Annecy, France

Saturday morning, we took a train from Lyon, France to Annecy and arrived around 10:00 AM. Annecy was a town I’d never heard of and learned about through one of those 5 minute travel videos that pop up on Facebook. I think the theme was “lesser known travel destinations.” As soon as I saw Annecy on it, I sent the link to Dan with a comment along the lines of, “Oh my god, we need to go here” and 10 exclamation points. It looked so gorgeous. I wanted to visit Annecy, and after doing some guided iFit workouts in Interlaken, Dan really wanted to visit Switzerland. Thus how our France/Switzerland itinerary was born.

[Just as an quick aside – folks keep asking us if this trip was another one of our amazing deals. It was and it wasn’t. It was in the sense that we got amazingly cheap plane tickets through TAP Air Portugal: $630 for two people from NYC > Paris and back from Zurich > NYC, with short layovers in Portugal on each end. But it wasn’t one of those all-inclusive, everything-is-planned-for-you trips. Dan did most of our planning once we knew where we wanted to go. He’s sort of the best like that.]

When we arrived in Annecy, it was too early to check into our hotel, so we strolled the streets and looked around. It was picturesque: Old buildings sitting on top of the canal, swans and ducks swimming, restaurants, cafes, and bridges at nearly every intersection. It was definitely a slower pace than the hustle and bustle of Paris and Lyon we had just experienced.


We made our way to gorgeous Lake Annecy. Because we had time to kill and because it was a sunny day, we ended up renting a boat. As we cruised the lake, we could see snow-capped mountains and lush green terraces all around us.


Annecy’s nickname is Venice of the Alps. I don’t think that’s really a fair comparison because they are so different–and Annecy is much larger and has a giant lake–but I can see what people mean.

Later in the day, we decided to rent bikes and pedal around the lake. We biked 6.5 miles, watching people tan and swim on the shores and stopping to watch some older men play bocce.

Our dinner that night was a baguette, a hunk of sharp, delicious cheese, and vin (for me, Coca Cola for Dan) picnic-style in the park. We people-watched and felt the last of the sun on our backs.

Unfortunately, the second day was a washout and I woke up with a cold. I thought maybe I felt like crap due to the fact that we inadvertently took up smoking here (literally everyone smokes. It’s impossible to avoid it). But no, legit cold. We made the most of the day and visited an old castle and prison, both now museums.

We walked around in the rain window shopping and of course eating. I also took a nap in the middle of day and I think that is the first time in vacation history I can say that. I blame it on the cold.

We finished our time in Annecy strolling through an old cemetery and having dinner at an Italian restaurant. Because of the proximity to the Italy border, Annecy had a surprising number of Italian food spots. I got truffle mushroom linguine and Dan got gnocchi in a cream pistachio sauce. Both were tremendous!


Overall, the bar was set high for Annecy and it absolutely lived up to those expectations, and more. I would encourage anyone traveling to southern France to add it to your list!

Onto Zermatt, Switzerland!


Oh, Paris, I was so wrong about you.

Out of all of the cities Dan and I planned for this two week trip to France and Switzerland, Paris was the one I was looking forward to the least. I had it in my head that the people would be stuck up, crime would be rampant, and I’d be disappointed with the cuisine. I was thankfully wrong on all accounts. Here are some of my favorite things from Paris:

  1. Our cab driver from the airport.When we told him the name and street our boutique hotel was on, he answered back in French what I can only assume is, “Where the hell is that?” Thus started about a 15 minute conversation in which he didn’t speak a lick of English and we spoke the 20 French words we knew.  It was a pretty one-sided conversation. He must have said “Aye, aye, aye,” sprinkled in with a few “mama mia”s and the “get out of here” hand gesture forty times, as he flipped through a street book on Paris and we watched the pouring rain come down. After an eternity, something clicked and we were finally off. For a guy who drove cars for a living, he really, really hated traffic. We heard another twenty “ayes,” and sighs, as Dan and I chuckled to ourselves. I think my favorite part though, was when he nearly ran into a bicyclist, and instead of either of them screaming at one another, the bicyclist gave the driver a smile and a thumbs up, and the driver sat back to clap and laugh at the near miss.
  2. Drinking coffee and people watching. Parisians seem to have invented people watching and enjoy it as much as they like to smoke (which is a lot). At every cafe, the chairs face the street instead of the person you’re with, so that you can sip your espresso and openly stare at everyone walking by. It’s awesome.
  3. Macarons.

    HOW HAD NEITHER OF US EVER HAD A MACARON?! And why did we both think they would be hard as a rock? They are delicious, magical creatures and might just be my new favorite thing. Like getting gelato in Italy, I think we might need to start a daily macaroon count. I’m up to 10. I must do better.
  4. The architecture.
    Everything is so old and so beautiful. We stopped countless times just to point out some decorative feature of a building to one another.
  5. The Seine.
    From strolling along its bank, to seeing the people who came out at night to wine and dine on it, the Seine was absolutely beautiful. We took a 1 hour cruise at night that brought us by the Notre Dame, the Eiffel Tower, and many other beautiful buildings and bridges.
  6. The Eiffel Tower.
    It’s bigger and more beautiful than I could have ever imagined. I don’t know why it looks so small in photos, but it’s just slightly shorter than the Empire State Building. Dan and I braved it and took a ride all the way up to the very top! I got a little wobbly in the knees (having a touch of Vertigo at the moment and that wasn’t helping), but Dan was a champ and walked the entire perimeter. Pro tip: visit it at night in the pouring rain — no lines, no waiting, no one trying to sell you shit!
  7. The rain.

    I know, I know. Paris in the rain, can we get a little more cliche. But I’m telling you, we found it beautiful and didn’t mind being soaking wet.
  8. Arc de Triomphe.

    I had no idea you could go up the top of it! (Can you tell I did a lot of research in preparation for this trip? TGFD – Thank God For Dan). Yeah, you can definitely go to the top – you just have to walk up 284 stairs. To quote our cab driver, Aye! Our quads were burning and my head was spinning, but we made it. The top gave us spectacular views.  Also, I found my family name carved into it!
  9. Paul and his sandwichesWe discovered some chain called Paul which allowed us to get $4 baguettes with cheese and veggies, as we strolled the streets. We love how passionately people love their bread here and feel right at home.
  10. Escargot.
    As delicious as they are fun to get out of their shell. I had never had them before, but really enjoyed. I couldn’t help but feel like Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman where she sends one flying across the room and says, “Slippery little suckers.”

We’re off to Lyon, France now!