Lake Annecy – So Picturesque!
Oh wow, Lake Annecy is so much more than we imagined it would be. It is a truly picturesque place to visit. In fact, it’s probably one of the most beautiful towns and lakes that we have ever seen. This is one place that is going onto our list of top 10 places to visit.
Lake Annecy is an incredibly beautiful medieval Alpine town in France near the Swiss border with stunning views of the Swiss and French Alps.
Arriving on Good Friday was perhaps not a good idea as the place was so busy and the traffic was very slow moving. It didn’t help that our sat nav sent us left down a narrow road, which ended at the entrance to an underground car park. What with the queues of traffic it was very difficult to turn our large vehicle round. Luckily there were police directing the traffic who saw us back and got us out of a very sticky situation.
We finally got through the traffic to our campsite and as soon as we drove in the stress of the last hour dissolved as we looked across to the mountains and lake at the end of the site.
Au Coeur du Lac, Sevirer, Annecy, France
GPS: N45°51’ 17” E6°8’ 39”
This Site is listed in the ACSI Discount Camping Book available here. This book is definitely worth getting for its discount card that you can use for out of season camping.
Stunning campsite on the lake with wonderful views of the Alps and an easy 5km bike ride along the dedicated cycle track to Annecy.
The whole Easter weekend saw traffic streaming into the town which is not surprising given that it is such a beautiful place. Even though the town was busy it didn’t spoil it as the town was buzzing and the atmosphere was great.
From the back of our campsite, we could access the lake from a gate straight onto the cycle path. The path is a traffic free, dedicated walking and cycling path which runs around more than 50% of the lake’s circumference (the total distance around all of the lake is 42km).
The lake has beautiful crystal clear, clean turquoise coloured water which is considered to be the cleanest in Europe. With the mountain backdrop, it is simply stunning at all times of the day and in all weather. If you visit Annecy you really need to hire a bike from the numerous bike hire shops and take a tour of the lake for yourself (you really won’t be disappointed). We just loved the peaceful calm ambience once out of town. Along the edge of the lake, there are many small beach and recreation areas for families to picnic and take part in various water sports.
I particularly enjoyed stopping and looking at the amazing Alpine villas and chateaus along the way. We rode along the Western shore of the lake which is the flattest, avoiding the east side as it’s much more hilly and I’m afraid without an electric bike I don’t do hills.
There is plenty to do around the lake with swimming, cycling, running, paragliding, kitesurfing, scuba diving, kayaking and rambling in the nearby forests and hills. The lake near the town is lined with boats and pedalos for hire or you can take a one hour narrated boat trip of the lake which is what we did. The boat trip is a must do and we were so pleased we have done it to get up close to the amazing views of the mountains and spectacular shoreline. The photos just don’t do them justice.
Had we been staying just one more day here it would have been the start of the boating season and some of the boats will be providing dining for the summer months and providing longer trips where you can hop on and off the boat at different stops.
If you walk through the park with the lovely gardens you come to Lovers Bridge and from here there are also great views of the lake and mountains. There are plenty of playgrounds for small children dotted along the lake.
We particularly enjoyed watching the kids riding around on the hobby horse bikes.
The Old town was really lively and buzzing with lots of people. There are plenty of narrow cobblestone streets, charming bridges, interesting arches, passages and canals winding their way through the town.
There were a few street entertainers around.
The canals are really scenic and reminded us a little of Venice without the boats and gondolas. They are surrounded by colourful houses and very old buildings which date back to the 1400’s and earlier. Attached to the railings along the canals are many pretty flower boxes. There are plenty of places lined along the canals to eat and drink and in fact, there are endless restaurants, cafes and bars that you can choose from in this town, but sitting with a glass of wine looking out to the pretty canal is really quite dreamy and romantic.
Just a short stroll up the hill is the Chateau d’ Annecy, the medieval castle which dates back to the 12th century and towers over the town. The Chateau is now a museum.
There is a lively and attractive market held around the canals three times a week. One is a food market selling fresh bread, meats and cheeses (ideal for a picnic on the shoreline of the lake). Another day there is a clothing and shoe market and a flea market.
We were particularly looking forward to seeing and photographing the highlight of the town The Palais de L’isle which is situated in the middle of one of the canals but unfortunately, it is, being renovated (scaffolding and tarpaulin are covering it). It isn’t due to be finished until May 2017. Below is a picture of how it is now and one of how it should look (picture taken from the internet).
The town is not only historical but is clean, friendly and has a great atmosphere. It is a great walking city and we wandered aimlessly for hours exploring the little alleyways and small streets which were crammed full with interesting shops (selling just about everything you can think of), stopping off when our feet got tired for a coffee in one of the quaint coffee bars and a glass of wine in one of the many bars lining the canal. Walking further into town and a more modern part of Annecy is revealed with a great shopping complex.