Chocolates, canals, markets, Michelin Star restaurants and beautiful architecture. And that’s all before we talk about hiking, cycling and winter sports. Annecy in France has plenty of activities all year round and is an often overlooked place to visit in France.
Where is Annecy in France?
Annecy is in the Haute-Savoie department in the Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes region of France. It’s not far from the Alps and is only just over 20 miles from Geneva in Switzerland. Annecy is often called the pearl of the French Alps and it is a truly stunning place for a vacation.
Annecy, its lake, and its waterways are the sort of places it is difficult to tear yourself away from….nor should you try!
Here there is a remarkable union between Nature and Man, something that has attracted visitors since the 19th century, brought here by the unique beauty of the setting, the keen, dazzling light and the refreshing air carried from the not-so-distant Alps.
The town has a delightful old centre, flanking the River Thiou. It is such a picturesque place, partially pedestrianised, with arcaded houses and Italianate wells.
Bright, colourful and vibrant markets (Tuesday, Wednesday and Sunday mornings) exude charm and local pride…and do a roaring trade in local produce.
Things to do in Annecy
There is a wide choice of both summer and winter sporting and cultural activities in in this splendid setting. Enjoy everything from water activities and cycling (thanks to a safe cycle route running alongside the lake for over 40km) to mountain activities (walking, mountain biking, via-ferrata, canyoning or paragliding) – everything is possible!
Culture vultures will find pleasure in the many museum tours, castles, guided tours and exhibitions. In fact, Annecy and its suburbs have received the much-coveted “Art and History” label.
The pure, clear water flows from the lake into the canals running through the “old town” (Annecy’s historic centre), giving it its picturesque appearance of the “Venice of the Alps”.
Taking a boat trip along the canals is an absolute must when you visit Annecy. And from the water is the best place to view the unique Palis du Fort – a wonderful ancient building in the centre of town.
You must try Annecy cuisine
The local gastronomy takes advantage of both the mountain traditions and the developments of tourism over the last 150 years.
Here the traditional mountain dishes sits alongside great gastronomic cuisine, demonstrated by the fact that no fewer than there are three chefs having received Michelin stars, along with a fourth at nearby Veyrier-du-Lac.
The most famous local products are cheeses, in particular Reblochon and Tome des Bauges. The lake itself offers fine fishes such as Féra or Omble Chevalier.
There is another important speciality: the chocolate factories are famous, in particular with the “Roseau” filled with mountain liqueur!
And just like almost everywhere in France, there is an old wine making tradition, in particular renowned white wines like Apremont and Roussette.