Clinging to the northern shoreline of Lake Annecy, surrounded by snow-capped peaks, is Haute-Savoie’s largest city – though it’s a town by my standards. A warren of cobbled streets, edged by pastel-hued buildings and intersected by canals, makes up the Old Town; it’s not hard to see how the town has come to be known as the “Venice of the Alps”. (Our little jaunt to Martigues back in October had left me feeling more than a little sceptical of such nicknames, but I’m pleased to report that Annecy lives up to expectations.) Annecy lies a hundred miles or so to the east of Lyon and, given the compact nature of the town, is a perfectly viable (and highly recommendable) day trip.
Easter weekend heralded not only the end of teaching, but also the arrival of ma chère famille, who flew out to Lyon to spend a few days exploring the gastronomic capital of France and its environs. Needless to say, it was absolutely lovely to see them all and show them round the city that I’ve called home for the past eight months. After some rescheduling on Flybe’s part, their flight landed late at night, so after meeting them at the tram stop we walked over to their hotel. (Over the course of their visit we became all too familiar with the wee-drenched odour of La Part Dieu’s underpass.) Upon arrival, we whiled away an hour or so in the hotel bar, catching up and giggling over the English translations of pour les petits creux (“munchies temptations”) and pour les grandes faims (“starving solutions”) on the ibis menu. As midnight approached, Vicki and I headed over to my flat, having arranged to meet Mum and Dad early the following morning to go on a croissant hunt.