Thirty five kilometers south of Geneva, Switzerland, lies a tiny town called Annecy. If you’re looking for an easy side trip from Paris, my nod goes to Annecy. And probably lots of other towns I haven’t been to in southern France, because from everything I’ve seen of it, southern France is the tits.
After searching for a second location to visit during my recent trip to Paris, we ended up with lots of options – Amsterdam, Geneva, St. Sebastian, London, etc. – but ultimately wanting to keep it simple and knowing we would only be there two nights, we kept our pants in France and chose the cutest place we could possible Google.
A Tiny Town Called Annecy
Transportation: Paris to Annecy
The train from Paris to Annecy was relatively simple, despite a brief but stupid moment when Anna and I thought we were trapped on the wrong floor of the train station and had to be rescued slash released by a very old, very chivalrous French man (thanks, monsieur French man!). I even successfully bought our train tickets completely in French, which is something I’d probably advise against, since I had to Google translate everything 94 times and was still not positive I did it right until we stepped off the train in Annecy.
The train system in Europe is phenomenal. However, one thing I totally forgot about was the assigned seating thing – which, don’t get me wrong, I understand the point of – but is ultimately the most confusing part of the train process. Maybe it’s my horrific eyesight, or the fact that I always seem to be sprinting and sweating when it’s time to hop on most forms of public transportation, but I’d appreciate it if they put the number of the train car (voiture, if you’re fancy) in giant block letters on the outside of the train. Learn to scan with a quickness.
The lesson here is that when you’re buying a ticket that requires you to switch trains, make sure to give yourself plenty of time to accomplish the switching (I’d recommend 15+ minutes). Otherwise you could end up falling in puddles of misplaced butter at the bottom of train station staircases (true story – sorry, Anna Lea), sprinting up unexpectedly lengthy concrete ramps of terror, and hitting row after row of silent, glaring European strangers in the head in attempts to fit your linebacker-sized backpack in what’s left of the baggage storage area (sorry, European strangers).
But back to Annecy.
If and when you decide to explore the cutest damn town in all the world, stay at “Lofts & Lakes”. Not only does it have a terrace overlooking the winding canal and colorful houses of Annecy, but it also has a sauna for two, bunk beds, two sets of furry curtains, and a swinging door of tree branches (it’s cooler than it sounds, and it even sounds pretty cool).
There’s not a ton to do in Annecy during off-season – summertime brings loads more tourists and water sports activities – but that’s also kind of the point. Eat gelato, sip some coffee whilst people-watchin’, soak in all the eye-cuteness, browse cheese shops, take the touristy-but-superb boat ride around the clearest lake you’ve ever seen, drink wine, pick out your future dream castle, ride a hot air balloon (I got a bad fever while in Annecy and missed this part – fucking fever!), and eat dinner before 8pm because you’re shit out of luck if you don’t.
Oh, Annecy. You’re cute as a bug in a rug. I’ll be back.