My family and I had the opportunity to travel to Annecy, France at the end of summer and spend a day in the historic, medieval section of the city. From the canals, to the chateaus and amazing views, this lakeside hamlet nestled in the French Alps is so beautiful. We had an amazing day exploring, eating crepes, feeding swans and making memories. Here are a few things we recommend.
Stroll along the Canal
Some of the most recognizable and beautiful views of Annecy, France are along the canal. So, take the time to stroll along it and soak in the atmosphere. If you decide to eat at one of the restaurants along the canal, be prepared to pay tourist attraction prices, however, there is a place on the corner near the main square by the canal that has the best crepes with both sweet and savory options…worth it! In the spring and summer, the flowers hanging from the rails add an extra touch of charm to the already beautiful views.
Within the medieval old town section of Annecy, there are 21 historic monuments to discover. You could turn your relaxing stroll into a scavenger hunt.
Feed the Swans
Within the canal in the Old Town section of Annecy, lives the most beautiful swans. It’s obvious they are fed quite often by people strolling along the canal because they were quite comfortable swimming close to us while we leaned over the railing for a better view and a more accurate bread toss.
The Bubble Man
At the main square in the old town, there is a bubble man. A busker, who entertains the children by creating a magnificent amount of bubbles with a rope, soap, water and a bucket. I’m certain he does it for the tips, but the happiness he creates is contagious. A symphony of delighted giggles and playful squeals filled the square as the children followed closely behind the bubble man. They twirled and leaped into the air in their efforts to pop the bubbles. The onlookers, mostly comprised of the creators of said poppers, smiled on with delight taking in the simple beauty of the moment.
The Chateau d’Annecy, like many castles and chateaus in Europe, perches on the highest point in the city. The elevated views from its exterior walls of the alps, lake and village receding below are impressive. The interior is comprised of an art gallery and a museum of local history. There are still some architectural details to enjoy, but it is not decorated in a particular time period or style.
Gardens of Europe
On the shores of Le lac d’Annecy (Lake Annecy), is the Jardins de l’Europe. The views of the French Alps from across the lake in this garden are breathtaking. There are several large grassy areas for a picnic or sport. Two playgrounds for younger kids and great sculptures. My daughter and I played tag in this park until we were both out of breath and a little sweaty. People of every age were out enjoying the weather and views.
Chateau de Menthon
This chateau is a short drive from Annecy, but it’s definitely worth the trip to see this beauty. Speaking of beauty, it was the inspiration for the castle in Disney’s Sleeping Beauty. It has been inhabited by the Counts of Menthon for more than 1000 years, which is quite an accomplishment. It was the home to St. Bernard – patron saint of all mountaineers and protector of travelers. The panoramic view from its upper terrace is gorgeous. Some of the most amazing views I have seen throughout my travels in Europe. The interior is decorated with heirloom pieces from the Menthon family.
If you’re looking to plan an outing with a bit more adventure, this area offers paragliding, sailing and nautical experiences on the lake, hiking the nearby mountain trails, and biking around Lake Annecy.
My family and I enjoyed our day in Annecy, France and hope this blog inspires you to plan your own trip to this beautiful, lakeside, medieval city nestled in the French Alps.