Annecy, France

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Annecy: Mountain Living In France

Reviewed by Lief Simon

Lief Simon is the managing editor of Global Property Advisor, Simon Letter, and Offshore Living Letter. He has purchased more than 45 properties, investing in 23 different countries around the world.

View of the old town of Annecy in France
Adobe Stock/Leonid Andronov

Annecy is not a well-known French city.

Lake Annecy is located right about two-thirds of the way down France’s eastern frontier, mere minutes from Geneva, Switzerland, and about an hour and a half from the Italian border.

Most North Americans have never heard of it, and even in Europe few people could find Annecy on a map. It’s as if the French and Swiss have conspired to keep the place they call the Pear of the French Alps a secret.

If that’s the case, it’s hard to blame them. The city has long been popular with European royalty, home to the Earls of Genova, then the House of Savoy. The old town is still vibrant, with well-maintained streets and buildings.

Life In Annecy, France

Annecy holds the titles of City of Art and History and also City in Bloom and can seem like an open-air museum.

Every July its streets are given over to Les Noctibules, an annual art festival, and, every August, the much-anticipated Fête du Lac features the biggest fireworks show in Europe.

There is no formal expat community in Annecy. However, there are expats across the region.

France is a popular country with British expats and you’ll find expats from across Europe in Annecy.

Also, nearby Geneva, there is an active expat community with plenty of ways to get in touch.

Annecy has reliable internet and electricity.

Most importantly, the town center is mostly pedestrianized and you get about on foot. If you need to travel further afield you will need a car. Must importantly, bus routes connect with nearby towns.

English is fairly widely spoken, but the French are proud of their language, and if you move here you will need to learn French.

It is worth knowing that the regional accent in Annecy, France, is strong. And, if you already speak French you may still struggle to understand the people at first.

A monthly budget will work out about US$2,345 per month. This would allow for a basic standard of living in Annecy, France.

Being a tourist town, prices are slightly more than in the surrounding areas, and considerably more than living in Occitanie.

Still, there is plenty of cheap, fresh local produce to consume, and the strong dollar continues to provide Americans with an extra discount.

Everyday Annecy

Cafés abound in the city, practically every business is an eatery of some kind. Every five restaurants or so a handicraft or local artisan goods store has set up shop. The food is all good and well-priced.

And the food here is fantastic. The department, Haute-Savoie, is famous for its hearty, cold-weather comfort food, but there’s plenty to be enjoyed in summer, too. (Despite the sweaty days, I saw plenty of folk enjoying a steaming fondue… though it wasn’t something that appealed to us for this season.)

Cheese plays a big part of every dish here, as does bacon or ham. Mussels are a local favorite, along with flammkuchen. If you’re not familiar, flammkuchen are German pizzas—no marinara, just a creamy, cheesy base, onion, and bacon.

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Weather In Annecy

During the winter, the town really comes alive. Snow falls on slopes and the mountain resorts start to draw skiers and snowboarders in huge numbers. But Annecy, France, is not your typical ski destination. It is a real city rather with a year-round community.

During the summer months, the lake becomes the main attraction. From fishing to sailing, diving and swimming, people spend the happy days on the water.

For example, other outdoor activities include paragliding and hand-gliding, golfing, mountain biking, and of course hiking.

The walking both round the lake and amongst the Alps is as a great way to stay fit and the view changes every day.

The region has some of the best air quality you can find. Also, the lakes and rivers are unpolluted, and farmers take care not to use fertilizers or weed killers that harm the environment.

Litter is not a problem, but during the height of the tourist season things can get a little untidy.

In short, during winter Annecy will get nice and snowy, but because of its balance between elevation and latitude, temperatures don’t get too far below freezing.

Averages in the height of winter are between 28°F and 40°F. During summer, Annecy warms up. But, again, not to the extreme, with mercury rarely breaking 80°F.

Annecy - FAQs

Is Annecy, France, A Tourist Town?

Fairy-tale Annecy is not a tourist town but a living community that is more cosmopolitan than a typical haunt of Euro-snow bunnies. Annecy holds the titles of City of Art and History and also City in Bloom.

What Is The Biggest Attraction In Annecy?

The big attraction of lakeside Annecy, the Pearl of the French Alps, are its ski slopes in winter. But, this is an appealing place to be year-round.

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