I arrived in Annecy, France on a sunny Friday morning in late July. The views from the train windows on the way there– speeding by turquoise colored lakes and open fields swaying with golden grass– had already left me in awe, but arriving in this town itself made me fall in love.
During my time there, I stayed in an Airbnb that was filled with books and records and was home to a sweet cat. It was a shared space with other guests, but this allowed me to meet an Australian family and, after they left, a Japanese couple who were both extremely nice. On my first night, I took a walk with the family. We strolled leisurely through the streets with gelato in hand and ducked under awnings when it began to rain. The rain would be a preview of the weather for the following days, but I never minded. I’ve always loved rain. It felt like a movie scene when everyone around me began popping open colorful umbrellas and the puddles on the cobblestone streets reflected the lantern lights hanging from the old buildings.
Every morning, I would wake up and walk towards the town for an espresso. Sometimes I simply wandered through the parks and over bridges, taking in the beauty around every corner. I couldn’t help but stop and stare at the canals and mountains and flowers and pastel colored buildings. Sometimes I simply sat at a cafe overlooking the water to write or sketch. When I did this, I would find that strangers stopped to look at my drawing or ask to take my photo. Annecy felt like living in a painting; it felt like a place where artists and poets should go to get inspiration. Compared to the bustle and busyness of Paris, Annecy was a breath of fresh air. And I did feel inspired there.
One of my favorite spots was the Pont des Amours. It is a picturesque bridge, which, on one side, overlooks a canal of boats floating in water an indescribable color of blue and, on the other, the whole of Lake Annecy with the mountains resting in the background. It is a lovers’ rendezvous. They say whoever you kiss in the middle of the bridge will be your forever love. On one of the mornings I went there, I got to see a couple getting their wedding pictures taken. I love seeing people in love; I love getting to witness real life moments like this. Sitting on a bench beside the bridge I sat and wrote:
Swans are gliding through the crystal clear water in front of me… As I walk aimlessly and contentedly through the streets I wonder what it would be like to be in love here. I’m sitting next to an old couple chattering and giggling in French with arms around one another. Perhaps I’m a romantic, just a hopeless romantic that sees beautiful places and thinks of looking at them with my head resting on someone’s shoulder.
When I cross the Pont des Amours again I will place my hands around the railings engraved in lovers’ names and I will make my own promises. I will imagine these thoughts tumbling from my mind and into the water. I will toss my wishes into the Lac d’Annecy like coins. I will leave this piece of me in Annecy and hopefully come back one day to collect it when it is nothing but a whimsical memory of a girl with overflowing love.
Another favorite moment of mine was visiting Le Château d’Annecy. It is a castle that was abandoned in the 18th century, but has been transformed into a museum. I roamed the castle halls looking at art and reading about the history of the town, but the view over the wall at the end of the courtyard was the most memorable part.
Because I was in Annecy over a weekend, I got to visit the Sunday morning market. Vendors and tables filled with vintage knick-knacks, paintings, and fresh baked goods lined the streets. It was wonderful, even in the rain. I would definitely recommend visiting on a Sunday, if possible.
Overall, Annecy was lovely. I wandered and wrote to my heart’s content. I imagined what it would be like to go home to one of the little apartments with terra cotta colored shutters and a balcony overlooking the canal. I imagined coming back when the rooftops are covered in snow. I imagined my fallback in life could be just moving to a tranquil little town, painting postcards, and living just to be genuinely at peace. But for now I still have exciting memories left to make and after Annecy I was off to Switzerland.