village centre is a quaint rabbit warren of winding little streets.
The old Abbey, now an exclusive hotel dominates prime position on the waterfront, where you can pay for the privilege of sitting on a deck chair by the water.
As Australians, the concept of paying 30 euro to go to the beach or sit in a deck chair at Talloires was somewhat foreign to us. Hence we chose to spend much of our time in Annecy around five minutes drive away, where the beaches were free.
On our last evening in France we treated ourselves to dinner at one of the hotels in Talloires. We were pleasantly surprised to find the “menu” (a set three course meal) came in at only 30 euros each for a superb French feast.
Our week in Annecy was a hard job, but “C’est la vie”, someone had to do it.
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