For those in search of a great weekend or a few days’ trip destination in France, Annecy is the perfect place and one definitely worth visiting. Located in Haute-Savoie and perching at the tip of the terrific Lake Annecy, the city looks over snow-capped mountains; a remarkable sight. Whether summer or winter, finding things to enjoy in a few days isn’t much of a ticklish task in Annecy.
Here Are A Few Things Worth Seeing in Annecy
The Spectacular Views of Lake Annecy
A postcard image probably comes to mind when you think of Annecy; the lake’s clear water reflecting the mountains that encircle it. It is truly the most captivating attraction in the town. You can start your adventure with a short walk on the lake’s shore, and you will see how translucent the water is and the charm it boasts of.
You can commence proceedings also with a walk from Paquier, the massive lawn boarding the lake, and continue towards the Jardins de l’Europe (Gardens of Europe). With this itinerary, visitors are expected to go through one of the major attractions in town- the Pont des Amours (Lovers’ bridge). Like its Parisian counterpart, it has ‘love locks’ tied to it.
The Jardins de l’Europe is incredibly chic for the lake view as well as the massive and imposing multi-centennial trees that are there. On Paquier’s left side, visitors can reach the Imperial Palace gardens- Annecy’s most luxurious hotel. It is situated at the border of Annecy le Vieux, the Annecy’s adjacent town that, despite its name, is a different place from the old town of Annecy. Fancy the chance of going on the lakeshores to discover a beach and the starting point for a lot of nautical activities to indulge in the lake.
>>Also Read: Is Lake Annecy Expensive?
Take an Exciting Segway Stroll on the Lakeshore
A brilliant way to discover the place is to pick a Segway stroll, a cool activity to do on Lake Annecy shore. You might have attempted it before; it is a beautiful place to start as the lake’s surrounding area is a pedestrian-only side. Tour operators offer trips from half-an-hour to hours. It is an exciting activity to do with the family.
For the tourists who are big on aquatics, Lake Annecy has a variety of options like paddleboarding. Interestingly, you can be lucky to meet the ex-captain and coach of the French wakeboarding team, catamaran and scuba diving, and yacht rentals with the Annecy Sailing Regatta Society.
Relax at the Beaches
When visiting Annecy in the summer, there are lots of grassy or sandy beaches marked along the beautiful Lake Annecy. Immerse yourself in the clear water and swim- a fantastic way to relax and absorb the picturesque views that the city has on offer.
>>Also Read: Is Lake Annecy Clean?
Buy Items at Annecy Farmer’s Market
The town has many markets opened throughout the week, selling different market wares and fresh food. From the Old Town Market on the Rue Sainte-Claire (Tuesday, Friday, and Sunday) to Au Rendez-Vous du Terroir (Tuesday to Saturday), there is always a place to be especially if you will be self-catering while in Annecy.
Ride on a Bike Around Lake Annecy
Those who like to stay fit and those who prefer to be sporty even on holiday will enjoy a bike ride around Lake Annecy. There is close to 42 km of bike path that is a superb way of discovering the areas. They will need to stop on a few occasions to adorn the magnificent view. This is also another way to discover some places without crowds, especially in summer.
Discover Annecy From the Sky With Paragliding
For the audacious visitors, a paragliding session above the lake will be a breathtaking activity. The view is phenomenal, little wonder why the town is the most popular paragliding site in the continent and one of the world’s most inviting.
Many tour companies offer this service from as low as 95 euros for about 20 minutes of action. Visitors can also choose if they want a stupendous thrill acrobatic flight or something more laidback.
The paragliding session offer starts from Forclaz pass or the petit town of Talloires. Remember that this should be booked in advance.
Do Nautical Activities on Lake Annecy
If you are not big on the activities I have mentioned so far, you should try out the many nautical options when you are at Lake Annecy. From water-skiing and wakeboarding to the pedal boat, everyone is certain to find a nautical activity that suits them.
To enjoy the calmest places of the lake or just swim a little further from the shore, you can find on the lakeshore different types of pedal boats and many other types that are available for rent. If you find this a tad expensive to accomplish, there are free activities to partake in like swimming or getting a tan in one of the great lake’s beaches.
>>Also Read: Most Beautiful Lakes in France
Explore Annecy’s Old Town and Its Canals
Apart from the lake, Annecy is also known for its impeccable old town and the major canal passing through it. That is why the city is also referred to as la Venise des Alpes (the Venice of the Alps). With its arches and cobbled streets, this is, without doubt, one of the attractions of the city.
In addition, the old town is where you can take the popular picture with the Palais de l’Isle (Isle Palace) or “l’écluse Fleurie (the flower tide gate on the Thiou canal), situated between two canals. You can take a walk in the little alleys and follow the canal along the Louis-Lachenal promenade. With lots of areas in the shade, it is an incredible small walk to do in the summertime.
Here too, is where you can find most of the town’s restaurants and the petit souvenirs shop where you can purchase local items and the nice placemat that has the lake’s picture. There are also some regular French shops with fantastic Haute-Savoie cold cuts and cheese. About the excellent local cuisine, if you are lucky enough to be in town on a Tuesday, Friday, or Sunday morning, you should try and visit the old town market.
Dining in Annecy
Walking in Annecy’s old town streets is great, but doing so while having the best ice cream around is even worth it. Le Glacier des Alpes is a good ice cream spot you should try. Some have even rated it as the best in the country. They provide over 45 flavors to the delight of visitors. The town is also a great place to have a wonderful tartiflette, diots de Savoie (sausages), croziflette, cheese fondue, or fishes from the lake perch.
Chateau d’Annecy (Annecy Castle-museum)
You should see the Castle museum in Annecy. It is situated atop the small hill, and you can easily meander there from the old town. Adults can enter at a low price with which they can visit the Castle Museum and the temporary exhibitions. It takes close to an hour to visit, but the view from the castle is the major interest here for many visitors.
Annecy International Animated Film Festival
Every year, this world-acclaimed film festival is hosted in June. Big wigs in the industry showcase their movies, spanning from local animations to 3D animated graphics and few original works. The interesting thing about the festival is that a movie projection is organized on the Paquier lawn every evening to the pleasure of onlookers.
The Annecy Lake Festival
The Annecy Lake Festival is another must-see for tourists and locals. This superb fireworks show takes place every year on the first Saturday of August and is the biggest in the continent. From Lake Annecy, fireworks are shot, and the stands are constructed everywhere around Paquier, so it is enjoyable. There are close to 46000 paid seats, but you can see it from there. I recommend that you hunt for a cracking viewing spot early, as the show brings over 100,000 visitors annually.
Is Annecy Worth Visiting? – Summary
Truly, Annecy is a small town worth visiting; it is for travelers who are given to a refined sensuous enjoyment. With its pleasant shores, cyclists and walkers can get in the holiday mood so easily. And there are even popular resorts in the city that have a reputation for blending leisure activities, relaxation, and water sports well. Annecy is all about the action!
>>Also Read: Best Places to Relax in France