48 hours in Annecy, France

October 30, 2014 (Last Updated: March 3, 2023)
by Carolyn
Palais de lIsle Annecy

My visit to Annecy in France was long overdue. I had planned to visit a few years ago when I travelled to Europe in winter but due to some unforeseen itinerary changes the visit had to be put on hold. It was therefore with some excitement that I arrived in the picturesque lakeside town in June this year for a 48 hour visit.

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We arrived on a Saturday shortly after lunch and with our GPS guiding us perfectly, we skirted the Old Town and arrived at our hotel, Les Tresoms, on a gorgeous sunny day. After checking in, we were keen to explore the town so we headed off on the walking path from the hotel which leads down to the lakeside promenade.

The hotel receptionist had advised us not to drive into town today as it would be difficult to find a park. We assumed that Saturdays must be a particularly busy day in Annecy but we didn’t realise quite how busy this particular Saturday would be!

Unbeknownst to us, we’d arrived smack bang on Annecy’s busiest weekend of the year – the annual music festival, Fete de la Musique. As we wandered along the canals and through the flower-decked cobbled streets of the Old Town, people were literally shoulder to shoulder.

Annecy France Annecy was just as beautiful as I had imagined it to be.

Crowds spilled out of the cafes and shops into the narrow streets and restaurants were chock full both inside and out. The town was a hive of activity and had a real buzz to it.

Despite the crowds, we enjoyed exploring the Old Town and there were plenty of photo stops along the way. Flower-filled baskets hung outside the medieval houses that lined the canal and one of Annecy’s most famous buildings, the Palais de l’Isle, built in the 12th Century and once used as a prison, featured heavily in my photos.

With ice creams in hand we then headed to the Jardins de l’Europe, a park alongside Lac Annecy. Here cruise boats and row boats lined the shore tempting tourists to enjoy a leisurely sail on the lake.

A band was playing in the park so we stopped to listen for a while and learned they were rehearsing for a concert later that evening. Maybe we’d return.

Annecy cafe scene Cafes and restaurants line the canals of the medieval quarter of Annecy.

After walking back to our hotel, a 20 minute casual stroll past the local swimming pool and sailing club, we enjoyed some R&R by the pool at Les Tresoms before getting ready for a night in Annecy. Again, we walked into town and battled the crowds to find somewhere for dinner.

Luckily, the wait at our restaurant of choice with a typical Savoyard menu, wasn’t too long and soon we were tucking into the local cuisine. To accompany our meal, my husband tried a local beer, a Mont Blanc Blonde, which he enjoyed.

Annecy centre The weekend of the Fete de la Musique was extremely busy in Annecy but we still enjoyed our visit very much.

It was now getting dark (around 10pm) so we headed back to the park just in time to see the band that were rehearsing earlier start their concert. For two hours we sat and listened to the music with hundreds of others, both locals and tourists alike.

It was one of the best concerts we’ve ever attended – the music was great, it was free and it was held on the banks of Lake Annecy. It doesn’t get much better than that.

Alley in Annecy Narrow alleys in Annecy’s medieval quarter offer plenty of temptation for shoppers.

Next morning we were up and about early and ready to make the most of the rest of our weekend in Annecy.

First up, we decided to hire an electric boat and cruise Lake Annecy for a while. Our hour on the lake was very relaxing and my husband even jumped off the boat and swam in the crystal clear lake – but not for long as he reported it was freezing.

The views of the town and the smaller villages along the lakeside were great from the water.

Boat hire at Lake Annecy There was no shortage of boats for hire. We chose an electric boat and enjoyed our hour-long cruise on Lake Annecy.

The remainder of the day was spent walking along the lake, browsing at the weekly food market, shopping, sampling more of the lovely local food and more time by the pool at our hotel.

Before arriving in Annecy, I had planned to either take a cruise or drive a little further along the lake to Talloires as I’d heard it was a picturesque village. Once in Annecy, though, there was just too much going on and I was more than happy to stay and enjoy it.

Annecy canal Boats sit in wait in the canal waiting to be taken out onto Lake Annecy.

Sunday night in Annecy was still as busy as the rest of the weekend had been. We chose a small pizzeria along the canal but away from the majority of the crowds for our final evening in town.

As we ate I pondered whether my previously cancelled visit to Annecy was really a blessing in disguise. I can imagine that Annecy would be just as beautiful in winter time with snow-capped alps on the horizon, but we’d really nailed it with our visit in summer.

With perfect weather and the town abuzz, this was a case of delayed gratification well worth waiting for. Our 48 hours in Annecy was a weekend we’ll never forget.

View of Annecy Flower boxes bursting with blooms line Annecy’s canals during summer, making the pretty town even lovelier.

Where is Annecy?

Annecy is situated in the Haute-Savoie region of France, 50 kilometres from Geneva.

How to get to Annecy

  • The nearest international airport is at Geneva.
  • Annecy can be reached by TGV from Paris and by regional trains from throughout France.
  • Driving time from Geneva is around 1 hour.

Where to Stay in Annecy

Les Tresoms Hotel is a 4 star hotel situated on a hillside overlooking Lake Annecy. The hotel offers multiple restaurants, an outdoor pool and terrace with lake views, and spa treatments. WiFi and car parking are included.  You can read my review of the hotel here.

Where to Eat in Annecy

Enjoy traditional Savoy cuisine at O Savoyard, 1 rue Perriere, Quartier Centre Ville Mairie, Annecy.

Things to do in Annecy

  • The Annecy Food Market is held every Sunday from 7am to 1pm in Place des Rhododendrons.
  • Boat hire is available along the lake beside Jardins de l’Europe.  One hour hire of an electric boat costs around €60. Pedalos can be rented from €12 for 30 minutes.
  • A variety of cruises including lunch and dinner dance cruises are offered by Compagnie des Bateaux du Lac d’Annecy.
  • Fete de la Musique is held every year on the first weekend of Summer (the Summer Solstice), around the 22nd of the month.
  • If you’d like to try skiing, the resort of Courchevel, which is considered one of the best ski destinations for beginners, is just 90 minutes away.

For more information about Lake Annecy Tourism’s website.


48 hours in Annecy France