Lovely setting on mountain lake
www.lac-annecy.com. Gathered around the northern tip of its beautiful mountain lake, Annecy enjoys one of the loveliest settings imaginable. The Old Town, Vieil Annecy, is a treat as well, garlanded with flowers popping out of window boxes and baskets and draped in great swags from tiny hump-backed bridges over the Canal du Thiou.
The cobbled streets and narrow quais are lined with 15th-17thC buildings in stucco and stone; arcaded streets such as rue Sainte-Claire disappear behind enticing street markets; and there are restaurants and cafés at every turn serving hearty Savoyard dishes, fresh fish from the lake (one of Europe’s cleanest), or a glass of wine in the sunshine.
The sights are minor, but enjoyable, from the cavernous Eglise de Saint-Michel, with its beautiful Pietà by Pieter Pourbus and monochrome Renaissance fresco, to a small history museum housed in the doughty Palais de I’lsle, a former prison on a tiny boat-shaped island in the canal (closed Tues). Clamber up to the Château-Musée for a bird’s-eye view over the roof-tops from the parapet. The 12th-16thC castle displays collections of Savoyard crafts, natural history and local archaeological finds.
Down by the water’s edge there are pretty public gardens, boat and sail-board hire from the Champ-de-Mars, and cruises to various points around the lake by the Compagnie des Bateaux, 2 place aux Bois.