We left Beaune around 10am after a quick breakfast and hopped on the train to Annecy with a quick changeover in Lyon. The weather forecast showed clouds and rain which we’d really hoped wouldn’t ruin the views of the Alps. We arrived in Annecy in the afternoon and checked into our hotel, Hotel Ibis Annecy, which was a short walk from the station and situated on the river that flows through town.
We were both starving so we headed out to explore and grab a late lunch. Annecy is a fairly large, sprawling city with a quaint old-town near the Lac d’Annecy (Lake Annecy). We equated it to the “Lake Tahoe” of the French Alps.
We contemplated renting bikes to ride the trail that follows the shoreline, but the weather persuaded us to stay on foot and under our umbrellas. Next time, this looks like an amazing place to pack a picnic lunch and do a long ride to the beaches, parks, and small villages around the lake. The old town is very nice – café terraces, bakeries, and shops overlook the river which runs through the middle. We grabbed a beer and joined in on the people-watching, which seems to be a favorite pastime of the French.
We ate dinner at Le Freti, which serves local Savoyard specialties like Raclette and Fondue. We got an awesome seat inside overlooking a main square. We ordered the Raclette with assorted meats and stuffed ourselves on the cheesy, salty goodness. Raclette is basically a half-wheel of cheese (ours as Fermiere au lait cru) that sits diagonally under a heat lamp, melts down onto a spatula, which you then eat with bread, various pickled items, potatoes, and cured meats. We washed it down with a bottle of Apremont, which is one of my favorites white wines of the trip so far.
We got back to the hotel and looked up the weather forecast for our next stop, Chamonix-Mont Blanc. It was actually going to be clear the next day! We decided to catch a much earlier train than originally planned to get to enjoy as much sun as we could. We left Annecy at 7am and headed further into the Alps.
For the full trip summary, click here: 3 weeks in France