Le monde est un livre et ceux qui ne voyagent pas n’en lisent qu’une page
– Saint Augustin
(The world is a book and those who don’t travel only read one page
– Saint Augustin)
In the South-Eastern part of the Haute-Savoie department of France, in the Auvergne – Rhone – Alpes region lies a petite, old, Alpine town, that is bestowed with a title, “la plus belle Ville du monde” (the most beautiful city in the world). One that is sure to spoil you with the grandeur of nature at its elegant best! It’s none other than charismatic Annecy. Nestled between Lake Annecy and the Bornes & Bauges mountain ranges it is also called “the pearl of the French Alps”.
About 35 km from Geneva (Switzerland) and well connected by the bus & train network to the major cities of France including Paris and Lyon, it comes to life during the spring-summer season with wanderlust-struck feet being lured by its unspoiled natural beauty, sunshine, colourful blooms, and panoramic views.
The Counts of Geneve called Annecy their home in the 13th century. It was Count of Savoy who made it their capital in the 14th century. From then till it was annexed to France in 1860, it stood witness to various religious civil wars, thus creating a distinctive identity firmly rooted in history.
While Mont Veyrier, Mont Semnoz, La Tournette, and Parmelan mountains that surround it, impart Annecy a robust look, the tranquillity of the Lac d”Annecy (Lake Annecy) makes it idyllic. Three canals originating from the lake that join to form the river Thiou traverse the old town cutting across its ‘Vieille Ville’ (the old town) giving it the nickname ‘Venice of Alps’
Let’s begin our exploration of “Charismatic Annecy” which was the recipient of the “Fleur d’Or” (Golden Flower) award* in 2015. Let’s see it first hand to believe!
Lac d’Annecy ( Lake Annecy)
Situated at 447 meters above sea level, nestled at the feet of mighty mountains and with special care taken over the past 50 years, Lac d’Annecy (Annecy lake) acquires such myriad tones of blue reflecting the drifting white clouds or the changing weather condition up above that one is sure to get hypnotized. Being about 15km long and 38km in perimeter, it is the third-largest lake in France. It is also Europe’s cleanest lake. It maintains a sage-like serenity, no matter what the season or the tempo of life on its shores is. No wonder then if one would like to spend an entire day resting at one of its pristine beaches soaking in the sun or feasting on the Alpine scenery without blinking eyelids or plunging in its crystal-clear water to make splashes or taking a long walk around it!
To each their own… the lake stands welcoming with its arms wide open to those who seek.
A 45 min ticketed and guided cruise is available to get up and close to the lake and surrounding areas guarded fiercely by the mountains all around! Don’t forget to ask for an ‘English’ transcript of the commentary. You can also hire boats to row up and downplaying tag with the ripples in the lake water. Water skiing, kayaking, kite surfing, Segway stroll, bike rides, paragliding etc are other available options. You can also enjoy a sunset dinner cruise to absorb the hues of the setting sun in the company of light music and a scrumptious spread of local French specialities!
I leave you here to surrender and submerge yourself in this relaxing experience, only to pick you up tomorrow to further our explorations of “Charismatic Annecy”.
Click here for a quick stroll around and a short Lac Annecy cruise video.
* Click here to know more about the Fleur d’Or
Click here for posts so far in the “Exploring l’Hexagone” series