Lake Annecy: Europe’s Purest Lake

Lake Annecy, France

Whatever France’s Lac Annecy is selling, I’m buying. After all, I’m only used to seeing this kind of pureness in advertisements that are trying to persuade me to buy beauty products and pharmaceuticals. Looking at this lake, anything is possible. If you could be younger, smarter, more energetic, happier, better looking, stronger or just plain healthier, this lake will make it happen. I’m perfect, the lake says. You can be too.

View of Lake Annecy from the park-like grounds of L'Imperial Palace Annecy Hotel. #France

View of Lake Annecy from the park-like grounds of L’Imperial Palace Annecy Hotel, where we stayed.

The only possible cure that I know for sure that Lac Annecy offers is the cure for jet lag. Annecy was our first stop after our redeye flight from New York City to Geneva. We collected our rental car and drove forty minutes south to Annecy. On only two to three hours of sleep, we were feeling quite groggy. And then we saw the lake and it woke us right up: the vision of the vast lake surrounded by mountains. The lake and the mountains keep changing colors: infinite shades of blue and green. The best is when you can catch stripes of emerald green in the lake. Turquoise isn’t bad either.

Beautiful Lake Annecy, France -- #perfect spot for boats!

There are lots of opportunities to rent boats as you get closer to town.

It was cloudy when we arrived, but the clouds slowly burned away. We walked along the lake into town, which was about a 15-to-20-minute walk from our hotel L’Imperial Palace Annecy. We saw lots of boats for rent, most of the pedal variety but some motor boats. We didn’t have the energy to be on a plane and a boat the same day, so we planned to wait for the next day. But then that morning, we spent all of our time at the beach near the hotel. We went swimming in the lake and it was the very definition of refreshing. A little cold, but very refreshing. After that we went into town for a late lunch and we were off to our next stop, Avignon. If we didn’t have an itinerary to stick to, we might have been tempted to spend the entire 10 days in Annecy.

I went for a swim in Lake Annecy -- so refreshing!

I went for a swim in Lake Annecy — so refreshing!

I didn’t have time for a shower after my swim and before the three-hour drive to Avignon, but that’s OK because the lake is very, very clean. When you look at Annecy, it’s no surprise that this perialpine lake bills itself as Europe’s Purest Lake and Europe’s Cleanest Lake. Apparently, it has achieved this because of “strict environmental regulations” enacted in the 1960s. While I could find numerous articles citing this fact, I couldn’t find any articles that explained what those environmental regulations are. They do allow motorized boats and there are several towns that surround this 10 square miles of lake (including Tailloires, which is supposed to be very charming), but no major industry. Annecy would be considered a small city although we spent our time either lakeside or in the wonderfully preserved Old Town. In fact, it’s almost a battle as to which is more beautiful, but really they complement each other perfectly. Stay tuned to see photos of the Old Town!

How many shades of blue and green can you find in Lake Annecy, France?

How many shades of blue and green can you find in Lake Annecy, France?

Can't get enough of those Lake Annecy views!

Can’t get enough of those Lake Annecy views!

17 Responses to Lake Annecy: Europe’s Purest Lake

  1. Jessica July 16, 2013 at 7:04 pm #

    Annecy the town is great as well! Love it there.

  2. wanderingeducators
    Twitter: WanderingEds
    July 16, 2013 at 8:01 pm #

    GORGEOUS! Oh, I so want to swim there.
    wanderingeducators recently posted..5 Reasons You Should Do Long Term Travel with Children

  3. Jennifer Miller July 16, 2013 at 9:25 pm #

    We’re going to be in Europe in the spring… I’ll bookmark this! :)
    Jennifer Miller recently posted..Saturday Morning Adventures

  4. Tom L July 17, 2013 at 9:59 am #

    Spectacular views, it looks like a mini sea with those clear blue waters! Simply amazing, I bet it must have been hard for you to leave this place 😉
    Tom L recently posted..Majorca (Mallorca) – Beyond the beaches and resorts

  5. Jarret July 17, 2013 at 7:54 pm #

    Beautiful! I wish I had known about this when I was in Geneva and Chamonix!

  6. Shelly Rivoli July 18, 2013 at 8:19 pm #

    Looks absolutely beautiful! I want to go and rent a paddle boat for the afternoon! 😉
    Shelly Rivoli recently posted..In case of carsickness: Ten things you’ll be glad to have on your next road trip

  7. Terry at Overnight New York July 19, 2013 at 4:31 pm #

    So that’s what a super-pure lake looks like. Gorgeous!
    Terry at Overnight New York recently posted..Ace Hotel: Music to Help Kids Get Better

  8. Micki
    Twitter: barefootnomads
    July 19, 2013 at 5:20 pm #

    What a beautiful lake! This just made my list :)
    Micki recently posted..Peru: Ancient History and Adorable Alpacas

  9. Monique July 20, 2013 at 11:53 am #

    This is so beautiful. I haven’t spent any time at the lakes in France, going instead to the ocean, but after reading this, I think I’ll be planning a trip there.
    Monique recently posted..An Introduction to Nelson Mandela in Cape Town

  10. Sandra Foyt
    Twitter: SandraFoyt
    July 20, 2013 at 3:53 pm #

    How stunning, and what a testament to environmental regulations (whatever they may be!)
    Sandra Foyt recently posted..Outdoor Adventures with Kids Strengthen Families

  11. Mary @ Green Global Travel
    Twitter: GreenGlobalTrvl
    July 21, 2013 at 2:08 am #

    Beautiful scenery. We wish more places saw the economic value in being pure and unpolluted. Lake Annecy makes me want to go for a dip right now!
    Mary @ Green Global Travel recently posted..10 Ancient Archaeological Sites For Your World Travel Bucket List

  12. gabi klaf (the nomadic family)
    Twitter: nomadfamtravels
    July 21, 2013 at 9:00 am #

    so so so so lovely. lovely. we just watched water horse so i want lakes and dragon-like friends in them! :-) gabi
    gabi klaf (the nomadic family) recently posted..Street Smartology and New Endings After the End- Life on the Road, Chapter Two- Philippines

  13. Cat of Sunshine and Siestas
    Twitter: sunshinesiestas
    July 21, 2013 at 2:54 pm #

    A friend of mine in Spain did his Erasmus year in Annecy, and I wanted to kick myself for not getting out to visit him. What a beautiful place!

  14. Elena July 21, 2013 at 9:09 pm #

    I have never spent time at any of the French lakes—Italian yes, but not French. The water looks so inviting surrounded by the mountains!
    Elena recently posted..Why Do You Travel: Travel as DNA

  15. Bethaney - Flashpacker Family
    Twitter: flashpackerfam
    July 21, 2013 at 11:04 pm #

    What a beautiful lake. Pinned to my Europe Travel Inspiration board for future reference!
    Bethaney – Flashpacker Family recently posted..Keeping Kids Motivated for Travel

  16. Abby
    Twitter: abbytegnelia
    July 22, 2013 at 7:02 am #

    I’ve never stayed at a lake like that… Your photos are gorgeous!
    Abby recently posted..Daydream of the Week: Lake Las Vegas

  17. thefancyvoyager July 25, 2013 at 1:48 pm #

    Great photos! Annecy’s my favorite destination! We cycled along the lake and took a dip in the lake as well. Gosh, I miss the place!
    thefancyvoyager recently posted..5 Cheap Eats in Paris

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