Lake Annecy France
Alpine scenery, fairytale castles and a constellation of Michelin stars: no wonder Lake Annecy has long been a holiday hotspot. Famously painted by Paul Cézanne in 1896, the clear lake waters are fed by springs and ringed by hills and peaks, presenting a scenic backdrop for outdoor activities. See it all from above while paragliding down from a mountainside launch, or hit the water with a paddleboard, pedalo, pleasure boat or water skis. The Lake Annecy greenway offers traffic-free touring by bicycle, foot or rollerblade, with the chance to dive into the water at the dozen or so beaches.
At the lake’s northern end lies the charming town of Annecy itself, criss-crossed by canals and emblematic buildings lining historic, cobbled streets. Major landmarks are the Musée-Château with its 13th-century Queen’s Tower, and the Palais de l’Ile which sits in the middle of the river.
Many restaurants champion seasonal, lake-to-plate dining, and the area as a whole garners 11 Michelin stars. Highlights include Yoann Conte’s two-starred La Maison Bleue with its waterfront terrace and Laurent Petit’s three-starred Le Clos des Sens with it’s great lake views. The town is awash with bistros and cafés where you can try delicacies such as Reblochon and Tome des Bauges cheeses. Get there on the second Saturday in October to experience Le Retour des Alpages festival, celebrating local products, crafts and traditions.