Located in the Haute Savoie region close to the alps, Annecy is one of the most charming towns I have seen in France. Given the number of canals that criss-cross the city it has been called Venice of the Alps. The town is picturesque with its pastel colored buildings and flower boxes lining the canals.
From the moment I stepped foot in Annecy I was enchanted. How could one not love this place? The Palais de I'Isle (above) was built in 1132 and originally housed a castle. Throughout the years it was a courthouse and then a jail. Not that I would ever want to be in custody but you must admit it is a spectacular view.
It has always been my dream to retire to France. If I was single the dream would be quite simple. However when one has a spouse there are compromises to be made. The biggest of the compromises is where in France to live. Okay I have not completely convinced my husband to move with me. I speak French he does not. I have a dream, he does not completely share it. One of the compromises is that he has to have access to a ski resort.
Annecy could be our compromise. It is an easy hour plus drive to the Chamonix from here. For both of us, Annecy is on a lake. There is great bike riding to be found. Can you imagine having a charming bed and breakfast overlooking the canals? What would I serve my guests?
I love how the French place flowers wherever they can. Geraniums always seem to be the flower of choice.
The canals are populated by these beautiful white swans. They add a touch of elegance to this fairytale town.
Everywhere you turned flowers were smiling back at you.
One night I remember sitting outside at one of these restaurants and having one of my more memorable meals. Of course when you are in the mountains you need hearty food to keep you warm. I remember an amazing potato dish, called tartiflette, made with potatoes, reblochon cheese, lardons and onions. It was incredible. Our meat was a red meat and as equally good. For dessert we had a strawberry mousse. It was as light as air with the most fragrant scent of strawberries fresh from the fields. On this trip, and the only time we went to Annecy we were able to visit it twice. The second time was on our return to Paris. We were going to leave the rental car here and catch the train. I had enjoyed my meal so much that I insisted on returning to the restaurant. That night it started raining cats and dogs. I remember my husband trying to convince me to eat closer to the hotel. He did not want to drive in the rain and he did not want to get wet. But oh no I insisted that we had to go back for those potatoes. Thankfully the rain had stopped by the time we parked the car (the underground garage was a swimming pool). The meal was as good as I had remembered. If you ever find yourself in the Haute Savoie region do visit Annecy.
Cooking is one of my passions in life. Enjoying good food, pastries, chocolate and everything the French have to savor is my other. This should come as a surprise given my father chose my name after reading The Hunchback of Notre Dame.
I am a voracious reader and collector of cookbooks. Little did I know that all my grade school French lessons would come in handy one day.