Happy June! It’s certainly have been a quiet year for travel but not for one for researching your must-visit destinations, which I’m sure has crept up in the last 15 months of restrictions and lockdowns. Because of personal circumstances, I have to look to destinations closer to home in the UK and that meant looking at Western France in much more detail to find your hidden and unexpected adventures to undertake – and that means the Alps! Let’s have a look at what’s there.
Annecy is the largest city in Upper Savoy, part of the Rhone region in southeastern France. It is located at the northern tip of Lake Annecy, 35 km south of Geneva and is known as the “pearl” of the French Alps. Annecy is definitely worth adding to your travel list when conditions allow other cities in France and to experience a romantic trip! Annecy is reminiscent of Venice, which is why it is also called “Venice of the Alps” since it is nestled in the heart of the Alps, crossed by beautiful canals, and has one of the most enchanting lakes in France!
Ooh la la!
The old quarter of Annecy is a magical place
With canals crossing the city from one end to the other and making it really magical, the city’s old quarter enchants the visitor. They may notice the resemblance to Venice, with it being so evident that the locals organize their own version of the Venetian carnival, which gives the visitor the feeling that they are in the Italian city – but if you look behind, you’ll see the imposing Alps that adorn the landscape enchantingly.
Annecy is also considered “the pearl of the French Alps” because of the beautiful lake that connects the landscape and makes the city even more attractive. It is one of the best-preserved medieval cities in France and was a province of the Count of Geneva in the 13th century. The comets of Savoy then inhabited it until 1659 and, thanks to these wealthy aristocrats, acquired towers and unique buildings, which Annecy has to this day.
A city with centuries of history
The city played an important role in the conflicts of the Catholic Church and it was called “Rome of the Alps” for a while. Then, it became a French city later, in 1860. However, Annecy became widely known in the late 19th century when tourists began to flock from all over the world for both the beautiful lake and the skiing activities in its mountains. (I don’t blame them!)
The municipality’s purpose was to keep the green in the urban landscape, preserve the medieval buildings and towers of the area, and renovate them. The port, beaches, mountain sports, and the unique medieval settlement in the city centre make Annecy the centre of global tourist interest in summer and winter.
You can spend your days at Annecy wandering through its various beautiful canals. The cobbled streets of Vieille Ville and the old town are decorated with wonderful picturesque houses in pastel colours, which are beautifully combined with the blooming flowers of the area, filling the panoramic landscape with aromas and colours. Perhaps you can enjoy a hot croissant and a drink in one of the dozens of boulangerie, or sit back and enjoy a cool gelato ice cream as you admire all the architectural art captured throughout the city. Who doesn’t like a good gelato?!
Chamonix and the Mont-Blanc
You can also get a little further from Annecy, discovering the surrounding mountains of the Alps. You can visit Chamonix and Mont Blanc, just one hour from Annecy Town. Climbing the cable car to the Aiguille du Midi, you will have the opportunity to discover a great view of the grand Mont Blanc mountain.
In both of these beautiful mountains next to Annecy, you can find some of the best winter resorts to spend your winter holidays enjoying incredible snow skiing moments with your loved ones. And if for so long you have been discouraged by the fact that you have to arrange all these details of your visit, now with the help of Erna Low, you can leave the planning of your stay to the experts.
So, what do you think? Sounds very romantic, right? Or if you’re the solo adventurer like I am, it looks like the perfect way to unwind after these last months with a bit of skiing action and enjoy a picture-perfect poscard of a scenery in the evenings holed up with a big book and…wait for it… a good gelato!