I’ve been a little blog absent. Sorry, dedicated followers (aka mom and dad)! Since the aforementioned (see here) post on The Frenchiest Thing To Ever Happen, more really frenchy things have happened. I will do a quick French things run down: I visited Marseille, I went to Paris for the weekend and was a tourist and loved it, went back to Marseille for a field trip, signed up for a 6k color run and it only was 2k but I still got the photos so who cares? And now, the subject of this post, in the category of frenchy things: ANNECY.
Holy cannoli guys. Annecy is the most beautiful place. Definitely my favorite place in France thus far. It’s like the France you see in the movies. Picture Beauty and the Beast. That is the view out of the window of the airbnb we are staying in.
Or, for those of you who have not chosen to culture yourself in what precious mountainous French towns look like, I will describe the scenery. A giant lake. The French Alps. Also fall colors. And the sun. It’s literally unreal. It’s like a French Lake Tahoe. The mountains are nuts. The lake is nuts. The natural beauty is literally absurd. God is killing it over here in France, guys. All that to say, Annecy is easy on the eyes.
My lovely housemates, Katie and Hannah, and I took the 7:25am bus to the Aix TGV station yesterday morning to start our adventure. TGV stands for train grande vitesse. Aka super fast train. We took a 8:28a TGV to Lyon. We got to see the French country side blow past us at 300 km/h. Which was pretty cool. At Lyon we got off and transferred onto a 2 hour bus to Annecy. Katie and I were sitting near each other on the bus and kept looking at each other so excited as the bus started driving through the mountains. It was unreal. These are not baby mountains. These are monsters. And they are beautiful. We ended up in Annecy at noon. Our lovely airbnb host allowed us to come to our airbnb 5 hours before check in which rocked. We have this precious little room in the top of an a-frame apartment building. And our host is also awesome. We dropped off our bags and decided to get lunch. We went to a little pasta place and then we started walking around the old village. Then we ended up outside the old village and BAM there is the Lake. It was crazy. The fall colors are already changing here because we are further north than Aix, and it’s beautiful. We just walked around a park on the lake for a while. And then sat on a bench and just took in the beauty and majesty of the mountains. In the park, there were probably 300 little kids doing laps in some sort of run/walk a thon. It was so cute!
After walking around, we headed back to our airbnb. We crashed for a little while, Katie and I trying to make a game plan and Hannah taking a nap. After trying to figure something up, we just decided to go get some food and a coffee to warm up. We went to a cute little cafe called Boston Cafe (Hannah was pumped). The lady was super sweet and I got a hot chai latte and it was fantastic. Then we wandered around and saw some gorgeous old buildings and little alley ways and a castle (chateau👌🏻). We saw a gorgeous basilica and started walking to it and ended up taking a little hike around the outside which was awesome. Very fall-y. Then we got to the basilica and sat on a stone wall and just stared at it and the mountains in the background. I turned on the song Nothing to Say by Andrew Peterson because it was so appropriate. Literally perfect. And I just sat there thanking God for gorgeous mountains and His creation and this life. He doesn’t promise painless, but He does promise full life. And I’m getting a little taste of that!!! So cool. Then we went back to the apartment to figure out dinner. We ended up eating at this cute restaurant and were très francais and got a pot of fondue with bread for dinner. SO YUMZ. We went back to the airbnb and watched one of my favorite movies ever: Stick It! And then were asleep by 12:30 after a lonnnng day.
We woke up and walked downstairs to breakfast from our host! I got the call that my afternoon adventure was still on (I’ll get there). After a late start we went to the gare routière (bus station) to figure out how the buses worked. Then we grabbed some food from a bakery and walked over to the lake and sat on a bench and just took it in again. After lots of pictures, we walked around the lake a bit and then returned to the airbnb. I changed and then walked to grab the bus to go: PARAGLIDING! In France it’s called “parapente.” And Parapente is BOMB. So I took the 2:15 bus and got to the place at 2:45. But I wasn’t supposed to be there until 3:45. But there were no other buses. So I just sat there and stared at this gorgeous mountain with all these people paragliding and thanked God for this day and this place and this life. At 3:45 I got into a van with two other people and three instructors to drive to the top of the aforementioned beautiful mountain. We got up there, chose an instructor and then got hooked up! Alain my instructor didn’t speak good English so we spoke in French. He hooked me I tot the harness/seat and hooked himself up and hooked us both to the parachute and then was like walk in front of me. So I did. And then suddenly the parachute was in the air and it tugged me backwards a bit and then we were in the air too. It was CRAZY. I essentially simply ran down a hill, off a mountain. I got to see the lake and the mountains and the beautiful fall colors and the two chateaux from above. And it was amazing. Alain let me steer a bit, then he did some tricks (turn a bit one direction and then turn hard the other direction). We landed and it was just as if I had jumped a foot in the air. Thirty minutes later and I had just paraglided!
After getting unhooked and getting my pictures and all that, I waited until 5:40 and walked over to the bus stop. And waited. And waited. And waited. And at 6 realized that the 5:45 bus doesn’t come on Saturdays. The other three people at the bus station were Asian but all spoke English. I told them the bus wasn’t coming until 6:45. Instead of waiting they decided to attempt to hitchhike. I can’t tell you if it works or not because one minute they had their thumbs out and then I looked back two minutes later and they were gone. So either they got picked up or they walked. Still unsure. In my time waiting I wrote the first part of this blog post. And I saw a bit of the sunset. And appreciated nature and listened to Andrew Peterson and my hands froze a bit.
I finally caught the bus home and then went back to the apartment to be reunited with Katie and Hannah. We exchanged stories and then made a game plan to go out for dinner. After moseying around a bit, we found a pub that had Flamenkeuche, one of our new favorite delicacies. Its an Alsacian (northern France with German influences) pizza of sorts, that has crème, onions and bacon on it. It was awesome. Also the Rugby World Cup is going on in the UK right now and the France v. All Blacks (New Zealand’s team aka the world champs) were playing. It was cool to be at a pub next to a couple of bars where everyone was singing Le Marseillaise at the beginning (French national anthem) and cheering or booing depended on what was happening. The French and their sports…
We slept in until 9 am the next morning and then went down stairs to have breakfast with our host again. She was as sweet as ever, and left us a host of bread and croissants and drinks and fruit. She even told us where we could rent what we would need for the day’s activities…. Which was rollerblading! SO FUN. We rented roller blades for two hours and made it a fourth of the way around the lake. It was a gorgeous view and I got to see so much of the surrounding area. It made me feel like I was actually participating in the fall season 🙂 Also, about to call Katie out here (sry), because she totally wiped out going down a hill but we met this super nice older French man who was also roller blading named Raphael! He told us all about the cool sports he does (rollerblading, running, off trail skiing, etc) and skated with us back to the bush we hid our shoes in. He also showed us how to knock some real Annecy apples off a tree. He was super nice, and he studied for a year at BGSU so we had an Ohio connection! After that, we grabbed lunch, and went back to the apartment to pack up.
It took me a little while to convince Katie and Hannah, but I got them to go hiking and we got to see all of Annecy, and then we ran into a cute little boutique, aptly named Eclectic where Katie and I each bought a cool pair of boots. We grabbed dinner, went back to the apartment and grabbed our bags and made our way to the train station. On the five minute walk, it started to downpour. We knew it was Annecy’s way of sending us off, so we wouldn’t be sad that we weren’t staying :).
If you’ve stuck with me this far, THANKS! This post is also super late (like 3 and a half weeks)… But this is mostly to show off the fall beauty of Annecy, and for my mom to read… and for me to one day look back on this post and be like oh yeah tbt to that time I went to Annecy that was cool.