With a lakeside setting and a mountainous backdrop, Annecy-le-Vieux is a destination of great scenic beauty. Visit the town for its abundance of outdoor pursuits. Sail across an alpine lake, go walking in the hills and enjoy downhill adventures on the ski slopes.
Annecy-le-Vieux sits on the northeastern shore of Annecy Lake. Rent a powerboat, sailboat or rowboat and get out on the vast body of water. Guided boat tours are also available. When you are back on dry land, walk or cycle on the 19-mile (30-kilometer) path that runs alongside part of the lake. Then relax on the large stretch of beach next to Petit Port (Small Port). The open farmland to the north of town is worth exploring by bike or car.
The nearby mountains lend themselves to a range of activities. Hike to the top of the forest covered Mount Veyrier on the lake’s eastern shore. It climbs up to 4,236 feet (1,291 meters) at its highest point. The grand Château de Menthon also sits on the east side of the lake. Enjoy a tour of this turreted 12th-century stronghold.
During the winter, Annecy-le-Vieux is a great place for skiing and snowboarding. Drive into the mountains to the east to find La Clusaz and Le Grand Bornand, two of the largest ski resorts in the area. Go alpine and cross-country skiing and try such winter sports as pony sledging and ski biking. Many of the runs are for advanced skiers, so if you are relatively inexperienced, try Saint Jean de Sixt. The village has gentle slopes for beginners of all ages as well as a toboggan ride that is ideal for children.
Saint Jean also has a number of fascinating old churches. Visit the 16th-century Villaret Chapel, which was destroyed during the French Revolution and rebuilt in 1823.
Fly into Geneva’s international airport, then make the 25-mile (40-kilometer) drive across the border into France to reach Annecy-le-Vieux. With nature, history and sporting activities, this lakeside mountain town has lots going on no matter what time of year you take your vacation.