Annecy at its surface is a wonderful resort town nestled in the French Alps, fun in the summer, fun in the winter. Filled with cafes, ice cream stands, old shop-lined streets, and picturesque little restaurants, the town is snuggled next to Lake Annecy and surrounded by the towering mountains of the Alps. When we try to describe the town in one word, “pleasant” easily comes to mind. The weather is perfect, the sun is out, life seems slow but stimulating, and all seem to be smiling.
With all of this, it is easy to forget or not even acknowledge its profound history at almost any point starting all the way back with the Romans. This little town sat at the crossroads of three Roman routes, and therefore a very strategic position both before and after the Romans ruled. Then in the Middle Ages, it was part of the Holy Roman Germanic Empire. In the 16th Century, it played a big role in the Protestant Reformation, when the historic diocese of Geneva moved to Annecy. The area didn’t escape the French Revolution either – the ideas were well known among the bourgeois of Annecy and in 1972, French troops invaded. During WWII, the area was invaded by the Germans and Italians, which eventually led to the Germans taking control over the whole area. And today, it is one of France’s most visited cities, which we can attest to by the number of French tourists in the narrow streets.
While here, we definitely have a bunch planned, but we are also hoping to slow down a step. Spend a little longer at breakfast and lunch. Meander through a couple more streets than we may normally do. Sit on a stoop or next to the lake and just absorb our surroundings. We love staying busy, but a couple deep breaths seem to be encouraged by this town, and we’re excited to do exactly that.