Visiting Annecy [France]

Annecy is located on the Northern edge of Lac d’Annecy and is known as the Venice of France due to the channels running through the middle of the city. It is about 1/2 hour from Geneva and just over an hours drive from Chamonix-Mont Blanc, which made it a great candidate for a day trip.

December 2011 Road Trip

We spent quite a bit of time walking through the gardens and along the shoreline, soaking in the cool Winter breeze and being the good tourists we are, taking a gazillion ‘selfies’ on Lovers Bridge.

Annecy: Dec 2011

Annecy: Dec 2011

Annecy: Dec 2011

Annecy also offers great architectural monuments, and my favorite was the Palais de l’Isle, also called the “old prison”. It was built in 1132 in the centre of the Thiou canal. It started out as the primary residence of the Lord of Annecy and later became the county seat administrative headquarters, a courthouse, a mint, and finally a jail. It was classified as a historical monument in 1900, and today houses a local history museum.

Annecy: Dec 2011

Annecy: Dec 2011

While interesting to see during the day, the structure really comes to life at night and you can see why it is [one of] the most photographed building in all of France.

Annecy: Dec 2011

We toured the Cathédrale Saint-Pierre d’Annecy, Impérial Palace and the Basilique de la Visitation. Our last stop was the Château d’Annecy, the former home of the Counts of Geneva and the Dukes of Genevois-Nemoursand currently used as the Art and History Conservatory of Annecy and the Regional Office of the Alpine Lakes. It is perched atop a hill and offers lovely views of the lake, the town and surrounding areas.

Annecy: Dec 2011

 

Annecy offers just enough sight seeing to make for a great day trip from either Geneva or the Chamonix region. You can see more photos from our trip here.

Bucket List #172: Skiing The French Alps

Completed.

After a week in Paris, Heuer and I took the train to Geneva where we rented a car and drove to Chamonix-Mont-Blanc, which is a beautiful ski resort area nestled in the Rhône-Alpes region in south-eastern France. Fun fact: It was the site of the first Winter Olympics in 1924.

Chamonix: Dec 2011

Chamonix: Dec 2011

We had a reservation at the Hôtel Le Morgane, which was located in the middle of the town, enabling us to walk anywhere we wanted. If you like the vibe of W Hotels, you will love this place. Perfect modern mountain resort with good sized rooms and a fantastic restaurant [see below].

The town is not very big, but if you come to ski, eat and drink, you will be plenty entertained. On our second day in Chamonix, we walked to the bus and took the short 15 minute ride to Les Grands Montets, the local ski resort. I don’t ski as much as I used to as my knees are not in great shape, but I wasn’t going to miss an opportunity to ski the Alps, so I pointed my sticks down the hill and let out a little ‘weeeeee!!!’.

Unfortunately, the first snow of the season only arrived two days before we did so it was not the best of conditions, but we skiied that mountain, and we skiied it good.

Chamonix: Dec 2011

Chamonix: Dec 2011

On the ride home, we discussed heading to the Italian side next to test their snow, but quickly decided unless there was a monster storm in the next 24 hours, one day of skiing was enough for this trip. The storm never came, so we’ll need to ski the Italian side next time.

In addition to skiing, the town offers many places to eat and one of my favorite meals during our stay was a [what felt like] 23-course meal at our hotel.

Chamonix: Dec 2011

Chamonix: Dec 2011

Chamonix: Dec 2011

Chamonix: Dec 2011

The plates kept coming and the dishes kept getting better and better. By the time dessert arrived, I was so full that I couldn’t finish the whole thing, but managed to get the chocolate chip cookie and one of the custards in me. I mean, come on…where there is a will there is a way. Always.

We had four great days in Chamonix, but truth be told, if you are not skiing, 2 days would be plenty unless you bring a really good book to read or a deck of cards or spend some time in the spa. I like to explore the places we visit and you can walk this town in an hour, so to break up the trip a bit, we decided to take a day trip to Annecy and ‘do lunch’ in Milan, which were both fun excursions, and I’ll share on them next.

See more photos from our trip here: Chamonix 2011

Paris in December

Heuer and I are in Paris again for the Le Web conference, and this time we have chosen to rent an apartment located on the edge of the Marais. I have come to love this neighborhood and can’t imagine staying anywhere else now. So much to do here. So easy to get anywhere we need to be on the Metro.

The apartment was lovely, with a nice updated kitchen and good sized living area. The only down side was the loft bedroom has a fairly low roof. Like ridiculously low.

Paris: Dec 2011

It did give us a good chuckle, and while there was another bedroom on the main floor, the bed upstairs was larger and more comfortable, so we decided to deal with it. Happy to announce I only cracked my head on the roof twice during the week. Heuer won’t admit how many times he hit it.

This trip we were able to take in two new museums, the Centre Georges Pompidou:

Paris: Dec 2011

Paris: Dec 2011

Paris: Dec 2011

And the Musée d’Orsay, where the only photos allowed are on a platform where you can soak in the views of the city, which some will call art:

Paris: December 2011

Paris: December 2011

We of course ate our way through the city as usual, and nothing disappointed for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I just need to get better at writing the names down so I can remember them and/or offer recommendations.

You can see more photos of our trip to Paris here: Paris 2011 Set

We have decided to take an extra week this time to explore a bit more of this country and will be heading to Chamonix in the French Alps for some skiing [please snow!], Geneva and Annecy. Stay tuned!