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Great Cycling at Lake Annecy, France

Updated on April 3, 2014

High expectations

I have traveled to many places in Europe, but there is one special place that I dream of visiting again. The lake of Annecy brought peace to my mind. A turquoise lake enclosed in the Alps, the beauty is overwhelming.

Three years ago, we chose to travel to Annecy, France by car. It is a two to three day long trip from Sweden to Annecy. It is so awesome to travel through several countries, staying in different places. For me, that is freedom, different from the structured life at home.

My love and I always bring our bikes, and this time we were heading for some mountains in hopes of climbing by bike. I was so excited because it was my first time cycling up through the narrow roads in the Alps. I also was a little worried if I could make it or not.

The plan was to stop for a few days in Annecy and then go south to the Mediterranean coast. Annecy is also known as “the French Venice.” My expectations were high because I have been to Venice once before.

Lake Annecy. Source; my own photos.
Lake Annecy. Source; my own photos.
Annecy town. Source; my own photos.
Annecy town. Source; my own photos.

Finding a camping

We arrived at Annecy in the afternoon. It was crowded with cars everywhere. We were weary and desperate in our search for a camping. Unfortunately, we had to drive through the town. Really tricky, I would not recommend going into Annecy by car! After some struggling, we finally head out of town. In this moment, I spotted the lake. So beautiful, I had not seen such color on a lake. It was a sunny day and the view was amazing, turquoise water that glittered in the sun. Towering mountains surrounding the whole scene, just amazing!

We had some trouble finding a camping site with available space for us. Of course, the ones situated by the lakeside were all occupied, not even place for a small tent. We usually bring our tent when we travel by car. In summertime, the weather is nice and it is a great way to save some money for other activities. I highly recommend you to reserve a place if you arrive during the tourist season.

Finally, we found a tiny camping area in a garden. The people that owned the camping area lived in a house in the garden. The living standards were quite simple, but ok for me: there was hot water, showers and toilets. We were also served a small breakfast for some Euros.

A map over the lake of Annecy

Going up the hill. Source; my own photos.
Going up the hill. Source; my own photos.

Climbing "Col de la Forclaz"

Our goal for the next day was to go by bike up to the pass Forclaz, which takes almost 1100 meters of cycling. Not too hard I thought, but my partner had to turn and go back down last time he was trying to reach Forclaz. He is used to cycling in the other mountains in the Alps…

Nevertheless, we underestimated the climb and ran out of water. A silly mistake, but a great lesson... We went back down, stopped in a village by the lake and had some lunch. This day the temperature was above 30 degrees C and I was really tired. We now had about 30km to return to our camping site. The nice thing was that we had to cycle next to the lake and that gave me some extra energy. And of course, so did the food…

As we started our way back, I just couldn’t get enough of the wonderful view, although the heat was really tough to deal with. As we passed the point where the road was closest to the lake, we decided to stop and cool down in the lake. A lot of people had come forward with the same idea, to go for a swim. I just took my socks and shoes off, walked in to the turquoise water, lied down and let the cool water embrace me. I’m no fan of swimming, but this was amazing. All the beauty around me, the perfect tempered water, just to lie there, relaxed. I looked up to the mountains, all covered by sunshine. Life sure is fantastic.

We came back to the camping late in the afternoon, tired but satisfied. The next day we were heading south.

For more information about Col de la Forclaz: (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Col_de_la_Forclaz)

The climb of Forclaz

The climb up the Forclaz.
The climb up the Forclaz. | Source

My photos from the lake of Annecy and the town

Are there other things to do in Annecy than cycling?

Yes, of course there is. Some examples:

  • There are fantastic views if you like photography.
  • Hiking. There is several different routes, mostly in the mountains.
  • Go by boat on the lake. There are dinner tours, guided tours and so on.
  • Rent a tram. A great way to spend time on the lake.
  • Go by bike around the lake. There are wonderful bicycle paths on the west side of the lake, but no bicycle path on the east side. The tour is about 45km.
  • Visit the small villages on the way by the lake. Not many tourists and really wonderful.

Most of all, I think it is a marvelous nature experience to visit Annecy Lake. But if you like old, historic buildings there is something for you as well!

The lake of Annecy is truly a beautiful place

What about my high expectations of going to “the French Venice?” We took a trip into town on the first evening. It was a great old town with narrow streets, delightful ice cream and a lot of beautiful buildings. Swans were swimming in the water. People were out in trams and also were swimming. A lovely place, of course, but my reason to come back is the beauty of the environment. I adore the magnificent view from the mountain and the turquoise water.

So if you ever have the opportunity; go there! Maybe we will meet there.

Is Annecy a place you would like to visit?

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© 2014 kerlund74

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    • kerlund74 profile image
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      kerlund74 3 years ago from Sweden

      Thank you very much for your kind comment:-) There are many beautiful places in this world, so much to see:) Glad to see you follow!

    • Mel Carriere profile image

      Mel Carriere 3 years ago from San Diego California

      Looks like a marvelous place. I envy you living on the European continent where drives like this are possible. Great hub!

    • kerlund74 profile image
      Author

      kerlund74 3 years ago from Sweden

      Hello oceansunsets:) it is a fantastic place for outdoors activity. Thank you for reading and such kind comment.

    • oceansnsunsets profile image

      Paula 3 years ago from The Midwest, USA

      Hello Kerlund, I truly loved learning a bit about Annecy France. I would love to go there one day, it sounds amazing. I love to take photos, and do some walking and hiking, but I just love nature and being out in it. How great that you got to there, and share it with us here.

    • kerlund74 profile image
      Author

      kerlund74 3 years ago from Sweden

      Thank you sgbrown, apriciated!

    • sgbrown profile image

      Sheila Brown 3 years ago from Southern Oklahoma

      What a beautiful place this must be! I loved your pictures! :)

    • kerlund74 profile image
      Author

      kerlund74 3 years ago from Sweden

      MsDora; Thank you for reading and kind comment:)

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 3 years ago from The Caribbean

      Yes, Annecy sounds like a place I'd like to visit. Thank you for sharing your trip. I enjoyed it, though not as much as you did.

    • kerlund74 profile image
      Author

      kerlund74 3 years ago from Sweden

      :-) That is a great advantage with internet and online communities! We can share so much great things, but it can still be worth to make the trip;)

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Some day I'll make it across the Pond. Until that day happens I'll have to live vicariously through your writings and others like it. Thank you!

    • kerlund74 profile image
      Author

      kerlund74 3 years ago from Sweden

      Thank you for reading and I am glad you like my photos:)

    • tobusiness profile image

      Jo Alexis-Hagues 3 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Great hub! the images are absolutely stunning. It's strange how the mood of a place can affect us, Lake Annecy look serene and beautiful. Thank you for sharing,

    • kerlund74 profile image
      Author

      kerlund74 3 years ago from Sweden

      Thank you as well for taking time to read and comment:)

    • midget38 profile image

      Michelle Liew 3 years ago from Singapore

      This sounds so picturesque and great for outdoor lovers. Thanks for sharing with us!

    • kerlund74 profile image
      Author

      kerlund74 3 years ago from Sweden

      Thank you so much, I am glad you likes it:)

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 3 years ago from England

      Thats such a pretty place to visit! I had never really heard of it before, but I would definitely put it on my list to see, wonderful photos! voted up and shared, nell

    • kerlund74 profile image
      Author

      kerlund74 3 years ago from Sweden

      Yes:) Thank you for reading and comment vkwok!

    • vkwok profile image

      Victor W. Kwok 3 years ago from Hawaii

      Sounds like a nice place to visit.

    • kerlund74 profile image
      Author

      kerlund74 3 years ago from Sweden

      Thank you, glad you like them:)

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Traveling is a beautiful experience and your suggestion sounds wonderful. You have lovely photos.

    • kerlund74 profile image
      Author

      kerlund74 3 years ago from Sweden

      Bk42author: do that if you can, it really is a wonderful place. France have a lot to see:)

    • Bk42author profile image

      Brenda Thornlow 3 years ago from New York

      My husband and I went to Paris for the first time over the summer and I completely fell in love with it. My dream is to take a couple of months and visit all of France. This area looks incredible! Now I'm even more determined go out there!

    • kerlund74 profile image
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      kerlund74 3 years ago from Sweden

      Thank you so much Adventure Lover!

    • Adventure Lover profile image

      Adventure Lover 3 years ago

      Absolutely lovely!

    • kerlund74 profile image
      Author

      kerlund74 3 years ago from Sweden

      Thank you:-)

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      What a beautiful place that I had not previously heard of. French Venice indeed! I'm impressed that you cycled it. You go, girl!