When I arrive in Annecy, I heave a sigh of relief. The morning has been stressful, entailing a mad dash across congested Parisian streets and a subsequent missed train. But I’m here now, and even in my dazed state I’m bowled over by the splendour.
Known as the ‘Pearl of the French Alps’, Annecy is a small town nestled in the Southeast of France. An imposing chateau, once home to the Counts of Geneva, overlooks the central lake, its grandiloquent stone facade wonderfully juxtaposing the pristine blue disc below. The Lake unfurls into gentle canals that ribbon through the town’s cobbled streets, its beauty framed by tall trees that cast a halcyon haze across the water.
Everything about Annecy coaxes you into relaxation. The weathered picture-book houses melt the tightness in your shoulders, the waterways, gilded by the late afternoon sun, slow your stride into a lazy amble, and the fresh tulips take your mind off the daily grind. I dress casually in shorts and some navy blue repettos, for once giving a mind to practicality in my ensemble.
In spite of its sleepy scenery, Annecy is abuzz with preparations for Easter festivities. Each chocolaterie has put its finest creations on display, and locals stop to behold the silken brown rabbits, deep mahogany eggs, and colourful ornaments. Unable to resist the temptation, I purchase a thin block of milk chocolate with caramelised noisette. It’s an unwise, unusual and unhealthy choice for breakfast but I decide to pair it with a slice of hot bread and categorise it as a makeshift pain au chocolate. Bon appétit.