Known as the ‘Pearl of the French Alps’, the alpine city of Annecy is situated on the northern tip of Lake Annecy, two hours from Geneva. The city dates back to the Middle Ages, when Annecy existed as an enclave for bishops during the Catholic Reformation. Since the 19th century, Annecy’s warm climate and lake have made it a tourist centre suitable for watersports, while the winter’s snowfall creates romantic skiing opportunities.
Offering canalside cafés and restaurants, Annecy's Old Town features cobblestone streets and chocolate-box French architecture. The historical churches and parks of Notre Dame de Liesse and Le Palais de I'Île – now a natural history museum offer space for cultural sightseeing and relaxation. Spend your afternoons wandering across Lover’s Bridge to the botanical Gardens of Europe and Le Pâquier. Alternatively, rent a paddleboard on Lake Annecy to see the mountain scenery from a new perspective.
France’s world renowned food culture is very much present in Annecy, with traditional staples like baguettes and croissants or seasonal produce providing the fuel for your mountain walks. Head to the city’s canalside restaurants at Le Poulailler or head to Le Ramoneur Savoyard for cheese fondue and raclette, Crozet pasta, diots sausages and crepes dating back to 1923. You can also visit the farmer’s market on Tuesdays, Fridays and Sunday mornings, while the Fromagerie Pierre Gay found on Rue Carnot is where you’ll find artisanal big wheel cheese typical to the region.