Hi Frugalistas! For this week’s midweek postcard I’m visiting a little gem in the French Alps. Most trains to Chamonix stop in Annecy (pronounced ahn-see) making it a convenient “stop over”…..
Where to stay in Annecy
Like many midsize European towns, Annecy has an historic centre with, a rather drab, modern outer area. There are many hotels in the more modern area (including a number of well known chain hotels), but I really do recommend a stay in the historic centre. It’s where you will be most, if not all of your stay, and to be honest, it’s just so much nicer.
What to do in Annecy
While Annecy is not a ski resort, there are definitely plenty of things – both active and not so active to tempt. The lake itself is somewhere you will want to spend some time. Whether it’s a lake cruise, paddle boats, or just a walk around its shore, you will be around the lake.
Then, of course, there’s the old town itself. The perfect place to get lost. While it dominates the old town skyline, the chateau is best experienced from the outside. Apart from some rotating modern art displays there’s not much in it. Instead, I recommend a wander around the little old streets around it. Quaint, green and very picturesque.
The biggest market day is Saturday, but there are also good local food markets in the old town on Tuesday, Friday and Sunday mornings. Pay particular attention to the local cheese stalls – probably the equal of any local cheese stalls I’ve seen anywhere in France.
Whilst it is nestled in the Alps, Annecy itself is actually quite flat. So, of course, it is perfect for walking (around the lake), and cycling (around the lake).
If the weather closes in, Lyon is literally only 2hrs away by train if a day trip is in order. The other obvious day trip is to Chamonix, Albertville or a little further away to Evian.
What to eat in Annecy
Because of its climate food in Annecy is best described as “hearty”. Its fabulous pastureland is cow heaven, so dairy definitely rules. Cheese comes in all sorts of guises, apart from the usual cheese plate. Think fondue, or the traditional Savoyarde variation raclette – semi-melted cheese with chunks of meat, bread, cornichons and sometimes even potato. For those who prefer a little carb with their cheese, why not consider a gratin Savoyard? Potato slices baked with cream, garlic, and of course, cheese.
If cheese is not really your thing, or you want something a little lighter, how about some local lake fish?
While not known specifically for its wine, local white wines can be very good, and the local beer is excellent.
Regardless of how long you spend there, I know you will love your visit to Annecy.