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During our ten days road trip through France, one of the stops we planned for, was a 48 hours stay by the Lake Annecy. After we stopped in Beaune for one night, we left towards Annecy, a popular village by the French Alps. The city of Annecy is the capital of Haute-Savoie district. It lies on the northern tip of the Lake Annecy, only 22 miles from Geneve in Switzerland. I have heard of Annecy and how charming it was, and I wasn’t disappointed. The landscape was so beautiful with the clear waters of the lake in the foreground and French Alps in the background, no wonder the city is nicknamed “Pearl of French Alps” by French geographers.
Coming from the heat of Paris to Lake Annecy’s beautiful “cool” weather was a relief. Lake’s water held +25C and was perfect – it was clear and warm.
Lake Annecy and things to do
There are tons of things to do around Lake Annecy, and we planned for at least one hike while staying here. We also found a small plane company which does flights over the lake and the French Alps that we booked for one evening. The first day we drove up to the Le Col de la Forclaz by Talloires just on the other side of the lake, to check out the views. You should check out this viewpoint if you are ever in the area. The view of the lake Annecy from the viewpoint was stunning. Activities in the city of Annecy and around Lac Annecy (French name) are diverse. They are suitable for families with kids, couples, and group of friends.
There are several things to do in Annecy in summer. You can do physical activities such as cycling, hiking, rafting, climbing or you can visit several chateau and museums. And one of the easiest ways to see a lot in a short time and learn some history is a Segway tour. We tend to do it when we are in a new place for the first time.
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Or how about Foodie experience with local organic products and wine.
The city of Annecy holds several exhibitions of a different kind during the year. Check out Lac Annecy official tourism site for dates and activities.
But did you know that you can do many winter activities around Lake Annecy? You can go skiing, glacier walking, heliski or ice climbing?
We are very laid back and chill, we love to spend some days by the pool or on the beach, but we also like to explore nature or a city. Since we had the beach at our doorstep at the hotel, we went exploring the landscape.
At the viewpoint, there were two paragliding platforms and many paragliders in the air. Our 12-year-old was bragging about how tough he was who wasn’t afraid to do the paragliding. We are just like the next pair of parents – wanted to teach him a lesson. The next day we drove back, and he had to do it! And I’ll tell you he was tough even thou he was nervous.
Neither my husband nor I did the paragliding since we were going to fly over the alps later that day. Cause you know – we are ain’t millionaires :)) But, guess what?? As we were waiting for Aleks to land and get back up, we got a phone call from the plane company that canceled our trip due to terrible weather conditions later in the evening 🙁
I have to say that the guys who organized paragliding and instructors were great. They had a GoPro and took a lot of shots and video while flying. The instructor spoke English well, and Aleks could steer the sail. Overall we felt very safe. If you want to try it, look up Airmax Parapente or search them up on tripadvisor.com.
Ok, so back to the planned hikes – I had my tights and my Nikes on and was ready to go, straight after junior came back after his paragliding. We were walking down to meet our son and guess what – my husband’s leg injury kicked in. So here I was in the beautiful French Alps, in lovely weather and was not going to hike, paraglide or on a plane trip over the mountains 🙁
I still had one thing I planned for – explore Annecy, which I heard so many beautiful things. The first evening we had in Annecy it was pouring rain, so I thought “hey, new day tomorrow.” The next evening we went to Annecy it was more than pouring. It was thunder and lighting and traffic jam in and out of the city. So we managed to turn half the way, stop at McDonald’s to get some “food” for Aleks and drove back to the hotel. I don’t do good without food or sleep (that’s the worst case) so luckily for everybody the restaurant at our hotel had available table for us.
Hotel on Lake Annecy
Our accommodation for the stay was Le Clos Marcel hotel in the village called Duingt, just 10-15 min drive from Annecy. We were very excited about what room and service we would get, as I have heard that I shouldn’t expect too much from hotels when I book through a third-party provider. Well, let me tell you one thing – this was the third time I used Booking.com or Hotels.com, and I couldn’t complain at all. We got a great room and an excellent service – every time!
Le Clos Marcel Hotel
Hotel Le Clos Marcel is located ideally on the banks of Lake Annecy in a little village called Duingt, 15 minutes outside Annecy (by car). It is a 4-star hotel with only 14 rooms. Le Clos Marcel has a private beach on Lake Annecy, a 5-star restaurant, free parking, an outside hot tub, excellent service, and beautiful rooms with gorgeous views! I was so lucky to find and book it – as they had only one room left.
Our room had a balcony and was located on the second floor. There are seven rooms located on the ground floor with belonging patios and seven rooms on the second floor with belonging balconies. Our room had an annex with a double bed, and another double bed and massive glass doors to the balcony with beautiful view on the entrance floor. The bathroom was also located on the entrance floor, and it was decorated with dark tiles which gave you a spa feeling. The free amenities in the bathroom were from L’Occitane, which I loved.
The hotel has a 5-star restaurant with beautiful French cuisine – the prices are accordingly 🙂 At the time of our stay the restaurant had a waiting list on weekends, and I recommend you to book a table even if you are a guest at the hotel.
Hotel Le Clos Marcel is located 10-15 min car drive to Annecy and 20 min to the hiking trails on the other side of the lake.
Hotel’s beachfront, as seen from the lakeside. You can relax on sun beds or have a drink and snack under the trees. The hotel offers complimentary towels for you to use on the beach.
Nearby the hotel you will find Chateau de Duingt. The Chateau sits beautifully on the edge of the lake.
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There are many campsites around Lake Annecy. Some have pools, some are right on the beach, and most of them have incredible views of the Lake. If you travel with family or a group of friends you can also rent a mountain hut. But if you want to stay close to the lake, city and the mountains, I suggest you find accommodation either in Annecy or small villages around the Lake.
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Famous French Cuisine – Annecy specialties
French cuisine is known for its elegance, extravagance, quality, and innovation. We have all heard about Bœuf Bourguignon, Coq au vin, Soupe à l’Oignon Gratinée, and Mousse au Chocolat. But every district in France has its own specialty. According to Wikipedia, these are the most famous French dishes in this area:
- Andouillette (a kind of sausage with tripe)
- Fondue savoyarde (fondue made with cheese and white wine into which cubes of bread are dipped)
- Gratin dauphinoise (a traditional regional French dish based on potatoes and crème fraîche)
- Quenelle (flour, butter, eggs, milk, and fish, traditionally pike, mixed and poached)
- Raclette (the cheese is melted and served with potatoes, ham and often dried beef)
- Soupe à l’oignon (onion soup based on meat stock, often served gratinéed with cheese on top)
- Tartiflette (a Savoyard gratin with potatoes, Reblochon cheese, cream, and pork)
- Gratin de crozets Savoyard (A Savoyard dish with square buckwheat pasta “les crozets de Savoie“, cheese and ham)
There are a few good restaurants in Annecy and in villages around the lake, but there are also few tourist magnets. The restaurant at our hotel – Le Comptoir du Lac – was amazing and although we stayed in the hotel we had to make reservations for popular evenings since they booked up rather quickly. CHECK THEIR MENU HERE
Annecy has at least one restaurant in Michelin Guide (do not confuse it with a Michelin star) – Restaurant 1er Mets – which gets excellent reviews. CHECK THEIR MENU AND MAKE A RESERVATION HERE
Lake Annecy’s location to the mountains makes it a destination with diverse seasonal activities. The beauty of the Lake is difficult to describe and you can’t go wrong with French cuisine and wine. This place is the perfect destination for your next long weekend trip. And if you have a drone this place is perfect for filming and shooting from above.
Now that we were leaving for Lavender Fields on Valensole Plateau I was ready to let go of the missed hikes and a flight over the Alps. But it turned out my hopes were living their own life. You can read the story on our trip to the Lavender Fields here
If you travel with smaller kids check out “Kids love travel,” they have many exciting adventures.