We said goodbye to Antoine, our lovely and most helpful host, and we headed back to the local bus for the trip back down the hill to the train station. No train today on our line, so it was a bus trip instead for our next part of the journey. A little bit of a kerfuffle buying a ticket but managed in the end and we were off!
Two hours later we had moved into another section of the French Alps, arriving at the historical town of Annecy. We had been advised that our hotel was up a steep hill, so decided that we might leave our big luggage in some lockers as they would be too hard to drag up. I spent ages trying to find somewhere to store our luggage, but to no avail! So then we decided we would catch a taxi to the hotel…hang the expense… only there aren’t many taxi’s in Annecy and we had to wait for an hour! When it finally did come, a delightful taxi driver who gave us a running commentary of the town as we drove around tempered our frustrations.
We are staying in the Hotel de Chateau, a little private hotel beside the ramparts of the old city castle (the Chateau). The hotel is quaint, friendly and beautifully clean, even if the room is the size of a shoebox!
We headed out and discovered that we are fabulously located right beside the old city! Lots to see but first stop is lunch. We found a restaurant tucked down a side street a little way from the main tourist area and recommended by our Michelin Guide, Brasserie St Maurice. We had the set menu, which was excellent, zucchini soup, salmon and a goat’s cheese dessert with cream and strawberry coulis. This was washed down with a couple of glasses of excellent local rose!
Next stop was the Orange mobile phone shop, to finally get a sim card for the phone so we have connection now. Then finally playing tourist begins.
Annecy is a mini version of Venice with a bunch of canals running off the lovely Lake Annecy. The old town is quite small initially dating from the Medieval period, through to a prosperous 16th & 17th Century. Given its close location to both Switzerland and Italy, both have had historical influences, as did the French papal era when several Popes located themselves in Avignon and had key outposts here. In the centre of the old town is the Palais de Lisle…which is an old stone building located on a small island in a canal. It was originally a prison, then law courts and other administrative buildings. It returned to being a prison in WWWII. It is the second most photographed building in France behind the Eiffel Tower (according to our book) so you can image that this is a very toursity place!
Walking a little way from the old town we found ourselves down by the stunning lake Annecy. This is supposedly the cleanest lake in Europe and the water was crystal clear. It is surrounded by many mountains so again another spectacular sight. Being another beautiful day, the locals and tourists were all out and about enjoying the weather (around 23’C), they were canoeing, paddle boating, walking the dog, just lying about on the grass. We sat beneath some plane trees and watched!
Then it was back into the old town, found a small supermarket where we picked up some salad things for our dinner. A quiet night in to try and catch up on blog and diary!