Social media does weird things to your brain. After being here for two months, we started to envy our friends back in the Pacific Northwest doing the things we used to relish every summer. They were at our favorite campgrounds, boating on our favorite lakes and walking on our best hikes. We decided we needed to find a way to enjoy some of the outdoorsy stuff that you miss when living in this huge urban city. After a couple of hours of research, we booked some fairly last minute reservations to Annecy and Chamonix.
You guys, this was the most amazing place ever. I had been eyeing a trip here for a few months. Often I would see a picture of a green/blue lake with mountains all around and every time it was Lake Annecy. So we packed two suitcases and boarded a four hour train to Annecy. We managed to get some sandwiches at the train station so we were good to go. The French freaking love their snacks on train rides. As soon as the train is underway they break out their food treats. We broke out ours and our wine treat 😉
When we arrived to Annecy we rented a car and drove to the town we were staying at. FYI when you a rent a car in the more remote parts of France you won’t have the option of getting an automatic transmission. Thank goodness both Jon and I know how to drive manuals!
I decided to book a hotel that wasn’t right in the town of Annecy so we could get a little peace and quiet. I truely outdid myself. Hotel Beau-site Talloires was amazing. It is a small inn set right on the shore of Lake Annecy. It has a small private beach with chairs and a dock. It also has an amazing restaurant with waterfront views. The night of our arrival we enjoyed the 5 course tasting menu. For 2 days we lounged at the beach, swam and enjoyed the scenery. And ate, of course.
Following our Lake Annecy stay, we headed to Chamonix. We took the “scenic” route through the mountains. The hotel I booked was recommended by Rick Steves and oh my, I out did myself even more. Hotel Hermitage. It was about a 5-10 minute walk outside the heart of the town of Chamonix but felt 20 miles away. I splurged on a balcony room and so we had a picturesque view of Mont Blanc. This hotel truly made you feel at home – it had thought of every touch.
It had a relaxation garden that had 4 separate saunas, a “natural” pool and a hot tub. In the room they had bags with robes, slippers and mugs for tea. What is more relaxing and “Alps-like” to come back from a tough hike and dive into this garden.
We spent our time in Chamonix going up the lifts and did some hiking (Jon a little more than me). I loved that it was accessible for people wanting to be active and those with more restrictions. You could take a lift all the way to the top (ok not quite but almost) and still get so much enjoyment.
Did I mention we ate here too?
They have all these little “refuges” on the hikes as well – that are really just little restaurants and a place for hikers to stay overnight. I mean a restaurant on a hike? You got me. And this is of course where you get sensational fondue as well.
This 6 night trip has been the highlight of our stay in France so far. It was adventurous, relaxing and a bit splurgy. It was so great to combine our love of the outdoors with our love of France. We will be back!