We have been both lucky and careful in our choice of tourist destinations and plans for crowd avoidance since we arrived here in April. But you can’t beat August in France no matter what you do. And many of our fellow travelers chose Annecy on this busiest of summer weekends.
It’s no wonder the crowds are out in force here. This city combines the charm of Amsterdam, Venice, San Antonio (yes, San Antonio) with the features of every other medieval city in France, along with a beautiful lake and lovely mountain views – weather permitting.
Settled since Roman times, Annecy was the court of the counts of nearby Geneva from the 10th century. After being ruled by the counts of Savoy from the 15th century, it was conquered by France during the Revolution. It kept getting passed around, moving to the Kingdom of Sardinia in 1815, but finally was sold to France in 1860. It can claim St. Francis de Sales as a native son, though Catholicism came in and out of favor with each change of ruler.
The canals that surround Palais de l’Isle create a charming and very busy tourist scene. The palace was a 12th century fort, Geneva’s administrative headquarters, then alternately a courthouse, a mint, and a prison in the Middle Ages until 1865 and then again during World War II. The view is one of the most photographed in France, so consider my version one of millions taken just this month. But the palace and the canals of old Annecy surely deserve their moments of fame.
Other parts of the old city are also very charming. The town is packed with restaurant choices, but we chose well. Our starter was a tart of Reblochon, the regional cheese which we can’t get in the US as it is unpasteurized. The tart came with a small vial of truffle oil, which we infused into it all by ourselves. Fabulous. Then Don had a fish from the lake nearby, and I had the lovely risotto that combined several cheeses into a delicious creamy mix with two fabulous scallops. Very nice indeed.