Family Favorites in Lake Annecy, France

Screen Shot 2014-08-19 at 11.29.44 AM

.

We’re back from France! This year we spent six weeks in a small village on the east side of Lake Annecy. And even though it rained way too much, we still managed to catch some sun and enjoy life on the water. There is so much to do in the area – we think of this region as summer camp for the whole family!  Here are some of our favorite activities and places.

.

General overview:

The city of Annecy is in the Haute-Savoie region of France. Fly into Geneva and drive 35 minutes south. Other beautiful places in the region: Lyon (1 hour 45 mins), Chamonix and the Mount Blanc Tunnel (1 hour 10 mins) and Cervinia, Italy (3 hours).

.

Water activities:
  • Favorite paid beach: Moon Plage. (Soft sand, beds with umbrellas and table service. Kids will love the “epic” water slide.
  • Favorite free beach: La Brune in Veyrier-du-lac
  • Water skiing and wave boarding: Jean-Louis Fountaine in Talloires
  • Boat rentals are everywhere and easy to find (paddle boats, SUPs, kayaks, row boats, sail boats)

.

waterskiing, Lake Annecy

.

Land activities:

.

Biking, Lake Annecy

.

In the air:

.

Paragliding over Lake Annecy

.

Summer camps the kids loved:

.

tennis camp, annecy, france

.

Restaurants:
  • Sapaudia- Annecy (la vieille ville)- Order the La Salade Méditerranéenne and the Café Gourmand.
  • Le Pichet - Annecy (la vieille ville) - Order the Tartiflette and Salad Verte.
  • Café des Ducs – Annecy (la vieille ville) – For breakfast: Croissant, espresso, fresh orange juice. Perfect.
  • Pauvert Traiteur – Annecy (la vieille ville) – Absolutely everything you need for the perfect picnic.
  • Moko Plage – Annecy-le-Vieux – Perfect scallops and a good kids menu (fish with tagliatelle).
  • La Trinquette – Annecy-le-Vieux – Good pizza and reasonably priced daily specials. Fun scene; busy with locals during lunch and on weekends.
  • Cafe de la Place – Menthon St. Bernard – Tremendous value and lively local scene, especially at lunch.

.

le pichet annecy france

.

Shopping:
  • Centre Commercial Courier – Indoor mall with FNAC, Zara, H&M, etc.
  • Espace Foot – Soccer store
  • Eclectik – She has a terrible facebook page and no website – but trust me, this is a great little store. My absolute favorite vintage shop in Annecy. I always find something here!

.

eclektik shop, annecy, France

.

Lodging:
  • Last year we stayed in this small apartment in the Old Town. It’s right smack dab in the middle of all the action – you can walk to restaurants, shops, markets, and the lake.  We loved the location and the apartment was clean and well-maintained. But we could’ve used an extra room and some more natural light.
  • This year we rented a family home in the village of Veyrier-du-Lac. The view from the terrace is absolutely stunning and the village is nice and not as touristy as others in the area. If there is a downside to this location (and I’m reaching here), it’s that we needed to use our car a bit more.  But overall, I loved this location and would stay there again in a heartbeat.

.

home in veyreir-du-lac, france

 .

Want to know more about Annecy? Contact me!

Read More

10 French-speaking summer camps in France

Dreaming of la belle vie? Spend next summer in France! Enroll the kids in a summer camp and spend your days sunbathing and wine tasting. Not a bad idea, right?

There are so many incredible summer camp options in France. I’ve listed a few of them below, just to give you an idea of what’s out there. If you’re looking for something specific, here’s how to research summer camps in France.

.
Paris
Biarritz and Cote Basque
Provence
Haute Savoie

 

 

Read More

Lake Annecy's Best Beaches

Lake Annecy’s Best Beaches

Being a travel blogger is hard work. This week I spent many hours visiting and “researching” all the beaches around Annecy, just so that I could provide you with this information. Many difficult decisions were made and documented. Which sand is softer? Which wine list more extensive? Which toilets less disgusting?

Without further ado…

The Best Beach in Annecy:

Moon Plage Privée at L’Impérial: Yes, it’s the most expensive at 15€ per adult, but wow! This is what affordable luxury is all about: cushioned deck chairs, umbrellas, soft sand and tanned waiters bringing you chilled wine. Meanwhile, the kids are swimming in the lake or squealing their way down the “epic” slide.

moon plage privee

 

Runner up:

Plage de L’impérial: If you don’t want to shell out the Moon Plage premium, go here. It’s essentially the same beach, minus all the luxuries. Instead of cushioned deck chairs, you spread out on the grass. Instead of chilled rose, you drink bottled water. You still pay to get in (4€ per adult, 2.50€ per child), but the toilets are western-style and clean. There’s a decent restaurant and again, the huge slide is “epic.”

The others:

Plage des Marquisats – Free beach – fairly small – sand and grass – snacks available for purchase – near bike path. Disgusting bathrooms; hold your nose or go swimming.

Plage D’Albigny in Annecy-le-Vieux. Free entry – sand and grass – more options for shade here than at Marquisats – restaurants nearby (across the street) – near bike path. They have those self-cleaning, stainless steel toilet chambers which completely freak me out.

The best on the east side of the lake:

Plage de la Brune: This is “our beach” but we aren’t biased! It’s not only free, but it’s clean and beautiful. There are two small bays of sand, lots of grass and a happening picnic scene on the weekend. There’s also a kiddie pool and a few restaurants in striking distance.

The others on the east side:

Talloires – Pay on entry (2.30€ per adult). Gorgeous bay with smooth, clean waters. Diving board and slide. A decent restaurant.

Menthon St. Bernard – Pay on entry (2.30€ per adult). The restaurant here is decent. The kiddie pool and the shallow end of the lake are clean and nice. But the deeper end of the lake near the diving board seemed to collect dead bugs (?). I know! weird, right? Not a good vibe.

 

Read More

Biking, Lake Annecy

Roule ma poule

We rented some bikes and toured around Annecy this afternoon. Huge success. HUGE. Meaning: we didn’t crash into anyone and the girls decided they want to move here. Highly recommend this bike company: Roul’ Ma Poule.

p.s. Apparently, Roule ma Poule does not actually mean “roll my chicken.” Although I stand by my original translation. In fact, it’s an expression – something similar to let’s go!  Like: On y va! or Allons-y!  French friends, correct me please!

Read More

first swim of the summer

getting to know the neighborhood

I LOVE our summer rental! I think the owners are new to VRBO so I want to give them HUGE props. The house is even better than advertised. And when we arrived, the kitchen was fully stocked with bread, cheese, fruit and… wait for it…. a chilled bottle of rosé! Are you kidding me?!

The village is super cute and has all the essentials. There is a grocery store called “8h a 8h” – except it’s only open until noon on Sundays, opens at late on Mondays and closes early on Wednesdays. And in August, vacation hours apply. Honestly people, rename your store.

Read More

8 French Resources in Seattle

 

le pichet

 

1. Best group classes for adults: Alliance Française

2. Favorite tutor for adults: Danick Jawer

3. Museum tours (in French) for children: Atelier D’Ichere

4. Our favorite French immersion school: FISW

5. Absolutely amazing experience: Canoe Island French Camp

6. French cooking classes: Paris Eastside

7. Drink your way through wine school: Le Caviste

8. French property rentals: French Homestyle

 

Read More

Apps for Organizing Travel

If you know me, you know that I love organize – almost as much as I love to travel! I have three favorite apps to share with you today. Each offer web and mobile access so that you can access the information from anywhere.

 

Tripit

Pros: After you set up an account, Tripit manages itself. When your email inbox receives a confirmation from an airline or hotel, Tripit recognizes this and automatically imports them to your Tripit Itineraries.

Cons: Tripit only recognizes reservations from places like airlines and hotels. When I travel, I also want to keep track of emails from VRBO, ski school instructors, summer camp operators, restaurant recommendations, etc.

Evernote

Pros: Evernote is like a journal filled with sticky notes –and because it’s online, you can organize everything in a way that makes sense for you. I usually create a new notebook for each trip, adding clips of anything and everything I’ve found online: articles, recommendations, emails, maps, etc.  Here’s an Evernote travel tutorial.

Cons: Data uploads and syncing availability is limited unless you upgrade to a Premium Account (appox $40 per year).

Dropbox

Pros: If Evernote is my personal journal, then Dropbox is my work filing cabinet. All my important papers are here. When my computer died last year, I didn’t panic, even for a minute. Everything was in dropbox, so I lost nothing. You can also share folders with co-works or family members.

Cons: If you use dropbox all the time, you will probably need to upgrade to a Pro Account (approx. $10 per month).

Read More

My Seattle Favorites

I cannot believe I’ve lived here for almost ten years! Time flies when you’re having babies. I put together this list for friends and family who come to visit. It’s certainly not a comprehensive travel guide to the city – just a list of our go-to places and activities.

 

Favorite weekends…
On the water…
Kid approved
Restaurants, downtown
Restaurants, other neighborhoods
For margaritas on a gorgeous day…
See what’s playing

Read More

My Aspen Favorites

Restaurants:
Family Fun:
Girl’s guide for the non-skier:
  • A day at the spa. Travel + Leisure named Reméde Spa one of the best spas in the world. Signature Facial is $175 and includes access to the oxygen lounge, steam caves, cold plunges, hot tubs, fitness center, and confluence waterfall (whatever that is).
  • Walk, browse, shop Downtown Aspen. Pick up some jeans here, a new bag there and check out the art galleries.
  • Definitely take a yoga class at O2 Aspen.
  • I could spend hours at Explore Booksellers.

Read More

bike

Paris Transportation – Links & Tips

Airport Transfers:
Metro/Bus:
  • Paris by Train is a helpful website. Learn how/where to buy a single ticket, a book of 10, a weekly pass or a monthly pass.
Train tickets for travel within France:
Taxis:
  • G7 has an English speaking website and telephone line.
So much fun! (but bring your own helmet)

Read More

To be a horse (in France)

Sophia

On the way to equestrian camp today, the girls were talking about how much fun it would be – to be a horse.

Sophia said: “I would love to be my horse, Speedy. I would play with my other horse friends all day. And my people friends could ride me and brush me and braid my hair.”

Sasha said: “If I was a horse I would never live on a farm because everyone would get on your back and make you do things you didn’t want to do, like walk in circles. I would run in the fields and climb mountains and kick things. I would be free!”

God I love them.

sasha stands on a horse

Read More

heading to camp

summer camp, week 2

heading to camp

I’m so freaking proud of Sasha. There were 100+ boys at her soccer camp, and she was the ONLY girl. Not only did she hold her own on the pitch, she ran circles around many of them. Way to go Sasha! You are brave and I am SO proud of you!

sasha ballon

Sophia went to Hip Hop Dance Camp and had the time of her life. Below is the photo taken after their performance.

hip hop soph

Read More

My Prague Favorites

My Prague Favorites

Don’t miss The Prague Castle!
  • Take the 22 Tram up the hill and get off at Pražky hrad. Check out St. Vitus Cathedral (and the Mucha stained glass inside!), the castle grounds and any exhibitions currently on. Meander your way down the hill; there are many nice streets with cafes, shopping and art galleries.
Some of my favorite walking tours:
  • Jewish Quarter
  • Old Town Square
  • Charles Bridge
  • Petrin Hill (especially with kids!)
Restaurants, pubs and cafés:
Drinks/jazz/live music:

Read More