Annecy is not a well-known city. 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.
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 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. 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.
There is no formal expat community, although there are expats across the region. France is a popular country with British expats and there are expats from across Europe in Annecy. Nearby Geneva, has an active expat community with plenty of ways to get in touch.
Annecy has reliable internet and electricity. The town center is mostly pedestrianized and you get about on foot. If you need to travel further afield you will need a car. There are bus routes to connect with nearby towns.
The region has some of the best air quality you can find. 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.
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 is strong. 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. 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.
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