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.
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.
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 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!