Annecy is a city in the Haute-Savoie department in the Rhône-Alpes region in south-eastern France. I stumbled upon pictures of this town by chance as I researched things to do in Lyon, which was my original choice. Only a 3.5-hour drive from Zürich, it was easy to decide to go here. So, we packed our backpacks and took our dogs with us and headed to Annecy to check if this town was as pretty as in the pictures I found.
We had no agenda, other than stroll in the old town, try some local brews and see the lake. Here are our favorite memories from this weekend getaway.
One thing I loved about Annecy is how pet friendly they are. By now I should not be surprised to find a pet friendly town in Europe, because that is how it has been so far pretty much everywhere we visited with our furry children Diego and Valentina (knock on wood). The fact we can hop in a (rental) car and just drive to a different country without having to worry about finding a dog sitter (which are very expensive in Switzerland) and knowing they can come with us to almost anywhere, even inside the restaurants (amazing, I know!) it gives us a peace of mind. At some point it was hot for them, so we decided to leave them at the hotel, with the air conditioner and TV on of course (yes, they are spoiled). The staff of the hotel didn’t have any issues with that, as long as they didn’t bark or disturbed other guests. Our dogs are experienced travelers and they have no problem adjusting to new environments very quickly, so that really helps to have a nice experience.
What to do?
Hang out in pavement cafes, mountain-gazing along the lakeshore, swimming in the lake (among Europe’s purest), and cycling around it!
1. Visit Vieille Ville (old town)
Annecy’s has a very photogenic medieval old town, with crystal-clear canals and cobblestone streets.
Grab a picnic at the waterfront, catch a music event or simply soak your feet in the clear water. Then steal a kiss at the Pont des Amours (Lovers’ Bridge).
3. Château d’Annecy
Castle from the 13th- to 16th-century once home to the Counts of Geneva. This is one of the most recognizable landmarks from Annecy.
4. Boat tour on Lake Annecy (dogs ARE allowed)
One-hour commentary cruise of the lake, leaving from Annecy without stop. Lets you contemplate the beauty of the purest lake in Europe and its stunning setting in the heart of the French Alps.
5. Ice-Cream at Glacier des Alpes
16 Rue Perrière, 74000 Annecy
Ice-cream made on-site. Creamy and delicious. Worth the wait.
6. Grab a beer at Beer O’ Clock
18 fbg Sainte Claire 74000, Annecy
They have this concept where you load a card with any amount of money you want and then you select and poor your own beer by placing the loaded card on a sensor next to the tap. You pay based on quantity and the price of the beer. When you run out of credit in the card, no beer comes out from the tap. And they have a decent variety of beers on tap.
7. Try juicy burgers from 231 East Street.
9 fbg Sainte-Claire 74000, Annecy (very close to Beer O’ Clock)
All right, I know what your are thinking. Why is she eating burgers in France? Well, let me explain something. After living in Switzerland for a year and a half, at some point you start craving burgers. I mean real, juicy burgers without necessarily paying an arm and leg for them. That is how we ended up here and I am so glad we did! When we arrived they were almost closing and I almost started crying, so the employee said, all right, but you can’t eat inside because we are cleaning. No problem, make it to go. We ended up seating on the chairs they had outside anyway. Back to the burgers. They are delicious. That’s all you need to know. Oh! and the french fries? crispy and made at the moment. And the prices are great too.
8. Sample the cheese and taste the wine of the region
We also tried some cheese and wine from the region. There are plenty of small shops where you can get a free tasting of local cheese and receive recommendation from locals about their wines.
9. Visit the market
Fresh fruits, vegetables, local cheeses and more!
Where to stay?
37 rue Vaugelas 74000 Annecy Phone: +33450450578
The pictures did not lie. Everywhere I looked was like seeing a live postcard. I found Annecy to be charming, quaint and beautiful. The people super friendly, the food delicious and easy to travel to with dogs. Highly recommended destination! Oh, if you are near Geneva, this town is only a 1 hour away. Also day tours leave daily from Geneva to Annecy, just ask your local TI office.