The inhabitants of the town of Annecy are a lucky bunch. Not only can they take a stroll across the Pont des Amours (or ‘Love Bridge’) while gazing out at the crystal waters of Lake Annecy, but they also have the French Alps as a backdrop and an historic Old Town full of winding canals and medieval monuments. Here we list the best places to stop off at for some sightseeing fuel.
Le Poulailler offers an idyllic outdoor brunch spot in a lush garden filled with picnic tables, beanbags, hammocks, sofas, and patio furniture. Each guest gets a hot drink and a glass of fruit juice, toast with butter, honey, and jams, and granola with yogurt, fruit, and muesli. They can then add one of three savory choices, the ‘Elizabeth II’ (an English muffin with a poached egg, beans, and salad), the ‘Pop Ma Plage’ (pancakes, salmon, scrambled eggs, and salad), or the ‘Clubber for Night’ (a club sandwich with salad and a fried egg).
Stepping into Audrey Bottelier’s delightfully twee tearoom Sur les Pas de la Petite Botte feels just like coming home. From the antique porcelain crockery to the comfy armchairs and homemade cakes (made to Grandmother Bottelier’s recipe), there is a relaxing ambiance here. Brunch consists of fresh fruit juices, eggs, ham, pastries, croissants, toast with jams and organic honey, quiches, coffee, muffins, flans, and brownies. An alternative seating area, flanked with musical instruments and with a coffee table piled high with recipe books and travel magazines, is provided for those wanting a more informal dining experience.
The Chevallay family, restaurateurs since 1923, serve traditional cuisine made using products from the Savoy region in their tastefully decorated restaurant Le Ramoneur Savoyard. Among the sweet brunch options are ‘La Caribou’ (pancakes with maple syrup and blueberries), ‘A la Française’ (a baguette with jam and butter), and ‘La Sale Gosse’ (or ‘Dirty Kid’ pancakes with Nutella and whipped cream). Savory options include ‘A L’Anglaise’ (grilled chicken breast, sautéed potatoes and scrambled eggs), and ‘Formule Steak a Cheval’ (a horse steak haché with a fried egg).
For a taste of America in Annecy, head to Mary’s Corner. Along with hot dogs and nachos, they sell sizable bagels here which can be enjoyed in the diner or taken away if you need your breakfast on-the-go. Each one comes with cream cheese and crudités, with a range of different fillings, like pastrami, pickles and honey mustard for the ‘Manhattan Deli’ and pesto, tomato confit and mozzarella for the ‘Delizioso’. Salad and soup are provided for those on a diet, and cookies, muffins, cheesecake and doughnuts for those wanting to treat themselves.
Breakfast is served until late afternoon at this trendy café, which has a wide range of beverages for the discerning coffee enthusiast to sample. Frappés, lattes, macchiatos, cappuccinos, mochaccinos, espressos, and every variation on these imaginable can be whipped up by Café Largo’s baristas, as well as smoothies, sodas, and fruit juice. For breakfast, try one of their sandwiches, quiches, soups, pastries, or salads, the ingredients of which change with the seasons. Alternatively, sample their cake of the week or go for a bowl of granola with cottage cheese and fruit.
Café des Ducs is found in a picturesque location overlooking Annecy’s canals. The restaurant is also right next to the 12th-century prison Au Palais de l’Isle, and if you pick the right terrace seat you’ll also be able to see the mountains in the distance. Breakfast is a typical but well-executed French affair, consisting of brioche, croissants, toast, helpings of butter and jam, yogurt, coffee, and freshly squeezed orange juice. Of note is the national favorite croque madame, a baked or fried sandwich made with Gruyére cheese, lean ham, and béchamel sauce topped with a fried egg.
The proprietors of L’Original participate in a scheme devised by the Association for the Preservation of Peasant Farming, or AMAP, which establishes partnerships between farmers and consumers for the benefit of both groups. L’Original’s collaboration is with Le Potager Balmontin, a commune of 50 families a few miles from Annecy that provides the restaurant with fruits, vegetables, and herbs straight from the fields. These products go into making both versions of L’Original’s brunches, English (savory) and French (sweet).
A local favorite, La Buvette du Marché offers a classic French breakfast in Annecy’s Old Town. Alongside a cup of coffee and a glass of orange juice comes a basket of freshly baked baguettes and croissants, with a pot of butter and jam made by the owner’s father from seasonal produce. The bistro’s staff were the winners of the 2015 Course des Garçons de Café Annecy, in which waiters race around the city carrying a tray of glasses and bottles, surely an endorsement of their skills.
Sisters Laura and Julia will welcome you in with a smile to L’Accalmie, where they specialize in breakfast and lunch. Everything on display at the counter is homemade, using fresh ingredients from the Savoy. The restaurant has a sleek, modern design, creating a tranquil atmosphere in which to enjoy pastries, baguettes, quiches, soup, salad, fruit, and muesli, among a host of other offerings. Their sweets and desserts are particularly appetizing, take a muffin or cookie away with you.