I’ve always liked the freedom and flexibility you get from renting a house or apartment when you travel. And over the last couple of years AirBnB has taken over the self-catering world – there aren’t many destinations not covered on the site. It has its critics though, and like anything you need to be careful – make sure to check the reviews, always pay through the AirBnB site and never by bank transfer, and watch out for the cleaning and admin fees.
One of the great things about Annecy is its outdoors lifestyle – you’ve got cycling, hiking, sailing and swimming right on your doorstep. But you’re not just limited to the summer months either, the town is also surrounded by mountains so during the winter you can ski, snowboard and snowshoe your way around the slopes. The Aravis mountain range is within easy reach of Annecy and is home to four ski resorts – La Clusaz, Le Grand Bornand, Manigod and Saint Jean de Sixt.
The heart of the French town of Annecy might be its pretty old town, but its lungs are the lake. It’s here that local residents and visitors get outside and get active – running and cycling on lakeside paths, sailing and kayaking on the water or swimming in it. Or if that’s all too energetic you can just soak up the fresh air on one of the boat cruises that tour around the lake. Lake Annecy was formed by melting glaciers 18,000 years ago and the clear waters still flow in from surrounding Alpine rivers and springs.
It turns out that I’m a fickle traveller – less than a year after I decided Strasbourg was my new favourite French spot, I’ve already defected and lost my heart to Annecy. It must be something about the canals as both places are set around a network of waterways. But as well as having a perfectly preserved old town with historic buildings and canalside cafés, Annecy also throws in a turquoise lake and stunning mountain scenery.