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!