Annecy, The Venice of the Alps
Perched on the northern tip of Lake Annecy, and surrounded by snow-capped mountains, it is easy to see why Annecy is frequently described as the "Prettiest City in France", the "Venice of the Alps" or the "Pearl of the French Alps". Canals wind their way through the medieval old town and the streets are host to fantastic restaurants, quaint cafes and sun-drenched terraces, perfect for enjoying an afternoon drink after a days exploring.
So what is it about Annecy that draws so many expats looking for a mountain lifestyle? It is the ultimate winter AND summer destination, with a cosmopolitan buzz for those looking for a more urban setting inthe mountains. With the closest ski resort just 20 minutes drive away and the lake a huge draw for watersports enthusiasts in the summer months, Annecy has something to offer residents and second home owners year-round.
Winter in Annecy
Dozens of France’s most famous ski resorts lie within 60 minutes drive of the town. The closest, Semnoz, is just 20 short minutes away. Little more than a restaurant and two chairlifts, it is unexpectedly exciting with perfect corduroy pistes and some fun tree runs.
For those looking for more of a challenge, the bigger resorts of the Aravis mountains are 45 minutes away by car. La Clusaz has a reputation as one of the best family friendly resorts in the French Alps, yet also caters to experts with its challenging off-piste terrain. It is also the home resort of Annecy-born freestyle skier and filmaker, Candide Thovex. Le Grand Bornand is the neighbouring village to La Clusaz, in a pretty, farming village known for fantastic French cheese. Slightly smaller, the ski area has plenty of variety for all levels and types of skiers. A bit further away are the ski resorts of the Mont Blanc Evasion ski area which includes Megeve, St Gervais Les Bains, Combloux and Les Contamines, as well as the alpine capital of Chamonix.
Summer in Annecy
When the sun comes out and the snow has gone, Annecy is all about the lake! In or out of the water, there are plenty of activities to choose from and you are sure to find something for all the family. Swimming beaches are scattered all around the lake shores of the lake - the closest by foot from the old town are Plage Marquisats (free entry) and Plage de l’Imperial (paid entry).
The beaches of Sevrier, St Joriaz and Talloires require a drive, but are worth it for the different views and lesser crowds.
Sailing, kayaking and wakeboarding are hugely popular during the summer months, and if you want to explore the lake on a motorboat, there are a number of tours readily available.
If cycling is your sport of choice, biking around the lake (about 50km) is one of the most beautiful ways to explore the area, and for hiking Semnoz is a great place to head to. Annecy has been host to the Tour de France before and this year (2018) it will be the start town for Stage 10 on 17th July 2018.
If all of this sounds too chilled out for you, Annecy has become one of the go-to destinations for parapenters from all around France, and there are many companies doing tandem flights if you dare!
Why Buy A Property in Annecy?
With its charming old town, proximity to the world's best ski resorts, fantastic summer atmosphere and cosmopolitan city vibe, it is hard not to love Annecy. But why buy a property there rather than in a ski resort? It will suit those looking for a lifestyle change, but are hesitant to leave the bright lights of the city behind. Annecy offers a fantastic alternative to a complete mountain move, bringing owners closer to the mountains but with all the perks that both a city and a ski resort have to offer. Proximity to Geneva is a plus too; the airport is approx. 40 minutes away by motorway making weekend trips or a weekday commute very doable.
Lakeside property, as with most waterfront property worldwide, attracts a premium, like this spacious 6 bedroom house with extensive grounds for sale on the shores of Lake Annecy. For those wanting to be at the heart of city life, this 4 bedroom duplex apartment for sale in the residence of a former architecture, offers a good alternative. Head away from Annecy itself and properties are more affordable - and often a choice for those looking for a primary home - such as this new-build development of apartments for sale in the pretty village of Chaparon.
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