Annecy is a town in the French Alps, situated peacefully beside a picturesque lake that bears the same name. You’ll be able to find many of the regional culinary specialties and winter sports here as in any other Savoyard town, but, more than those other towns, Annecy is strikingly beautiful.
The Profound Beauty of Annecy
The town is on the banks of Lake Annecy, whose deep blue waters sweep far into the distance before giving way to the rugged gravitas of the Alps. The lake’s banks are lush and verdant in the summer and ethereal and icy in winter, making it a perfect place to experience the pristine tranquillity and beauty of nature year-round.
As for the town itself, due to the large numbers of waterways in the Old Town, Annecy is frequently called the “Venice of the Alps” – and it certainly shares the undeniable romance and charm of the famous Italian city. The Old Town is full of canals and tiny, winding streets and alleys, and is a must-visit for anyone holidaying nearby. Below we reveal a couple of our favourite ways to see Annecy.
Exploring Annecy by Water…
Although visitors to Annecy (unlike visitors to the real Venice) aren’t able to travel directly along the waterways, Annecy’s canals are described by paths, bridges and streets that allow one to wander either directly alongside the water, or weave in and out of the waterway and surrounding roads. This is how we recommend you experience the town at whatever the time of year.
The canals and bridges add to that Venetian-like charisma, and walking through the Old Town lets you soak that up to its full. Don’t stick to the waterways too religiously, however, especially if you want to grab a bite to eat: many of the restaurants looking directly onto the water stay in business due to their location more than the quality of their food, so you’ll be better served by delving into the side streets come lunch time.
… Or by Air!
Annecy is one of the world’s premier paragliding destinations, making it a perfect destination for fans of the sport. The area has an illustrious history in the world of paragliding, being a common venue for world-renowned competitions, and has even hosted part of the paragliding world cup in the past!
Whether you’re a keen paraglider or someone new to the sport, it remains a fantastic way to see the area year-round. The weather conditions and open aerial space make it easy to navigate, and the views of the town and the glorious blue expanse of the lake are second to none.
How to Get to Annecy
Annecy is served by Geneva Airport, but there are no public transport links. Visitors are advised to pre-book a Geneva airport taxi for the smoothest travel experience, or to drive. In either case it takes less than an hour along the A41, although you’ll need to cross the Franco-Swiss border and pay a toll.
Where to Stay
Studio Albigny – perfect for those seeking no-frills accommodation from which to base their holiday, Studio Albigny makes an excellent low-cost choice. Its greatest strength is its location, putting it only a 10 minute drive from the A41 (and with free parking a five minute walk from the apartment) and giving it excellent transport links for cyclists, who will be happy to learn that the apartment comes equipped with two bicycles, free of charge.
Un Apart en Ville “l’Intimiste” – those seeking a mid-priced alternative will want to take a look at L’intimiste. With its slick décor, airy feel and a beautiful terrace where you can eat breakfast or spend a long, languorous evening, it’s a perfect addition to any holiday. L’intimiste also offers on-site parking, meaning that, for some travellers, it’s even more convenient than Albigny.
La Parenthèse Apartments – these luxury apartments have a unique ambience. Set within the very heart of Annecy’s old town, La Parenthèse’s rooms are decorated in a magnificently eclectic style, flawlessly combining contemporary textures, antiqued stone and rustic wood, all in a beautiful old building.