AROUND THE ANNECY LAKE
WHAT TO DO? MY JOURNEY
OLD TOWN ANNECY
The Palace of the Island
Village around the Annecy lake
Pedestrian street in Annecy
Annecy city center
Basilica of the Visitation
The old town of Annecy is so cute! Composed of several small very charming pedestrian streets. The houses have a unique and colorful architecture. It is also very lively thanks to the various shops and restaurants. The old town really has a unique charm with all these rivers flowing through it. You can walk through the small streets and cross pretty bridges. Just like the Pont des Amours, the city’s legendary bridge which offers a nice view of Annecy Lake.
And if there is one building that you cannot miss in Annecy, it is the Palace of the island (Palais de l’Île). It is in all the photos and postcards of Annecy. Largely due to its location, right in the center of the old town and surrounded by water, as well as the original shape of the monument. Its construction dates from the 12th century. It was once a prison, and then became a courthouse, and an administrative center. A historic monument since 1900, today it is an interpretation center for the architecture and heritage of the territory of the Community of the Agglomeration of Annecy. I could see it was visited in 1 hour but I didn’t do it so I can’t give you my opinion.
The Annecy castle (Château d’Annecy) is also a must visit in the city. It was a residence of the Counts of Geneva in the 13th and 14th century. It then became a military barracks until 1953. The first exhibition took place in 1956 and continues to this day with permanent and temporary exhibitions. I let you discover the program by clicking here. When I went there, the exhibits were very interesting. The visit can be done in 1h30.
When you go for a walk in the city, you will see a church which overlooks Annecy. This is the Basilica of the Visitation (Basilique de la visitation) with its 72m high bell tower. The basilica has a neo-Romanesque architecture. It is really beautiful and impressive from the outside, just like the inside. The columns inside are in Savoy marble blue, which is very original. The stained glass windows are also well preserved and tell the story of the Holy Founders of the Visitation.
Then, you have different villages to see around the lake, it’s not just Annecy. For example, the village of Veyrier which is very charming, as well as the village of Duingt. The villages are small and can be visited quickly, but they are worth stopping by for a few minutes.
Entrance fee to the palace of the island: € 3.80
Entrance fee to Annecy castle: € 6
WALKS AROUND THE LAKE
Boat in the Annecy lake
One beach of the lake
Pontoons on a lake
Pontoon on the lake
View on the lake
The Angon waterfall
Annecy lake (Lac d’Annecy) has an area of 27 km2. There are many walks to do around. Moreover, it is possible to go around the lake by foot with a walk of about 42.8 km. For more information on this walk, click here. I had done a little part in Sévrier, with the Promenade des Seines. A nice little walk by the lake where you can see private pontoons and beautiful houses overlooking the lake. This is really beautiful and allows you to have very beautiful views of Annecy Lake.
In front of Annecy, I also took a walk at the end of the lake nature reserve (la réserve naturelle du bout du lac). It is a short loop of about a good hour that takes you to the Beauvivier tower, dating from the Middle Ages. I didn’t see any animals when I was there due to the weather, but it is possible to see some. There is a great diversity of flora and fauna. This reserve has an area of approximately 84 hectares.
One of the hikes to do around Annecy Lake is to go to the cave of Notre Dame du Lac. Small cave high up with a statue inside. This hike starts from the village of Duingt and offers some impressive views of the lake. It is very pleasant. Be careful when it rains, the path can be really slippery.
And finally, I took a walk to go to the Angon waterfall. A super beautiful waterfall, not like the one I saw in Zakopane, but very impressive! It takes about 40 minutes from Talloires. However towards the end, we are a bit on the edge of the cliff. I admit that with my vertigo I was not too serene, but it was worth it.
CASTLES AROUND THE LAKE
The castle of Menthon Saint Bernard
The castle of Menthon Saint Bernard interior
Formerly called Châteauvieux, the Duingt castle (Château de Duingt) located on an Annecy peninsula is magnificent! Previously belonging to the De Sales family, they have done a lot of work inside to accommodate culture in these places (theater, music, poetry …). Unfortunately the castle was closed when I was there, but apparently they are having events. I’ll let you look for it by clicking here.
There is also the castle of Menthon Saint Bernard (Château de Menthon Saint Bernard), higher up. It is one of the few castles in France that still belongs to a family for 23 generations. In fact, they come to live there sometimes. During the visit, we learn about the history of the castle. It is super well maintained and the interior is beautiful, it is stunning! A visit that is definitely worth it. Allow a good hour to see everything. It kind of reminded me of Dracula’s castle in Bran from the outside.
Entrance fee to Château de Menthon Saint Bernard: € 9.50
Here is a quick overview of what you can see and do at Annecy Lake. I clearly didn’t do everything. There are many walks and several villages to discover around.
WHEN TO GO?
The months with good weather to visit Annecy. The climate is the most ideal during these months, and you will make the most of it. On the other hand, in summer it might be crowded.
To visit the lake, the villages around, and do some nice hikes, I think 4-5 days are good. However, plan to take a car. Even though there are a few buses going around, it will save you time and have more freedom to stop wherever you want.
MY 3 TIPS
- Rent a car so you can drive around the lake as you wish
- Don’t just stay in Annecy, there is so much to see around the lake
- If you have a car, look at the accommodations around the lake, there are some very nice ones