Top 5 Reasons to Visit Annecy, France
1. Lac Annecy
Lac Annecy is one of the clearest most beautiful lakes in the region. And that’s saying a lot considering Annecy is just about an hour drive from Lake Geneva in Switzerland. You can get spectacular views of the lake from the hills and mountains surrounding it, walk around it on the beautiful pathway, participate in water sports and activities, or take a swim! The water was too inviting for us to pass up a swim, so we went to the beach club and took a swim. The fee was nominal and credit cards were accepted. There are a few different swim spots on the lake just outside of the village of Annecy. If you make the trip, I highly encourage you to take advantage of this beautiful water. The spot where we swam was probably about 4.5″ deep. It kept me on my toes and there was no gradual increase like a normal beach, so it’s not ideal for non swimmers without floatation devices.
2. The Food
The walk from the bus to the historic village was about 10 min. We chose a very hot day to visit Annecy. So a natural first stop was the ice cream parlor, which is where we realized we were in France now and we needed Euros. Luckily I had a few leftover from my layover in Dublin. It was just enough to cover two ice creams! I’m not sure we actually ate any real food in Annecy. We had ice cream for lunch and french fries followed by Profiteroles for dessert. When in France…
3. Palais de L’Isle (Old Prison of Annecy)
One of Annecy’s best tourist attractions is this historic jail located in the canal. Unfortunately it was under renovations when I visited in July of 2016, but it was still quite charming despite the scaffolding in the background. I’m from NYC, I am used to scaffolding everywhere. Today the beautiful 12th Century building is home to a history museum. We did not enter the museum, but we enjoyed our lunch just to the side of this stunning building at one of the lovely cafes.
4. The Village of Annecy
Just wandering the cobblestone streets of Annecy along the beautiful canals can be an absolute delight. The hustle and bustle at the ice cream shops and clothing stores is wonderful. You can grab a table at a cafe along the canal or take a walk down by the lake.
5. Chateau d’Annecy
This 12th Century masterpiece still stands at the top of the village of Annecy. It is unlike many castles in the region which showcase period pieces from the history of the castle. Instead, Chateau d’Annecy has several pieces of modern art on display. I always love to walk through a castle and explore the layout, the rooms, and the views, but the modern art displays were a surprising twist! If you reach the top floors of the castle, you will encounter an absolutely stunning view of the village and Lac Annecy. Access to the castle is up a steep and slippery slope.
- Annecy is best visited with proper walking shoes.
- The currency used is the Euro, so if you are coming from nearby Switzerland, make sure you have the right currency.
- Bring a swimsuit!
- Protect your belongings. It is a popular tourist destination in the summer and pickpockets and thieves are in abundance.
I traveled to Annecy, France from Geneva, Switzerland. Bus rides to the area can be as little as 5 Euro each way, but was a bit more expensive for us in the peak summer month of July. The journey was about one hour, and we did everything mentioned above in one day. If interested in other day trips from Geneva, check out my article on Gruyere & Montreux.