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Annecy, a shimmering pearl in the heart of the mountains

Annecy is home to a uniquely clear lake ringed by mountains that seem to lean over it, offering the protection of their ancient forms… The snow melts in the spring, quenching the lake’s thirst for pure water. Flowing into the canals of the old town alongside the little streets and passageways, it upholds the magical nickname of “Venice of the Alps.” An eternal love story plays out between this alpine setting and the second biggest lake in France. And this osmosis contributes to Annecy’s singular charm.

A world of sensuality and sailing

Beaches, boats and parks surround the blue lake. Pâquier, Albigny, Impérial, Marquisats, Chavoire and Petit Port, to name but a few. Nestled on the banks a stone’s throw from the Pélican Hotel, they invite visitors and locals to indulge in a refreshing experience for all the senses. Some of the 650 trees in the Jardin de l’Europe, a green space linking the old town and the Impérial Palace, are now over thirty feet tall. You can also admire an imposing ginkgo biloba, pines, giant sequoias, and tulip trees. Meanwhile, the 20 acres of the adjacent Pâquier Park offer some of the best views of the lake and the surrounding mountains.

As you stroll across the Pont des Amours bridge, lean over to look at the rows of boats standing guard on the Vassé canal. And if you turn around, you will spot the Île aux Cygnes in the distance, just next to the Compagnie des Bateaux waiting to welcome you aboard.

Finally, Espérance III, a working sailboat boasting 25 tons of heritage, spanning 60 feet long with 1,200ft² of sails, will soon be restored to share part of Annecy’s history with its visitors.

Endless travels around Lake Annecy

If you’re looking for something “elsewhere,” away from the crowds and tourist sites, you’re in luck. Explore the banks of Lake Annecy and you will find so many different viewpoints, atmospheres and stories that you will feel immersed in an enchanting adventure on the waters. Throughout this landscape, the intriguingly named mountains - Dents de Lanfon, Roc de Chère, Semnoz, Parmelan, Tournette - are reflected in the crystal-clear water. Only the legend of the Lady of the Lake causes the slightest ripple… before taking you even deeper.

If you are meditative, thoughtful, or a dreamer, set off on new adventures as you walk around the lake’s shapely form. The east bank is home to striking, secret, impenetrable settings, from the Marais de l’Enfer marshes in St. Jorioz to those in Doussard at the top of the lake.

On the west bank, follow the reed-ringed Talloires Bay where Paul Cézanne painted Le Lac Bleu in 1896. The gently rocking boats moored in Veyrier at sunset will make you feel like you are on a Greek island. And in Angon, little-known restaurants invite you in for something to eat, right by the water and far from the crowds.

Inspiration and discretion for the rich and famous

The artists and celebrities who made the lake their muse or holiday destination all met here to bathe in the setting’s tranquillity and discretion. With notable guests including Empress Eugénie and Napoleon III, the Queen of England, Aga Khan, Alphonse de Lamartine, Winston Churchill, Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier of Monaco, Richard Nixon, Sacha Guitry, Charlie Chaplin, Brigitte Bardot, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, and more recently the late French singer Johnny Hallyday, those in search of peace and quiet have made Lake Annecy one of their favourite destinations. When can we expect you?