On Your Radar: Annecy, France
On Your Radar: Annecy, France
Perched on the northern tip of one of Europe’s most pristine lakes is the charming medieval city of Annecy. Nicknamed “Venice of the Alps,” this city has three canals winding through it from the Thiou River. If you find yourself in southeastern France, don’t miss wandering through the cobblestone streets, admiring the surrounding Alps or just enjoying the pastel-colored architecture. Learn about the city’s history, lounge in a cafe along the river and revel in the glorious surroundings!
One of the main attractions in this area is Lake Annecy. Fed by mountain springs, the crystal clear water is perfect for swimming and all sorts of water sports. Paddleboard, wakeboard or even scuba dive in the blue waters. Fancy sailing? You can try it at the lake! If you’d prefer to stay dry, there are plenty of sandy beaches where you can sunbathe to your heart’s content.
For a leisurely hike near the lake with astounding views, consider taking the “Tour of the Taillefer Mountain” trail. In just three hours, you will complete one of the most beautiful hikes in the area. Stop for a rest on one of the many benches and gaze at the landscape, or complete it at a faster pace and carry on to the next adventure!
The city itself offers a multitude of things to do. Visit Palais de l’Ile, a 12th-century castle shaped like a ship that is now a history museum. Over the years, the castle has been a prison, courthouse, minting workshop and an administrative center. The castle is uniquely located in the river and splits it into two canals. Cross one of the two pedestrian bridges to access this amazing piece of history.
If you just can’t get enough castles, head to Chateau d’ Annecy in Old Town. This restored castle was home to the Counts of Geneva in the 13th and 14th centuries. Today the castle is a museum. Pay special attention to the changing architecture, which ranges from Medieval to Renaissance. While in Old Town, wander through the winding cobblestone streets, past pastel houses, lovingly decorated with colorful flower boxes.
After all that sightseeing you are likely famished. Take this opportunity to dine al fresco next to one of the canals. Le Fréti is a delightful restaurant serving up cheesy French dishes. Try one of 10 fondue varieties or traditional Swiss raclettes with some homemade, crispy, hot bread. Of course you can’t pass up the French onion soup or the cold cuts platter filled with dried ham, smoked noisette and lamb pancetta.
For more outdoor fun, visit Lover’s Bridge. This iron bridge joins Jardins de l’Europe and Pâquier Esplanade. Jardins de l’Europe are located in front of city hall and offer panoramic views of the lake and picturesque picnic spots. Lounge under a weeping willow or stroll along one of the many paths. Cross the bridge to the Pâquier and utilize the bike path or let your kids ride the mini horses. This area is perfect for just enjoying the great outdoors!
If you love Venice and are looking for another canal city, give Annecy a chance! From the fairytale castles to the astounding natural surroundings, everyone can find something to enjoy. The lake is the perfect place to spend a sunny day, but the churches offer shelter if it happens to rain. Regardless of the weather, Annecy is the perfect canal city for your next adventure!
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