Known as the “Venice of France,” this quaint city offers a blend of Venice, Switzerland & Amsterdam. The cannels throughout the city brings me back to Venice, it’s architecture is very much Swiss, and there are bikes everywhere – Amsterdam. Surrounded by mountains due to its proximity to Geneva, 35 kms to be exact, gives a breath taking view everywhere you turn.
We roamed the streets, stopped at a few shops, had some drinks & gelato and of course – watched FIFA at night cheering for FRANCE.
This perialpine lake in Haute-Savoie in France is the most attractive part about ANNECY. It’s the third largest lake in FRANCE and is known as Frances cleanest lake. The turquoise water makes it feel as if you are on the coast rather than a lake. Surrounded by mountains and plunging into blueish/green water – can it get any better than this?
The minute we arrived in ANNECY, we didn’t waste any time, the water was calling our name in 30 degree weather. We walked straight to the lake and rented a boat from one of the many companies that are lined up on the docks (its really hard to miss). We didn’t pre-book anything, but you definitely can online at Annecy Boat Rental or Le Bounty.
You are able to rent out a motorboat by yourself with or without a boating license. If you happen to have a boating license, it gives you the option of choosing a faster/more powerful boat, which comes at a cost. We paid 60 Euro an hour for the boat rental.
This was one of my favourite experiences in FRANCE. Dan & I went on plenty of boat tours during our travels, but this experience makes me want to rent a private boat in the future. You get to go wherever you want, when you want and its PRIVATE. We enjoyed our time jumping off the boat, floating in the water and tanning our merry little hearts out.
PATISSERIE – LE PECHE MIGNON- We had breakfast at Pâtisserie – Le Péché Mignon. Of course, coffee and croissants, but this time we added a little quiche on the side. This was also the place where we tried our first macron in FRANCE. They were so moist and flavourful. I loved them so much that I came back twice to get more. Vanilla was my favourite flavour.
We really loved our picnics in FRANCE. We bought a couple of bottles of wine, some macrons and headed to the park after dinner. Picnics are the thing to do here – everyone is gathered with loved ones sharing food and drinks in the park. It was so peaceful being surrounded by the alps, lake Annecy and good company.
We stayed in an apartment in the heart of the city through AirBnB. It was very white, actually everything was white – the floors, cabinets, bathroom, linens, bedding, side tables, etc. It was gorgeous – like nothing I have ever seen. I would recommend staying here if you visit ANNECY.
ECRINS NATIONAL PARK
ECRINS NATIONAL PARK is the largest national park in FRANCE. Its highest peak is Barre des Ecrins at 4,102 m (13,458 ft). This park consists of high peaks, glacier fields, glacier valleys, alpine pastures, subalpine woodlands and lakes. Some say that it offers the most dramatic scenery in the Alps. Its path is less travelled, less known to the masses, which was music to my ears when I found out.
ECRINS has a ton of hiking trails. Some are day hikes and some can last to a few days. You can book a guided hike or do it on your own.
It was extremely difficult to choose the exact hike we wanted since all of them looked incredible. We looked up a few day hiking trails, narrowed it down to a few based on descriptions/photos. We then choose to book our stay near the trails we were interested in.
We didn’t decide what hike we would do until we got there. We used Ecrins Trekking app which helped us pick a couple hikes. This app was easy to use and provided great information on location of the trail, difficulty level, length of the trail, photos, and much more information. I recommend you check it out before you plan your hike in ECRINS.
Once we met our host at our airbnb, we got his opinion (since he lives in ECRINS-lucky guy) and he recommended we do Glacier Blanc.
Glacier Blanc (White Glacier) lead us up to a glacier that was pristinely white. The peak we saw was Pelvoux Pointe. This hike was 9.4km (there and back), takes roughly 3 h 30 (depending how often you stop and take photos) and is a medium difficulty.
As you can see from the photos above, this hike was breath taking. Everywhere you looked, you were in awe and wonder of the beauty and stillness. The trail started off flat and had a gradual uphill incline. We passed a few people on the trail, but it felt like it was just us on it. Every time we stopped to take in the beauty or snap some photos, it would be just us and nature.
GLACIER BLANC – after our hike on GLACIER BLANC, we decided to check out the restaurant GLACIER BLANC. We definitely indulged and tried cheese fondue and raclette for the first time. I’m sure everyone knows what cheese fondue is – it’s a swiss dish that serves melted cheese in a communal pot over a portable stove/burner. Raclette is a type a semi-hard cows milk cheese that is placed on a wheel that heats up the cheese and then the melted cheese is scaped off. This pattern continues until your stomach can no longer take in anymore. It was served with bread, pickled vegetables, potatoes, spreads and assorted meats. One of the best meals in FRANCE.
We stayed in an airbnb in PELVOUX. It felt like a cottage in the mountains. We choose this airbnb due to location – proximity to the hike we wanted to do, and view. It was surrounded by mountains. We spent the night sitting outside under the terrace, sipping on wine and watching the thunder storm roll in.
The drive from BEAUNE to ANNECY roughly took 2.5 hours. The drive from ANNECY to ECRINS NATIONAL PARK roughly took 2 hours. Both of these drives were epic – filled with mountainous views along the entire way. We also drove through and stopped in Italy for lunch on our way to ECRINS NATIONAL PARK. Mmmm, to taste Italian pizza again was heavenly.