When I encountered the delightful World of Wanderlust website, my eyes lit up when I saw the blog title “Twenty-Five Secret Small Towns in Europe You Must Visit.” I immediately went to the list to see how many of the towns I’d visited. I had to get to item 5, Bruges, before I found one I’d been to! But then I kept reading. I’d actually been to six of the towns, which means I have a lot more towns to explore. But I visited two of the towns this past summer. I wrote about Ljubjana in my previous travel blog, so today I’m detailing the other town: Annecy, France.
Annecy [pronounced ‘ahn-SEE’] is a sweet town near the Italian border. It’s close to Colmar, another famous town on the blog list, but it has a charm all its own. I wanted to visit Annecy as soon as I found out that canals ran through the town. Even without the water, I would have enjoyed the trip. (But when I reviewed my pictures, I found that I’d taken lots and lots of the canals.)
Annecy is a perfect tourist town. There’s not too much traffic. The people are friendly. The old town makes for a picturesque, historical stroll. But the town offers much more than that. It’s situated on a huge lake, Lac d’Annecy, that offers boat rides and swimming and walks around the lake’s perimeter. It’s close to mountains for hiking. It has large green areas near the lake that are perfect for picnics. It has benches and cafés that make for perfect angles for people-watching.
Even though the weather was cool, I was excited to find that my mid-June, the lake was a comfortable temperature for swimming. I only had to walk about ten minutes from the center to find a peaceful swimming area with changing rooms and fellow bathers. Afterwards I spent a lovely afternoon walking on the peninsula near the lake. It was so beautiful I asked my friend to record Chapter Three from my new book Island Casualty with the lake in the background.
The final advantage I found to Annecy was that it’s a comfortable jumping-off point from Geneva. A two-hour train ride takes you right to town. Our charming hotel, Allobroges, was a five-minute walk from the train station. Our only problem in Annecy: we had to leave!