Annecy, Architecture, Blog, Castle, Charming, City, Food, France, Haute-Savoie, Travel, Vacation

Spring in Annecy

Annecy. After years of seeing photos of this picturesque city, I wanted to see it in person. It was early spring, and trees everywhere were like fireworks of blossoms across the landscape. I always envisioned visiting on a warm, sunny day and there we were during the chill of the Easter weekend. We were visiting someone nearby and opted to venture to Annecy for a side excursion. Not a lot of time to explore all the historic landmarks, we nevertheless enjoyed the beauty of this pearl of the French Alps.

It amazes me that I can hear birdsong from the car as we travel along the road, even with our windows closed. Driving from our home in Ardèche Verte, the green, soft rolling hills make their way to the higher mountains and cliffs of the eastern Ain department and into Haute-Savoie.

Finding parking proved challenging, though not unmanageable. We ended up leaving our car a bit away from the bustling town center, allowing us the chance to enjoy a refreshing walk through the scenic park by Lac Annecy.

This birdhouse is so imaginative and charming. Are the holes large enough for the birds to fit?

Despite the nippy and overcast weather, the vibrant hues from the buildings and the stunning alpine surroundings were breathtaking.

Annecy retains its historical charm with its medieval old town, a massive castle, and the beauty of Lake Annecy. Today, because of its lovely canals, it is known as the “Venice of France”.

It seemed that everyone had the same idea of bundling up and taking advantage of spending time in this beautiful French city. With the vast expanse of the sparkling lake and mountains as a backdrop, we made our way to the colorful medieval historic center of Annecy.

The Palais de l’Ile in Annecy, situated on an islet in the river Thiou, has undergone several transformations over the centuries. Initially built as a fortified house in the 12th century, it later became a prison in the 14th century. Count Amadeus III of Geneva established a minting workshop there in 1355, but it ceased operations by the end of the century. By the 16th century, it had become a courthouse known as the Palais de Justice de l’Ile. In the late 1800s, it was repurposed for various uses such as a school and accommodations. Recognized as a historic monument in 1900, it now hosts exhibitions showcasing Annecy’s architecture and heritage, allowing visitors to explore its former courtroom, dungeon, cells, and chapel.

The first thing on my mind was, of course, food. Rather than enter the first restaurant we see, we usually try to go a little deeper into a town and find something less touristy and potentially more costly. Hunger and lack of time prevailed on this occasion and I can’t say I was disappointed. We opted for a restaurant called “Ô Savoyard !”. Set in a traditional Savoyard style, the ambience was warm and inviting and the food provided ideal comfort on a chilly day.

A visit to Philippe Rigollot Pâtissier Chocolatier didn’t hurt. Philippe Rigollot holds prestigious titles: World Champion of Desserts and MOF Pâtissier 2007. His high standards are clearly still upheld.

Lacking time for museum visits, Annecy proved an ideal setting to stroll the narrow streets and canals and explore the array of shops offering local products. I’m confident we’ll return for a more thorough exploration, making sure to tour the Château d’Annecy overlooking the old town, now home to the Annecy Castle Museum. I’m also making it a plan to delve into the museum within the Palais de l’Isle.

Have you visited Annecy? Do you have any additional suggestions for things to do and see? I’m aware there’s plenty more, so if you’ve explored other attractions, feel free to share your insights.