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Published: January 9th 2015
Downtown Annecy with Palace of the Isle in the background.
France has one of the best social security systems, if not the best, in the world. Both blue and white collars workers get paid 6 weeks vacation time every year. So, in July and August most of the French people take their annual summer holidays and travel around the country. Since I wanted to avoid the summer rush I took a mini vacation in May, to Annecy a town in the Rhone-Alpes region, often referred to as "the Venice of France."
As Annecy is only 130 kilometers (80 miles) away from Bourg-en-Bresse (the city where I lived in France) it took us less than 2 hours to cover that distance. We had an early summer that particular year in 2003. As a matter of fact, that year turned out to be the hottest summer in France in over 50 years with temperatures reaching 40+ degrees Centigrade, or 105 degrees Fahrenheit!
The town is situated on the shores of Lake Annecy, reputed to be one of the cleanest lakes in the world. Not surprisingly, the town and its surrounding areas draw tourists from all over the country and overseas, not only in summer but in winter too, with hundreds of
The Thiou Canal which runs through the town.
mountain slopes (the French Alps) to please the avid skier.
We concentrated our visit in and around the town center, and the park adjoining the lake. Walking through the stone-paved streets was certainly a delight. Although we didn't, one can also take a pleasure cruise on the Thiou Canal which crosses the town. Right in the center of the canal is the Palais de' I'lsle
or Palace on the Island which is the most distinctive building of the city. This triangular shaped building was built in the 12th century, and classified as a Historical site in 1900. Today, it houses a local history museum.
For lunch we had a typical Plat du jour
or dish of the day at a downtown restaurant. Although it was still not the traditional vacances
(vacation time) yet, the place was crowded, perhaps because of the nice summer-like weather. It was the same at the park alongside Lake Annecy where we went after lunch. We had trouble finding parking space there, and had to wait for some ten minutes before we could find a place.
Known as the "Blue Lake" because of its clear blue water, Lake Annecy is the third largest
In front of the restaurant where we had lunch.
lake in France. It offers a wide range of sport and leisure activities, such as cycling, windsurfing and diving, and of course for people like me who came to admire the beautiful landscape. I was told that the inhabitants of Annecy take pride in their lake being one of the cleanest and purest in the world.
Sharing its eastern borders with Italy and Switzerland, the Rhone-Alpes region of France is where Annecy is located, right at the heart of Europe. Consequently, it has some of the prettiest scenery on earth. I was fortunate enough to have lived there for many years and experience the wonders of the "Old World."
For your information, every year in August, the city of Annecy holds Europe's biggest fireworks display called Fete du Lac d'Annecy
or the Lake Annecy Festival. I believe thousands of spectators gather around the lake to witness a two hour long fireworks extravaganza, accompanied by music, lights and special effects. As I write this, we are still only in January, so you have plenty of time to make your plans to go vsit this pretty town this coming summer!
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