I’ve saved the best till last. Annecy. The final stop in our camper vanning adventure around France. It’s taken me a couple of weeks to write up this post and I think that’s because I’ve been slightly concerned that I wouldn’t do it justice.
During our trip we visited: the Loire Valley, Burgundy, Switzerland, The Alps, Limousin, Normandy and the Dordogne. But out of everywhere, I think I was most surprised by Annecy. I don’t know what I expected but I didn’t anticipate such a romantic little haven, tucked away near the foothills of the Alps. The surrounding hills, snow-capped for most of the year are breathtaking. You can even see Mont Blanc.
The ‘Venice of the Alps’
Known as a mini Venice for its canals, it has a beautifully clean lake, fresh, turquoise and glass-like. This would be an ideal romantic getaway or weekend break, an alternative to Venice even. My other half surprised me with a trip to Venice via overnight train last autumn and it was magical visit. You can’t replicate the art and opera found in a place like Venice, but Annecy does have something else – French food. And lots of cheese.
It’s always interesting to find a place which has merged two or more influences seamlessly. Being near two borders, in my mind, Annecy encompassed all that was good about France, Switzerland and Venice.
This small yet charismatic little town, with its lakeside setting, clean canals and medieval soul seemed to confidently steal our hearts.
I’ve tried many regional French dishes, but I’d never tasted tartiflette before this visit. My boyfriend’s Mum had heard about it beforehand and was keen to try this dish made with Reblochon cheese, which is produced in Savoy. (Since I’ve discovered Sainsbury’s stock this as part of their Taste the Difference range, there’s been a Reblochon shaped disk, patiently waiting on the top shelf of my fridge.)
Above: Full Moon
We ordered the dish at a lakeside restaurant on our first day, washed it down with some local rosé wine and mopped it up with some crusty bread. They used an entire cylinder of Reblochon cheese (the same size as a whole Camembert) which was cooked with small pieces of potatoes, onion, white wine, cream and bacon (shhh, don’t tell anyone). Full recipe coming soon to a blog near you.
Above: Half Moon
While we were in Annecy, we stayed at a hotel situated in the courtyard of the chateau Hôtel Du Château for a few nights. A cheerful little place which served a simple breakfast. I loved the fact its reception was home to a lovely piano and a resident cat. Always a good sign. Guests can take their breakfast to the outside terrace with views of Annecy and the lake. Cost per night, sleeping two was €95.
Above: I loved this ivy-strewn house next door to our hotel
Hôtel Du Château
16 rampe du château
Tel: 0033 4 50 45 27 66
Fax: 0033 4 50 52 75 26
And if you happen to be in town on 1st June, then you must pay a visit to the mother of all car boot sales (a car boot is called a brocante in France) held in the neighbouring village, Poisy. It’s an annual event where 200 stalls fill the town, with bric-a-brac weaving in and around the church and town square. If you’re a Francophile, you’ll be in seventh heaven.
Above: I found this French looking gentleman for €50, and just had to snap him up!
Above: My second car boot gem: Two old French keys, handmade by a blacksmith in the 1940s
For more info on the Poisy brocante go to: