As Annecy is only 130 kilometers (80 miles) away from Bourg-en-Bresse (the city where I lived in France) it took us less than 2 hours to cover that distance. We had an early summer that particular year in 2003. As a matter of fact, that year turned out to be the hottest summer in France in over 50 years with temperatures reaching 40+ degrees Centigrade, or 105 degrees Fahrenheit!

The town is situated on the shores of Lake Annecy, reputed to be one of the cleanest lakes in the world. Not surprisingly, the town and its surrounding areas draw tourists from all over the country and overseas, not only in summer but in winter too, with hundreds of mountain slopes (the French Alps) to please the avid skier.

We concentrated our visit in and around the town center, and the park adjoining the lake. Walking through the stone-paved streets was certainly a delight. Although we didn't, one can also take a pleasure cruise on the Thiou Canal which crosses the town. Right in the center of the canal is the Palais de' I'lsle or Palace on the Island which is the most distinctive building of the city. This triangular shaped building was built in the 12th century, and classified as a Historical site in 1900. Today, it houses a local history museum.

For lunch we had a typical Plat du jour or dish of the day at a downtown restaurant. Although it was still not the traditional vacances (vacation time) yet, the place was crowded, perhaps because of the nice summer-like weather. It was the same at the park alongside Lake Annecy where we went after lunch. We had trouble finding parking space there, and had to wait for some ten minutes before we could find a place.

Known as the "Blue Lake" because of its clear blue water, Lake Annecy is the third largest lake in France. It offers a wide range of sport and leisure activities, such as cycling, windsurfing and diving, and of course for people like me who came to admire the beautiful landscape. I was told that the inhabitants of Annecy take pride in their lake being one of the cleanest and purest in the world.

Sharing its eastern borders with Italy and Switzerland, the Rhone-Alpes region of France is where Annecy is located, right at the heart of Europe. Consequently, it has some of the prettiest scenery on earth. I was fortunate enough to have lived there for many years and experience the wonders of the "Old World."

For your information, every year in August, the city of Annecy holds Europe's biggest fireworks display called Fete du Lac d'Annecy or the Lake Annecy Festival. I believe thousands of spectators gather around the lake to witness a two hour long fireworks extravaganza, accompanied by music, lights and special effects. As I write this, August is only a couple of months away, so you have lots of time to plan and make it over there to enjoy this lake festival, along with the other wonders of Annecy!