The Allure of Annecy, France

In En-Route, Europe, France, Our Journeys, Trip-Types, World Travel by Janis4 Comments

Where was its flowing charm?

We arrived in the heart of Annecy city on a Sunday evening, after a long scenic drive from Villefranche-sur-Mer on the Côte d'Azur and headed straight into Annecy Old Town.

The Palais de l'Isle in the evening, Annecy, France

It was strange, for some reason or another, neither Gary nor I was immediately grabbed by Annecy’s incredible charm.

I mean what’s not to love, about quaint cobbled streets, meandering canals, a beautiful mountainous backdrop and a striking opal lake.

Perhaps in hindsight, our approach should have been with a bit more ease, and go with the flow. As the city was bustling with locals and plenty of visitors all enjoying themselves.

Could it have been the time of day? As restaurants were teeming people all along the canal side, I suppose we just wanted to be a fly on the wall at a local café or bar & settle down to plan the next day’s adventure around Annecy.

An evening stroll, Annecy, France
Rue Perriere in the evening, Annecy, France

Nevertheless, we continued to explore for a while and then thought it’s time to eat, which we expected to be easy. However, in the 30-degree heat, we hadn’t quite been bitten by the cheese fondue bug yet and compromised on a restaurant that we later regretted.

Oh well, you live and learn.

A stroll by River Thiou, Annecy, France

A helpful guide

I love nothing more than planning a trip through France and so often I use the DK Eyewitness books.  I find them extremely informative, easy to follow and the pictures and maps tempt you into discovering more.

We used a previous version of this book to plan our French road trips, now you can grab the revised copy.

Up and at’em

We were not going to be beaten so quickly, so, with renewed vigour the next morning, we fueled up with a coffee and a sweet treat. The went off to discover what Annecy had to offer, and this time we weren’t disappointed.

Coffee to start the day, Annecy, France

A tone of morning calm had seemed to have descended upon the lanes. Perhaps it was the clean mountain air drifting through, and we strolled along the canals towards Lake Annecy.

Looking along the canal, Annecy, France

Wandering amongst the cobbled streets, we soon became to appreciate how incredibly beautiful the old town was, and had dusted off any preconceived thoughts from the prior evening.

Flowers were tumbling over bridges, colourful old buildings and crystal clear water flowing along the Thiou River. Annecy was winning us over.

Looking back on the Chateaux d'Annecy from the Quai Napoleon III, France
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Have You?

Visited any beautiful towns or villages in France that you’d love to share? I’ll add them to my wish-list?

Lake Annecy

As we strolled closer to the lake, the backdrop is stunning. You can easily appreciate why this region is popular all year around. Hiking, cycling, paragliding & boating, it has it all.

Moored on the Lake, Annecy, France

We were in Annecy in mid-September, and the temperature was around 30 degrees. I don’t think the rain had been seen for months in any significant amount, so it was amazing how shallow the lake was in places.

The mountains across the lake, Annecy, France

If you felt the urge to take a cruise on the lake on your own or hire a pedalo boat, everything was there for you.

Boats for hire on the lake, Annecy, France

Good to know

To hire a motorised boat it was around €60 per hour, depending on capacity.

Pont des Amours

In the steady heat, it was very welcoming wandering along the tree-lined Canal du Vassé, which leads off the lake. Of course, you must head over the romantic footbridge “Bridge of Love”.

Canal de Vassé, Annecy, France
Pont des Amours, Annecy, France

A little bit of history

Annecy is the capital of the Haute-Savoie region and has some fascinating history. The Palais de l'Isle in the heart of the old town is a 12th-century castle. It sits on an island in the Thiou River and now houses the Annecy History museum. Although for a long time it served as a prison and courthouse, until the French Revolution.

The Palais de l'Isle, Annecy, France

Looking down elegantly on the town is Château d'Annecy, which is now restored, but was once the residence of the Counts of Geneva.

The entrance to Château d'Annecy, Annecy, France

There’s a mixture of temporary and permanent exhibitions being held in the Château. In my opinion, I didn’t think there was a huge amount of history about the castle. However, the permanent exhibition on the history of Lake Annecy was fascinating. It amazed me how this body of water has played such an integral part of Annecy’s life.

The view from the Château d'Annecy, Annecy, France

A bit more info

Adult pricing for the Château d'Annecy in 2018 was €5.50, children €3 and under 12 were free.

Rue Sainte-Claire

You must stroll along the pedestrianised Rue Sainte-Claire. This picturesque street is charming any day of the week, cafés, boutiques, cobbled lanes, arcades & little squares.

Place Sainte-Claire, Annecy, France

However, on market days your senses move into overdrive. It felt like the market was not just for tourists but locals alike. We followed a few people through the streets, heading in armed with their wicker baskets.

A stall full of Saucissons on the market, Annecy, France

It was mainly food, lots of fruit & vegetables, garlic, saucisson & cheeses.

Nougat on the market stall, Annecy, France

Market Day

The city car parks are very busy on market day, so best to arrive early. Tuesday, for the food market & Friday and Sunday for the larger food and textile market.

Tour of the lake

We hopped back in the car for around 1 ½ hours and toured around the lake. It is only about 24 miles (37km), so isn’t too far, but, there are some beautiful viewpoints and lovely towns along the way.

Parked by Lake Annecy, Annecy, France

If you enjoy camping and caravanning, this is undoubtedly the place to do it and quite a few options all around the lake.

By Lake Annecy, Annecy, France
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Tempted to?

Discover more of France and create your own memories? It’s so easy to do this on a road trip, SIXT car hire cover all budgets and allow you to pick up and drop off at different destinations.

Confession time

We had to admit we were wrong about Annecy, yes it was touristy, but we just had to learn to share.

Saint François de Sales church, Annecy, France

Where we stayed

Our accommodation for the three nights in Annecy was at the ibis Annecy Centre Vieille Ville Hotel. The location is fantastic, just a few steps and you are right in the heart of Place Sainte-Claire in the Old Town.

We chose to stroll out each morning for breakfast as we enjoy eating in local cafés.

There’s a public car park right next door, so great, if like us you’re on a road trip.

Why not?

Start creating your own French adventure and discover the beautiful city of Annecy for yourself, by flying easyJet or British Airways. These are just a couple of options that you can take to Lyon or Grenoble.
Or alternatively, jump on Le Shuttle and tour through France under your own steam.

Where we dined

Annecy is only about 35km (22 miles) south of Geneva, so there is a strong Swiss influence around the city. And this can just mean one thing, cheeeeeeese, more specifically fondue.

Le Ramoneur Savoyard, Annecy, France

Our favourite restaurant from the three nights that we were in Annecy was at Le Ramoneur Savoyard. Fondue was one of their specialities, so even though it was around 25 degree a 9pm, we sat outside and had a fromage et girolles fondue.

Would you like a little more?

We have created a little YouTube video of Annecy

Why not subscribe to our YouTube channel and get the latest clips as we post them?

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Inspired to visit Annecy?

You too can stroll amongst the picturesque cobbled lanes and enjoy the incredible scenery across the lake.

Why not stay at ibis Annecy Centre Vieille Ville Hotel, it really is only a short hop to the Old Town?
The Allure of Annecy, France

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Oregon Girl Around the World
About the Author


Janis, the co-founder of Our World for You, was born in London and raised in Kent and the Isle of Wight. Along with Gary her partner, they have been travelling part time since 1995. In 2016, they decided that enough was enough with the 9 to 5, so armed with the knowledge and experience that they had gained on their adventures, that they wanted to inspire others to travel the world near and far.

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  1. such a beautiful town, hope to visit it some day #farawayfiles

  2. Looks great and a perfect place on a tour route. So many tour options in France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Croatia……..

    1. Author

      Yes it’s ideal for that. When we head off on our road trips south we stay in a different town every time.

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