Comfortably situated on the edge the Alps and a short train ride from the Swiss border, Annecy is nothing if not picturesque. On a cool autumn morning, despite a forecast that warned of a heavy rainstorm, I boarded the first train of the day bound for the small French city along with two friends. Just two hours from Lyon, the small village made for a perfect Saturday trip.
The day began with sunlight shimmering off of the clear canal waters and dramatizing the colorfully painted facades of the buildings. One of my first impressions of Annecy was of the fragrant flower boxes lining the canals. Not only is Annecy an immaculately kept village, its also one of the best smelling towns I’ve ever visited.
I spent most of the day wandering the narrow, cobblestone streets and peaking into the shops full of decorative knick knacks, oh which I obviously had to pick up a few for myself. Annecy’s most breathtaking feature has to be the lac d’Annecy. With crystal clear water and majestic hills dominating the landscape, the lake is a stunning sight. Ducks and swans float lazily across the surface alongside tourists in their paddle boats.
The main section of Annecy caters heavily to tourists visiting the village on outings from France’s larger cities. Therefore, there are many restaurants with prices that exceed the typical student budget. Fortunately, my friends and I found a small cafe serving up crepes called Quai n°10. The interior was completely decorated in light colored wood that gave the restaurant the feel of a cozy Swiss home. My crepe was overflowing with sun-dried tomatoes, mixed green, and local French cheese.
After lunch, I followed the twisting streets uphill to admire the Cathédrale de la Visitation, a century old Catholic church that overlooks the city. Personally, I enjoy visiting churches wherever I go for the stunning architecture, the local history, and as a comparison to other cities and towns I’ve explored. The the dark and dreary exterior seemed to be reaching up to the clouds that threatened to rain down on me at any moment, and the church is strikingly different from the gilded cathedrals found throughout France.
With the transparent, blue waters of the lac d’Annecy and the rows of colorful buildings set alongside flower-lined canals, Annecy is a fairytale village in modern France. It’s a popular day trip from Paris and France’s other large cities, and for good reason. The air is crisp, the streets are clean, and the people are friendly.
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