Nothing says summer like a big blue lake, particularly a fun-filled lake in the South of France.
After nine days trekking the TMB we decided to skip the last two stages of the trail and head for Annecy, a popular vacation town on the northern tip of Lac d’Annecy, about an hour by train from Chamonix, France.
It was my first time to Annecy; however, Jack had spent time on the lake some twenty years ago while living in France. He had fond memories of Annecy and was curious to see if the popular resort town lived up to his memories. I’m happy to report that it did.
As soon as we got to town we dropped our packs at a cute hotel in the historic old quarter (which we found on Booking.com the day before—we had terrific luck with booking.com, i.e. great hotels for a great price), grabbed our swimsuits and high-tailed it for the lake. France was experiencing a heat wave with temperatures over 100F and we wanted nothing more than to relax on the water.
There’s a beach area on the lake, but take our advice and skip this CROWDED jaunt into teenland. Plus you have to pay to enter the beach area. Boo. We did it and felt like we’d wasted two hours and ten bucks.
Instead, head for one of the many vendors on the lake renting paddle boats. All the prices are the same so just head for an area of the lake you want to explore and choose a vendor who has boats that pique your interest. You can rent anything from kayaks to motorboats, but most opt for the easy and inexpensive paddle boats. Some are simple, some are a little fancy with slides and jump boards.
I liked the looks of these slip-and-slide boats. Plus they matched Jack’s outfit, which is a sign from God as far as I’m concerned.
Jack did not agree; he wanted to head to a less populated area of the lake where the boats were less matchy-matchy with his outfit. WHAT? WHY? Is this a man thing? I didn’t understand it.
And, uhm, I’m compelled to stop here for a commercial break and point out his purty man-bag.
Since we’d just come off the trail all we had were our big backpacks. He wanted a day bag that could fit all our crap (snacks, water, books, bottle of wine, beach towels) and could be comfortably slung across his chest. Much to Jack’s frustration we found only ladies’ beach bags in girly-fuschia and flower patterns. Everything we saw screamed chick-bag and he wasn’t going to be caught dead in anything with rhinestones. Again, I didn’t compute. Doesn’t everyone like rhinestones? I offered to carry the day bag, but he insisted that I carry nothing heavier than the camera. (This, folks, is one of the many reasons why I married him.)
Finally we ran across this beach bag in the most sedate-of-all-that-we’d-seen blue and white color scheme. He bought the bag and hauled our crap with a grin. Even now that we’re home, we still refer to it as his man-bag.
Back to our regularly scheduled programming.
Anyhow … we found a boat, paddled out into the lake, relaxed, floated and read books, snoozed and swam in the lake.
We didn’t have a slide like these guys, but it was still GLORIOUS! And it was the absolute best way to enjoy the lake.
It was the epitome of summer.
And when things cooled off, we strolled the city … it’s Disneyland come to life. Really. It sounds cliche, but it’s true. I think Pirates of the Caribbean must have been modeled after this town.
I laughed a lot watching the swans dive for dinner. One minute they were beautiful and elegant. The next they had their bums stuck up in the air as they dunked for fish.
All the old wooden boats were gorgeous, especially against the jade green of the lake and canals.
The streets were lined with taverns and cafes. There was no shortage of places to eat.
This was the view from our table one night.
During dinner Jack was mesmerized by the street performer who pretends to be a statue on a three foot pedestal. Jack insisted on running over and dropping some dough for the dude exclaiming, “Man, that guy’s good! One of the best I’ve ever seen.”
I was engrossed by one of the nearby painters who was dashing off a portrait of a tourist. Everywhere you looked were talented performers of some kind.
The old quarter is a charming neighborhood to stroll at night, to people watch, to grab an ice cream cone at one of the many gelati stands.
And before turning in every night we stopped at this little cafe/bar near our hotel.
Annecy is one of France’s most popular vacation spots for locals. It’s easy to see why.
I hear it’s a contender for the 2018 winter Olympics. I’ll keep my fingers crossed.