You can't go to Annecy and not see its most famous sight - its lake, it's framed by towering mountains on the south side and green hills on the Annecy side, there are plenty of boats which go around the lake but it's far better to walk and take as many photos as you can.
You can't miss Lake Annecy - just follow 'Le Lac' signs from the train station
The Vielle ville is the old medieval and historic heart of the city with arcaded streets lined with the inevitable souvenir shops, but there are some interesting shops selling clothes and local food.
However, don't go on Sunday morning/afternoon (after 1pm) when there is the market and tourists, vans and market traders clog the narrow cobbled Rue Ste Claire, but there are plenty of hidden alleyways and squares behind the castle and canals where the tourists don't go. Just loose yourself.
Annecy lines 28 miles north of Chambéry and 20 miles south of Geneva. It can easily by reached by TGV from Paris and Geneva, as it's on the direct line between Valence, Chambéry and Geneva
If you get tired of the medieval buildings and coloured houses of old Annecy, check out the art deco architecture on Avenue d'Albigny which runs right beside lake Annecy - don't miss the 'post box' house.
Avenue d'Albigny stretches from the town hall hugging lake Annecy as far as Annecy-le-Vieux, it's just a 20 min walk from the Palais de l'ile and 10 mins from the town hall.
A great way to enter Annecy is to walk from the train station to Rue Carnot - this is the main shopping street of Annecy where pricy big name fashion stores make their mark. But the Rue Royale has cheaper shops and allows quick access to the lake or to the canalside park off Rue de la Republique. But it's best if you follow Rue Carnot down to its end and go on to Rue Perriere which goes behind the Palais de l'ile and connects to Rue Ste Claire - Annecy's most famous street with its cobbled stones and arcaded shops.
From the train station just go straight down Rue de la Republique and turn right onto Rue Royale
The often crowded but peaceful Jardin d'Europe and Champs de Mars look out over lake Annecy and provide stupendous views of the Alps and photo ops. It's a great place for a family picnic as there is a children's park and ducks on the lake. A must do is to walk by Lake Annecy from the Hotel de ville down to the port.
Jardin d'Europe and Champs de Mars are just a 5 min walk from the town hall and from the old city
The castle looms over the old city and lake Annecy, it has a (overpriced) museum inside, but I chose to skip the museum as it was too expensive and you get great (free!) views of it anyway from the lake and from the steep alleyways which snake behind it to bring you back down to old Annecy.
It's a stunning castle with the turrets and gates showing the power and might of Annecy when it ruled over Italy and western Switzerland and its museum is great for families as children will love the suits of armour.
Chateau d'Annecy is only a 20 minute walk from the train station and is well signposted
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