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Canal running through Annecy's old town
Canal running through Annecy's old town | © macumazahn / Shutterstock
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10 Reasons You Must Visit Annecy, France

Picture of Sarah Borg
Updated: 16 April 2018

Nestled away in southeastern France, Annecy is on the tip of the picturesque Lake Annecy and overlooks snow-capped mountains. Here are the top 10 things to do in the beautiful French city.

Cycle around Lake Annecy

The stunning Lake Annecy is like something from a dream. You’ll have to pinch yourself to believe this surreal lake is really there. Rent a bike and spend the day riding around the perimeter. When you get tired, take a nap among the daisy-spotted grass, and to cool off, take a dip in the lake.

Lake Annecy

Lake Annecy | © Sarah Borg

Paddle across Lake Annecy

If you aren’t feeling up to the exertion of a bike ride around the lake, hire a paddleboat instead. Leisurely make your way around the lake, soaking in a world-class view of the mountains.

Lake Annecy

Lake Annecy | © Sarah Borg

Eat raclette

All day, every day, eat this delicious Swiss dish that basically consists of a round cow’s milk cheese melted in front of an open fire. It is then scraped onto your plate and eaten with potatoes, dried meats, gherkins, and pickled onions. Never will you feel as toasty as when you are sitting in front of a fireplace in a restaurant looking onto the canals and stuffing yourself full of raclette.

Stroll along the canals

Spend a day or two, or three, getting lost among the whimsical canals of Annecy. Dubbed the “Venice of the Alps,” the winding cobblestone streets lined by pastel houses and bright flower boxes will make you fall in love with this small French town. Stop for a croissant at a bakery, or sit and have a coffee and spend the afternoon people-watching and admiring the architecture.

Annecy

Annecy | © Sarah Borg

Shop at the markets

There are various markets on throughout the week. They sell an array of fresh foods and market wares. The Sunday Annecy market is one of the best markets in France, with its colorful stalls lining the old town’s streets and canals.

Market stall in Annecy

Market stall in Annecy | © Dave Hopton / Flickr

Visit the Pont des Amours
Bridge
Pont des Amours, Annecy

Pont des Amours, Annecy | © PhilStrat / Flickr

The Pont des Amours (Lovers’ Bridge) is yet another beautiful sight to witness in Annecy. Legend has it that if two lovers kiss on the bridge, they will stay together forever. Even if you have no one to kiss that you want to make that kind of commitment with, this famous site, overlooking the lake and the mountains, is worth visiting.
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Atmosphere:

Outdoors, Touristy, Photo Opportunity, Instagrammable

Have a picnic in the Gardens of Europe
Park
The beautiful lakeside park is the perfect spot for a lunchtime picnic. Grab some French pastries, cheese, baguettes, and cold meats from the market stalls and spend a leisurely afternoon lying on the grass watching tourists wander by.
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Atmosphere:

Outdoors, Peaceful, Photo Opportunity, Instagrammable

Check out the Palais de l'Isle
History Museum
Palace de l'Isle, Annecy

Palace de l'Isle, Annecy | © Gabriela Beres / Shutterstock

Seemingly straight out of a fairy tale, the Palais de l’Isle’s history dates back to the 12th century. Now a local history museum, it was once a prison, mint, courthouse, and lord’s residence. Most just stop to take a picture of the outside. Indeed, it is one of France’s most photographed attractions. If you want to go inside, it is open a few days a week and only in the warmer months, so plan ahead.
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Wed - Mon:
10:00 am - 12:00 pm 2:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Atmosphere:

Historical Landmark, Architectural Landmark, Scenic, Photo Opportunity

Explore a church or two

Annecy has many Catholic churches worth visiting, where you’ll find beautiful stained-glass windows, impressive grand organs, and medieval paintings. If history is your thing, take the time to explore the old churches dotted around Annecy’s old town.

Spend a day at the beach

When visiting in summer, there are plenty of sandy or grassy beaches dotted along the picturesque lake. A swim in the refreshing crystal-clear water serves as a perfect opportunity to relax and take in the remarkable views that Annecy has to offer.

Lake Annecy, France

Lake Annecy | © Sarah Borg