Experience the Lake Annecy area as a family
Lake Annecy and the surrounding area teem with ideas and opportunities to enjoy the ideal family vacation. So hop on board, there’s no time like the present to embark on an adventure.
Time to unwind… a few great ideas
The ski areas around the lake – Talloires-Montmin, Mt. Semnoz, and Glières Plateau – offer moderate slopes and affordable lift ticket rates for you to enjoy skiing as a family.
Great for beginners, the small, homey Talloires-Montmin ski area has two drag lifts, one rope tow, five runs, and a boardercross. On Friday nights during school holiday periods, don’t miss the torchlight descent and night skiing until 21:00. Free hot drinks help you brave the cold temperatures
© Monica Dalmasso
Just a twenty-minute drive from Annecy, enjoy alpine skiing, a terrain park, cross-country skiing, or snowshoeing at the Mt. Semnoz ski area. When skiing with kids and for beginners, one of the great features of this ski area is being able to purchase lift tickets by the hour (with an initial 2-hour minimum). The special beginner lift ticket limits access to three lifts and makes learning to ski
© Monica Dalmasso
On Glières Plateau, a genuine cross-country skiing paradise, immerse yourself into the wild by gliding along the 29km of groomed trails across a snow-covered landscape. Through March 24, enjoy skiing under the stars from 18:00 to 20:30 on Thursday nights. Experience the adventure by headlamp and as a family!
If you prefer an adventure on foot, walk along the 17km of pedestrian trails – with stopovers possible near the sledding area – that wind across Glières Plateau. And to take advantage of the fresh snow on snowshoes, contact one of the many local hiking guides, they would love to take you off the beaten path – your kids will love it!
© Monica Dalmasso
Whether your prefer ice skating, swimming, or both, the Jean Régis ice rink in Annecy and the amazing Vitam Parc aquatic center (with so many ways to have fun in the water) in Saint-Julien-en-Genevois offer the perfect alternatives for having fun when the weather takes a turn for the worse. During the winter school holiday period, enjoy themed evenings at the ice rink and Carnival-focused activities and entertainment at Vitam Parc. Find out more.
The Jean Régis swimming pool in Annecy and the Ile Bleue swimming pool in Seynod also offer the chance to use water’s rejuvenating powers for a well-earned break. The play pool with bubble benches and a baby-swim option at one location, and a waterslide, jacuzzi, and wellness center at the other, both offer you the chance to leave winter behind for an hour or two or three.
Create extraordinary memories
The eco-friendly Alpes Bivouac camp is located in the middle of the forest high on the flanks of Mt. Semnoz and only accessible on snowshoes.
In a warm and friendly atmosphere, and in tune with the surrounding natural environment, you have the choice of spending the night in an alti-dome tent with a moon roof to gaze at the stars or in an igloo made with real snow. In addition, embark on a nighttime torchlight stroll, savor a hearty Savoyard meal made with local seasonal products, and spend time by the campfire eating toasted marshmallows for a truly enchanting evening.
The experience will undoubtedly put a sparkle in your children’s eyes as well as awaken the playful spirit inside all of us. This down-to-earth yet extraordinarily unique getaway offers the entire family the chance to learn about what it means to be environmentally friendly while still having a great time.
© Albert Driancourt
Instead of simply daydreaming, why not reach for the stars? The Kaus-Australis association offers the opportunity to star gaze on Glières Plateau. High in the mountains, while looking up at the night sky filled with stars, take an astronomy lesson. From nebulas, to galaxies, planets, and star clusters, you will learn much about the heavenly bodies during this truly unforgettable experience.
© Monica Dalmasso
Time to play… go big or go home
For anyone who loves games, Lake Annecy and the surrounding area offer many fun places to take shelter and to spend a great time with your family. Escape Games are a perfect example, fully immersing you in a quest through a variety of fantastical worlds.
In the same spirit, E-Réel in Epagny, the area’s video and immersive adventure game epicenter, offers the chance to share a fun virtual-reality experience with others. Whether simulating combat as if you were there, solving puzzles and cases like a true private investigator, or simply playing arcade and race car driving games, everyone will have a fun time geeking out.
Another action experience, Lasermaxx 74 offers your group of friends or family the chance to play hard as a team or against each other during a round or two of laser tag that both kids and adults will enjoy.
For the list and details about each place to go, check out the article What to do around Lake Annecy when it rains.
© Yannick Perrin
Put your brain to the test… while having fun
If you would like to learn more about local heritage and history, sightseeing around Lake Annecy will open the door to many of the area’s fascinating secrets.
At the Castle-Museum, the Alpine Lake Regional Observatory, and Palais de l’Ile learn about local history, the lake’s fascinating ecosystem, the area’s architecture, and even the arts. Make sure that you plan ahead to take advantage of the workshops and activities organized throughout the year.
To learn more, check out the article The Top 8 Must-See Heritage Site.
© Dominique Lafon
When traveling to Annecy as a family, the Animated Film Museum is a required stop. The museum displays the entire history of animated films, from the very modest beginnings to the amazing technical advances we marvel at today. Dive deep in to the creative process and explore the unique minds of well-known authors and directors in the world of animation, one of the area’s iconic industries.
© Quentin Trillot – Ville d'Annecy
For another unique place to visit around Lake Annecy, drive or ride along the west shore to the Paccard Museum in Sevrier. Since 1796, in this very location, eight generations of artisans have toiled to build one of the most renowned bell foundries in the world. In addition to visiting the workshop, make a reservation to visit the museum on Thursday to see firsthand the pouring of molten metal into the bell molds; a truly spectacular sight to see! Continue your visit by taking a quick break at the “Au Paccard Gourmand” coffee shop.
© Musée Paccard
For budding scientists and curious kids, Turbine Sciences is the place to visit to quench your thirst for knowledge. This multidisciplinary center knows how to use fun and interactive content to introduce toddlers and teens to the scientific method and a variety of amazing scientific phenomena.
Founded on experimentation, the exhibits at Turbine Sciences are set up to be hands on, played with, and even taken apart to understand their intricacies of how they function! Participate in workshops and conferences in addition to the visit. For true enthusiasts, the Cyberspace area organizes internet, computer, and digital workshops, and kids can even sign up for short weeklong courses during school holiday periods.
© David Bouchet – 3 photographe
On the way to the ski resorts in the Aravais Mountains, make sure that you visit the Wood and Forest Eco-museum in Montremont Valley near Thônes. In this old hydraulic sawmill from the 19th century, you will learn all about woodworking and venture off to learn the secrets of the forest.
Demonstrations on sawing and transporting logs by cable, woodworking workshops, and nature walks are organized on a regular basis during school holiday periods.
© Elise Barone
Recharge your batteries… after all that, we’ve built up quite the appetite!
A family vacation also means simply spending time together. Enjoying breakfasts, lunches, and delicious late-afternoon snacks is one of the few steadfast rules that you have to follow when visiting Annecy. Here is a selection of places that will regale every family’s taste buds.
Since waffles and ice cream are obvious favorites for kids, head to Chez Gaston for traditional Belgian waffles covered in sugar and whatever other toppings your sweet tooth desires. They also make savory waffles that are incredibly delicious. Topped with, for example, salmon or reblochon cheese, a savory waffle is the perfect meal for a quick affordable bite to eat.
When it comes to ice cream, there are almost too many flavors to choose from. To keep the wait-time short when with your kids, reserve your waffles online ahead of time.
For a locally-inspired brunch or lunch, Le Ramoneur Savoyard offers just what you need. Whether a sweet or savory breakfast or lunch, start your day with a Savoyard delight or choose a more traditional way to kick off the morning. Your belly will be full, guaranteed.
Finally, if you decide to visit Alby, make sure that you stop at Aux Petits Galets, a small grocery store in the village center that is also a restaurant and a tea room. Everyone takes a break here when visiting the historic center of Alby-sur-Chéran. Enjoy crepes, traditional English biscuits, or scones along with your tea. When stepping into the grocery store, adults will enjoy the wide selection of teas, organic wines, and artisanal beer to choose from, while kids can fill their sacks with sweet or savory British treats.
Just sit back and relax…
In terms of events, the Cinémino Festival, ongoing through March 13 in several movie theaters in the area (Annecy, Cran-Gévrier, Seynod, Meythet, Filière, and others thanks to Ecran Mobile), offers a wide selection of movies and animated films for kids. Readings, storytelling, snacks, creative workshops, exhibits, and games add to an already full program that will enthrall movie-going kids.
- © Albert Driancourt
Journalist: Gaëlle Tagliabue
Translation: Darin Reisman