Let us take a short walk around the lake, starting at the northern end and in the old town of Annecy with its many canals, which are resplendent all year round. On the left bank, Sevrier, Saint-Jorioz as well as Duingt and its château reach down to the water's edge, while on the right bank, Veyrier and its viewpoint, and Menthon Saint Bernard and its château overlook the lake. Bout du Lac nature reserve and the viewpoint at Roc de Chère can be found at the southern end of the lake. A few kilometres away, the source of Lake Annecy in Faverges rounds off this tour of the lake.
Canals carve their way through Annecy’s old town, giving it the nickname ‘Venice of the Alps’.
Stock up on the outdoors
Bicycles form part of the landscape around Lake Annecy. A walking and cycling path links Annecy to Ugine along the lake’s west bank. To do a full tour of the lake by bicycle, you can continue along the main road that runs along the east bank. The lake's two 18-hole golf clubs, in Talloires and Giez, have beautiful courses next to the lake with stunning views.
To get a bird’s-eye view of the lake, head to col de la Forclaz, one of the most beautiful paragliding spots in France. Beginners can take tandem flights, and there are also learner and advanced courses.
An array of hiking routes also offers breath-taking views over the lake.
The water of Lake Annecy, which can reach 26°C in the summer, is very much enjoyed by bathers. The lake caters for all water sports: sailing, kayaking, windsurfing, diving, etc.
Why not enjoy a cruise around the lake? Or take advantage of the Omnibus shuttle boat service? You will find boat rental facilities in each port.
Annecy is a must-see tourist destination. Running through the whole town is Thiou canal, the lake's natural outlet, from whose banks and bridges visitors are surrounded by the town's churches and narrow streets. Annecy's château overlooks the town. This former residence of the Court of Savoie, subsequently used as military barracks, was turned into a regional art and nature museum in 1842.
The library of Menthon Saint Bernard château, on the right bank, holds more than 12,000 volumes that predate the French Revolution, while on the other side of the lake, in Sevrier, the Bell museum (Musée de la Cloche) is dedicated to the well-known local foundry, Fonderie Paccard, the world's leading maker of church bells and chimes. A stone’s thrown from the foundry, Lake Annecy eco-museum presents the history and daily lives of Savoyards in the 19th century.
A designated Ville d'Art et d'Histoire (town of art and history), Annecy is also well-known for its collections of paintings which date back to the 15th century. In the 18th and 19th centuries, the influence of the romanticism and realism art movements, which so revered mountain scenery, led a great many artists to visit Annecy. Most of the paintings of Lake Annecy were produced by landscape painters, of which the best known is ‘The blue lake’ by Paul Cézanne.
Lake Annecy is home to many species of fish, including char and whitefish, which are served in local restaurants. There are several Michelin-starred restaurants in Annecy and around the lake: Le Clos des Sens 3* in Annecy-le-Vieux, L'Esquisse 1*, la Rotonde de Trésoms 1*, Vincent Favre-Félix 1* in Annecy, Yoann Conte 2* in Veyrier-du-Lac as well as Jean Sulpice 2* and Auberge de Montmin 1* in Talloires.
The most beautiful panoramas
Col de la Forclaz viewpoint, above Talloires and at a height of 1150 m, provides a commanding view of the lake. From here, a path leads to another viewpoint which looks out on to the surrounding summits.
Just after Veyrier du Lac, a path leads to Mont Veyrier, a five-hour walk (round trip). From the summit, walkers are rewarded with a bird's-eye view over Annecy and its lake, framed by the surrounding summits.
There are also several viewpoints in the Semnoz mountain range. Crêt de Chatillon, its highest point at 1699 m, offers a panoramic view of the western Alps, including Haut Faucigny, Mont-Blanc, the Vanoise and Ecrins mountain ranges, and the Aiguilles d'Arves.