One of the unmissable activities to do in Annecy in the summer is cycling around the lake, especially because this alpine town is bike-friendly. A complete tour around Lake Annecy takes about 3 hours, not including stops, and is 38 km (23.6 mi) long. It’s a great half-day or full-day ride depending on if you stop to visit any of the villages, châteaux, or beaches along the way.
Cycling around lake Annecy was the second thing on my bucket list of things to do on my summer solo trip . For some reason, I thought it would be a good idea to cycle after having hiked for 6 hours the day before. I wasn’t too worried though since I knew it wasn’t an extremely long ride and I could stop and take as many breaks as I needed since I was riding solo.
For some pre-ride fuel, I stopped at the Australian coffee shop, Haven again and got an oat milk cappuccino à emporter before the bike shop, Cyclable opened. I rented a vélo tout chemin (hybrid bike) which was a sporty Trek with a light frame. It ended up being 22 € for the whole day. There was no security deposit, but I did have to leave on of my IDs with them. They also have mountain bikes and city bikes you can rent for a couple hours up to a whole day. I just went with the classic style which they said was best for a trip around the lake. It was also recommended to go clockwise around the lake because the incline around Veyrier-du-Lac would have been 10% steeper if I went the other way. It was also nice to get the hill out of the way in the beginning.
For the ride, I brought my small day hike backpack, plenty of water, snacks and lunch, a towel, sunscreen, and a raincoat. I should have brought a more sweat and water resistant sunscreen with me though becuase I ended up getting a little sunburnt and a pretty serious watch tan-line!
Most of the way does have a separate bike path, but there are a few areas where you do need to cycle on the road, especially if you detour through small towns. The southern and western parts of the path are a part of the voie-verte, which a part of they were actually just finishing paving the day I cycled there. The greenway is also shared with pedestrians, rollerbladers, etc.
I mentioned earlier that cycling around lake Annecy was second on my list after going for a hike, but I think I actually had the most fun on this day! I even teared up because I felt so happy and free zipping downhill surrounded by such beautiful views, wind blowing through my hair. Remind me why I live in Paris and not here!
I wanted to visit one of the châteaux around the area so I stopped in Duignt for lunch and ate my PB brioche sandwich on a picnic bench by the water. The castle was not open, however – it seems that maybe it’s just open for special events or perhaps you have to book a visit in advance.
Once it was later in the afternoon the sun started shining a bit stronger and I was riding into the wind. Thankfully the gusts weren’t that strong, unlike the times I cycled to Gruissan or Le Barcarès, and it was pretty refreshing since it was getting hotter outside too. After cycling past a few small beaches, La Plage Les Choseaux – Clos Bertet caught my eye. The large row of bike racks was also a good sign. I took about an hour’s break to relax and cool off with a couple of dips in the lake.
I probably got back to Annecy around 4 PM, so I went to return my bike, then search for my daily vacation ice cream. I decided to branch out from the place I went to my first two days here because I would have been embarrassed if they recognized me. The new place I found also had good reviews though and was called Glacier des Alpes, which I thought was kind of a fun play on words since glacier in French means both glacier and ice-cream maker. I opted for another cone and chose blueberry sorbet and génépi ice cream. Génépi is actually a type of minty/herby liquor from the Alps made from plants in the region. They even gave me a free mini scoop en dégustation, so I chose chocolate sorbet. However, all the ice-cream and sorbet stacked on the little cone melted very quickly, so eating this treat was a bit of a mess.
In between my goûter and dinner I walked around town some more, still searching for the perfect souvenirs. I ended up finding a cool t-shirt from a store called Snowleader for my brother.
Even though it was summertime, I couldn’t leave the Savoie without having some fondue! The restaurant I ended up going to is probably the most touristy place in Annecy. In the old town, close to the Palais de l’Île, you can’t miss Ô Savoyard with its cow decked out in the regional flag. The place had good reviews though, so I thought “why not give it a try?” Since I arrived a couple of minutes before opening at 7 PM, there was plenty of space, so I sat on the terrace and had a view of the canal and the Église Saint-François de Sales. If you are going with a group of people, it’s probably a good idea to make a reservation though because the tables fill up quickly.
I planned on having a glass of white wine, but when one of the waitresses told me about the Chambéryzette Dolin, an aperitif made with local Vermouth Blanc and strawberries from the Alps, I had to try it. It was just as sweet and refreshing as it sounded.
I chose the least expensive of the fondues, which was a fondue savoyarde au vin de Savoie, the other being a Swiss fondue. After eating here, I would have to agree with the other reviews that the food is good, but can be a little expensive. My one-person fondue was about 22€ and it ONLY came with bread. If you want meat or potatoes, you have to order them separately. I also ended up getting a little side salad and a small bucket of potatoes for about 3€ each. It was so much food that I actually ended up taking some of the bread home to save for breakfast or another hike.
Since this would be my last night in Annecy, I had to stay out and watch the sunset one more time. I wanted to see it from a different perspective this time, so I sat somewhere along la Promenade Jaquet. It was so nice to watch the mountains turn from blue and grey to orange and pink again and to observe the swans and ducks glide by.
Stay tuned for my last installment of my Annecy Solo Trip series coming soon…
À la prochaine,