These pictures have been burning a hole in my pocket for weeks now.
When I found out that an old friend and regular Front Porcher from the OBX was going to be in southern France the last weekend of June, I couldn’t pass up the chance to meet him there.
Jonny (who you might remember when he took Abby & I flying in the trike and tow-launched me when I went hang gliding) was one of only 32 glider pilots in the entire world who made the cut for the 2014 World Hang Gliding Championships. I mean, so that’s mildly impressive. A tiny bit cool.
The championships were taking place in Annecy (“ahn-see”), which is just a hop skip & a jump from London, and also only half an hour from Albertville, where I stayed during my French exchange trip in 2006. We actually visited Annecy for a day, but it rained so much that this is all we saw:
We played laser tag, went to H&M, and then sat on the steps of the cinema eating convenience store sandwiches until our bus came back for us. It was thoroughly blah.
So imagine my surprise when I arrived a couple of weeks ago and realized that the town actually looks like this:
Yeah. I think saying we missed out last time is a little bit of an understatement. This time, I was determined to do the thing properly.
I flew in to Geneva, Switzerland, and took a coach bus a quick 45 minutes south to Annecy. It’s a tiny little village in the French Alps and is completely walkable – my hotel was a five minute jaunt from the train/bus station and just about everything else.
I dropped my bags and set right out into the afternoon sunshine to explore the winding lanes and open air markets.
Like many European towns with centuries of history, Annecy has a beautiful old town (vieille ville in French) section full of cobblestoned streets, narrow alleyways, and colorfully-painted houserows.
Annecy Vieille Ville is extra charming because it’s anchored by Le Thiou, this lovely turquoise canal that provides the perfect setting for the multitude of cafés serving crepes, frites, and French wine en plein air. I spent most of the next day just migrating from seat to seat at different restaurants along the canal.
I followed Le Thiou out to where it flows into Lac d’Annecy, which has the most gorgeously clear blue-green water I’ve ever seen.
Fun fact for Dad: there was an individual time trial around Lac d’Annecy during one stage of the 2009 Tour de France.
In an ideal world, I would have been friends with the owner of that boat. A girl can dream.
The Pont des Amours (Lovers’ Bridge) spans another small canal and is a perfect viewpoint on to the lake and mountains. Not to be confused with the Pont des Arts in Paris that just collapsed under the weight of all the love locks – luckily, visitors haven’t brought the same practice to this one.
I think I may have liked this little canal best of all. All the boats!
Oh look, it’s the beautiful theatre of my long-ago visit!
So glad I got to return to my roots.
More French fotos to come!