One of the most frequent questions I get asked is, “What’s your favorite place in the world?”
My answer has almost always been Annecy, France. And still to this day, after five years of traveling, Annecy remains one of my fondest memories.
The first time I went to Annecy I was with my husband and we spent a few weeks traveling through Europe. We had a few nights booked in Annecy, where I had previously seen the photos of the charming canals and the stunning lake. After the time there, we both walked away thinking that no place could ever get better than that. Hot summer days spent sunbathing along the crystal waters of Lake Geneva, mornings strolling the canals and stopping to pick up fresh produce at the farmer’s market, and evenings spent enjoying the iconic raclette cheese — could it get any better? It would be four days of memories that for us, would deem Annecy our favorite place spent together.
Fast forward five years later, I had an opportunity to return when I spent a week in Lyon which is only an hour away from Annecy. I was nervous — part of me wanted to keep Annecy and the memories as they were, a romantic summer getaway with my husband. But I couldn’t help but return for another look at the canals, the lake, and enjoy raclette one more time at Le Freti.
It was as charming as I remembered. I lucked out as it was farmer’s market day, and I headed straight for my favorite booth, the nougat guy. It was the same vendor as five years ago, and I grabbed a slice of the honey and almond. Picking up a few more things, I made my way for the lake.
There’s this glow over Lake Annecy — it seems to shine yet at the same time has crystal clear colors. Choosing a bench, I sat for a few hours enjoying the goodies from the market and read my current book, The Paris Wife. It was as peaceful as I remembered. Time felt slow, in a good way.
I headed back into town for lunch, and went for the local dish, tartiflette. I didn’t want to spoil dinner, so I dared not to finish the meal, but it was a homey, comfort meal. Afterwards, a stroll through town brought me to the top of the hill for a look over the lake. I love getting lost in those perfect, cobblestone streets.
I was waiting for dinner at 7, and still had a few hours to go. I had remembered you can grab a boat ride around for lake, so I opted for an hour ride. Sitting on the rooftop, I remembered taking the same ride with my husband. We were much younger, our style different, and I was a much more carefree spirit than the person I was sitting there in that moment. The boat passed by the spot we had sunbathed, and I couldn’t help but smile reflecting on those moments.
With the end of the boat ride, it was getting close to dine at Le Freti. To pass the remaining time, I grabbed a refreshing aperol spritz next door, and people watched. Watching the clock intently, it was finally 7 pm, and it was time. Raclette is a speciality cheese from the Haute-Savoie region of France that is melted under a grill and served over charcuterie and potatoes. It’s delightful, and nearly impossible to find anywhere else in the world as good as Le Freti in Annecy.
Maybe I did go all the way to Annecy to eat raclette. The melting cheese, sizzling under the iron was everything I remembered. Sitting as a table for one, the waiter looked on with a confused look. He stopped by to ask how it was, and I said,
“It’s exactly how I remembered it five years ago.”
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