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Spotlight: Annecy, France & a little about Lyon

June 21, 2013

annecy views web

Oh, France. You made for a lovely vacation.  The sights & the food: wine, cheese, chocolate, ice cream, fish, croissants & bread!  Oui, did I have myself some croissants! Some frustrations in visiting France pregnant, but eating for 3 can have its perks.

chocolate croissants annecy web

My husband & I went to France for a combo work-personal trip. He wanted to attend the international shoulder course in Annecy & visit with a well-known doctor in Lyon. Count. Me. In.  (reason: see picture below.)

annecy image web

Lets talk French. First, literally, my husband & I did make some attempts to learn French.  Hashtag fail…somehow, it got worse as the week progressed.  In fact, we subconsciously spit out Spanish translations instead of French, so unexplainable.   Secondly, the French people…they were nice! My previous trip to Paris stereotyped them differently than this trip; everyone was generally so friendly, in particular the doctor & his wife who hosted us at his home.

Annecy & Lyon were our 2 stops. We got a good taste of Annecy, and I cannot recommend it enough. We were really only supposed to spend 2 days in Lyon, but thanks to the air traffic control strike, we landed ourselves an extra evening there, 1 more dinner, if you will. There could be worse places to be stuck. Enough to talk about it a little (since Lyon is like the food capital of Europe), but not enough to feel like I got an adequate taste of the city.

annecy canal web

Ahh, Annecy, could the views be anymore lovely? Definitely a tourist town, it is reminiscent of old France, woven with a thread of Italian history & organized with the necessities of tourism (views & amenities).  It moves through time at an enjoyable, oblivious slower pace. The views invite you to take a couple deep breaths & you have no choice but to sit & have your coffee (no to-go cups here).

annecy view web

Located just an hour or so from Lyon, basically the French Alps, Annecy was a perfect vacation because of its size (note: our apartment was located in Old Annecy) in that you could walk almost anywhere & the views of the mountains were spectacular.  Active tourists have their fair share of options (biking, running, hiking) & those unable to enjoy those activities (e.g, me) can be perfectly content eating, shopping at the small shops, learning some history via guided tours & eating (in case that’s not yet clear).

annecy open market web

Lets talk about the food.  I just loved all the little shops, including the open market. Sweetest strawberries I ever tasted.  Fresh vegetables. And, lots of cheese: you just don’t see cheese like that in the US (or at least around the Midwest).

cheese france web

Every morning started with a croissant & usually a coffee. For me, always the pain au chocolat (obvious) & a mini black coffee.  Real sugar, if you prefer it sweet (I do!), no cream but maybe some steamed milk (oui, s’il vous plait).  This isn’t built up for the tourists – bread, pastries or croissants seems to be what’s for breakfast in Annecy & Lyon.  Sorry, no eggs here, bread.  It wasn’t too difficult to adapt to this for the short-term, but we did wonder how they weren’t starving by lunch.

bakery annecy web

Because for lunch, there’s more bread – a little piece of ham & cheese on buttered bread.  I exaggerate…as a tourist town, restaurants in Annecy were open for business so you could find more to choose from, similar to dinner. Between my lunches & dinners, I actually ate many salads (maybe partially because I couldn’t read the menu?) – most had a mustard vinagarette (somewhat spicy, always delicious) or olive oil & vinegar. I would love to recreate this dressing at home. We ate lots of pizza, which I probably shouldn’t admit…it was just so good. The Italian influence on the city (or probably just the tourist nature of the town) made it a frequent option. We enjoyed lots of fish, trout in particular, & did our best to visit as many Glacé stands as possible.  Not as easy to find protein…just a difference to note, as I had my fair share of cured ham.

terre adelice annecy web

As a wishful, non-drinker on this trip, I noticed a few things about this activity.  Wine is like water – a part of life.  No sport drinks, flavored waters or 500 soda options like in the US, and I am still wondering if anyone drinks milk over there. Happy hours don’t usually include all the snacking like they do in the US….just a beverage & some smokes. (And, it seemed like everyone is a smoker.)

While I loved Annecy all-in-all, my favorite meal was in Lyon.  I don’t even know what I was eating. Called a quenelle or something, it apparently was a chicken-egg-cheese soufflé thing basking in a cream sauce. Yum. Not even possible for me to recreate if I tried. Another reason to return to Lyon.  That and the magical glace stand, Terre Adelice.  Seriously, magical.

lyon food web

As foodies know, Lyon is known for its food. It’s not all normal food, as we can attest to having some sort of bbq pig blood for lunch 1 day.  I always thought that I was a more adventurous eater, but even pregnancy restrictions ignored, it was this trip that disproved any thought of such, unfortunately. I admit to being frustrated with myself over this fact but I finally came to terms with it.

macarons annecy web

There was so much we didn’t get to in Lyon in both site-seeing & food. We are planning to return in a year or so for an extended period of time, a discussion for another time. If not then, I know we will return to Annecy in the future (paragliding is on my bucket list).  I’m sure you’re convinced now that you should, too!

annecy views web

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Judy permalink
    June 21, 2013 10:31 pm

    Laura,

    This blog is fantastic! And what an entry this is! I can’t wait to see the rest of the pics.

    Judy

  2. steph permalink
    August 12, 2013 2:54 pm

    Holy macaroons! Sorry, I couldn’t resist. Love this post. Love all of the previous and subsequent ones, too. I cannot wait to hear more. Yay for settling in the south. Let’s chat soon! xoxo

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