Nestled by the northwestern shore of its namesake lake, Annecy is the jewel of the Haute-Savoie. From its crowning Château d’Annecy down to its gurgling canals, Annecy’s Vieille Ville (Old Town) is infused with antique charm. Made great by the medieval Counts of Geneva and augmented by the Dukes of Savoy, Annecy still has numerous 16th- and 17th-century buildings, now painted in shades of peach and rose and housing restaurants, bakeries and boutiques. Canals trickle through town, earning Annecy its reputation as an 'Alpine Venice'.
Lac d’Annecy, speckled with swans and rowing boats, is said to have the cleanest waters in Europe, and Annecy’s outdoorsy residents revel in all this nature. They row the lake, zip through town on rollerblades and bicycles, and, in winter, drive to nearby ski areas like La Clusaz. After a few lungfuls of mountain air, you might feel compelled to join them.