After Lyon, we started using trains to get where we were going.
Our next stop was in Annecy for a few days.
Annecy is not far from the border of Switzerland and is close to some famous ski resorts -like Chamonix. It is situated next to Lake Annecy, which is about 7 miles long.
Prehistoric people were settled around Lake Annecy as far back as 4,000 B.C. The Romans showed up in 62 B.C. Over the centuries, the area including Annecy was governed first by the Counts of Geneva and later the Dukes of Savoy. It only became part of France in 1860.
In the few blocks from the train station to our hotel, we were transported back in time even though our hotel had a bit of a modern funky attitude in the lobby and breakfast/bar area.
The hotel was perfectly located at the edge of Old Annecy, which was a maze of a few streets with criss-crossing bridges and narrow connecting alleyways -which ended at the lovely lakefront parks.
We’d arrived later in the day, so we only wandered far enough to find something for dinner that first night.
After dinner, Mike wanted to take a short walk -so we headed uphill toward the castle.
The next morning, we began wandering our way through the streets.
Annecy is situated next to the lake where the outlet for the Thiou River is. The river is only about 2 miles long and splits into different canals as it passes through Old Annecy.
The first thing we noticed is that it was a market day. The streets were packed with various food displays, which were so pretty.
Of course it didn’t take me long to find the nearest church! This was the Cathedral de San Pedro and dates from the 1500s.
I liked the detail on these windows.
There were quite a few fountains tucked in here and there.
The Palais de Ille sits on an island in the river. It dates back to the 12th century. It has had many incarnations over time – as a prison, a residence, a court house, a school for stone carvers, and an old folks home, among other things. It was scheduled to be demolished at the end of the 1800s, but instead was saved and listed as an historic monument in 1900. It has undergone renovations over the years since then and is now used as a museum.
This is the Palais from a bit further away:
We walked to the park at Lake Annecy and enjoyed the view.
The picture below is the view of town with the castle above as we began to retrace our steps back into Old Annecy.
Here are a few “Doors of Annecy” pics:
I loved this one because …my photo isn’t crooked, the door is!
On our second day in Annecy, it rained. We decided it was a good day to tour the castle. The castle was built between the 12th and 16th centuries and ultimately abandoned in the 17th. The town acquired the castle in 1953 and it has been used as a museum since then. I was more interested in trying to see the actual castle than the displays.
Our ticket included the Palais de Ille, so we visited there too. The entrance was across a small bridge that opened into a courtyard. Like the castle, I was interested to see the old building, but all of the rooms were full of various displays about the history of the area. I only took a few pictures.
On our way back to the hotel, we saw this place… but it was closed. It remains a mystery about when Beer O’Clock actually is.
Annecy had a LOT of ice cream shops too!
On our third day in Annecy, we rented bikes to ride around the lake. Rain wasn’t in the forecast, but the day began overcast and gloomy.
We began our ride by crossing the street and heading toward the lake. This bridge is called the “Lovers Bridge”.
As we rounded the top of the lake and started along the other side – the bike trail was separate from the road for nearly the whole way.
Annecy is definitely a destination for outdoor activities -on the lake, in the mountains and in the air. We were enjoying seeing the para-gliders up in the sky as we rode along, but were lucky to see one coming in just as we passed the landing area.
I definitely got my hills workout! We went gradually uphill for several miles before going down a really steep, long downhill. There was no separate trail for the downhill part and very little room for cars to safely pass the bikers. Fortunately, the drivers were very patient through there.
After the big downhill, the rest of the way back to Annecy was fairly flat.
We’d started riding pretty early in the morning -so this was the first place we saw that was open where we could take a “coffee break”. We enjoyed sitting on the dock while we drank our diet-Cokes.
At the the South end of the lake, we turned to head back to Annecy. Along that side of the lake, the trail became more of a rails-to-trail type of path. We didn’t see as many views of the lake.
As we were closing our circle and getting close to Annecy, we saw this sign announcing the city limits. We’d seen this type of picturesque sign near many of the towns along the way -rather than just a cut and dried road sign.
The bike trail had its own traffic signals in Annecy.
Here is the bike GPS map of our ride:
The whole trip around the lake was about 24 miles.
After we turned in our bikes, we headed back to our hotel. I took a few last pictures along the way since we were leaving in the morning.
Mike and I were charmed by Annecy. We liked the old buildings mixed with the little shops and restaurants that lined the streets.
Categories: France - Annecy