This has to be my all-time favourite place in France (and possibly third favourite place in Europe), and it was certainly my weekend escape when life was getting stressful in Geneva. In fact, it was one of my colleagues there that introduced Annecy to me in April 2014.
35km south of Geneva, Annecy is a quaint little town in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region of France. It lies on the Northern end of Lake Annecy or Lac d’Annecy with two canals running through the heart of the town overlooked by cathedrals, palaces and castles.
My colleague and I had an absolutely gorgeous lunch at the majestic Impérial Palace, a 4 star hotel nestled in the heart of the wooded Parc Charles Bosson right by the lakeshore. Highly recommend visiting even if you are not staying at the hotel, as the view from the restaurant terrace is simply breathtaking:
Wandering through the streets of Annecy, it has a distinctly Venetian feel with the lake and the canals. One of the most famous sites in Annecy is the Palais de l’Isle, a small castle situated on an islet in the Thiou river at the heart of the Old Town. The Palais was built in the 12th century and has had several functions over the centuries: a courthouse, a mint, a prison, and then as a residence for the Monthoux family. Nowadays it is a permanent museum and often houses art exhibitions. It has a fascinating history and it is truly enchanting to walk around and explore.
Not to sound too much like a guide book, Annecy is absolutely breathtaking and a must-see for everyone visiting France. The Old Town is also overshadowed by Le Château D’Annecy, the historic castle and museum. Once home to the Counts of Geneva and the Dukes of Genevois-Nemours, the château was originally built between the 12th and 16th centuries. It was set on fire several times and eventually abandoned in the 17th century, before the town of Annecy restored it in 1953 and turned it into a museum.