Thursday, June 26, 2014

Jour 3 Annecy: Les Églises & Château D'Annecy

After our picnic, we actually went back to our hotel for a quick nap. When we got up, we decided to explore a bit more of the town, check out some churches and the château.
Our hotel gave us a little paper map with a bunch of sights and monuments marked up so we used that to take ourselves on a self-guided tour of the town. Beyond the Palais de L'Isle and the Alps, I honestly didn't know much about Annecy. Plus, all of the travel blogs I read prior to my visit emphasized those two sights mostly and not much else anyway. No biggie though; the town was so small, we were able to see everything in a span of a few hours anyway.


On our way, we stumbled upon this soap store. It seems to be a pretty popular brand, Maison du Savon de Marseille (house of soap of Marseille). Oh my, the smells of some of these soaps was phenomenal. It was like the French version of LUSH. I probably sucked up half a bar of the coconut milk soap up my nose.

A bonus was that the shopkeeper was the cutest little grandad you ever saw, which semi-guilted us into making a purchase. I mean, it wasn't really guilt, we needed some souvenirs anyway. But, that is a great sales strategy. If you're in the retail business, hire adorable little grandads who only know French. I asked him in broken French, "Ce savon, c'est pour mes mains?" (This soap, it's for my hands?) to which he replied, "C'est pour tout! Le visage, le corps, les pieds!" (It's for everything! The face, the body, the feet!). Ugh, come on grand-pere! Stop being so friggin' cute, will ya?
We came out that shop smelling like a mixture of soap scents and went hunting for the churches marked on our little paper map. The first stop was Notre-Dame-de-Liesse. It's a lovely little church that was built in place of an existing 13th century sanctuary in 1846 (completed in 1851). The clock tower was preserved as a reminder of the old sanctuary.
Of course, all of that history was something I looked up after the fact (as in like, right now, while I'm writing this post). When we were actually there, we just did a lot of photo taking (of the turtles that are holding up the obelisk).
We also washed our hands in some lion spit. I know, I know! I've used that joke before. I'm sorry.
Next up was Cathédrale Saint-Pierre. This guy is also known as Annecy Cathedral and is a national French monument. At one point, during the French Revolution, it was used as a temple of the Goddess of Reason or something. History is so rich and cool sometimes.
On our way to the next stop, we passed by this lovely ice cream shop so we stopped for a snack.
I was my predicable ol' self and got coconut. This one was called "coco bounty" and had little cocoa nibs mixed in, which was delicious.
With our cones in hand, we made our way up a steep-ass ramp to the Château D'Annecy. Honestly, the ice cream was a great distraction, as was the view.
The castle is nothing short of "pretty cool." Seriously though, it's just kind of a whatever castle. It's a historic monument and rightly so, but it's got this sort of playschool vibe, if you know what I mean. It's just kind of mundane. I think it looks a lot cooler from town, looking up at it sitting all mighty on the hill. Up close, it's still pretty but it loses some pizazz.
On our way back down the hill, I spotted this little pup doing dog-knows-what. I was trying to take photos of him but every time I changed my angle, so did he, so all I kept snapping was his butt and balls.
When we got to the bottom of the hill, we were basically back at the famous canal spot.
And we were at our final church for the evening. This one is Saint-François-de-Sales and it's just across the canal from Palais de L'Isle. Saint François is known as the "Gentleman Saint" because of his kindness and patience and gentleness. He's buried here - he founded this church with another gentleman - though his heart is in Lyon. Guys, I'm not Catholic so I don't have an experience or understanding of heart burials. So I don't mean to sound insensitive but I find it to be such an interesting concept. The first time I heard of it was when I visited Québec in high school with my French class. We took a tour of Saint Joseph's Oratory on Mont Royal and our tour guide lady showed us where Brother André's heart was kept. It's just kind of fascinating because the heart has a lot of symbolism.
So that was basically it for the sights. I really think you go to Annecy to get in tune with nature, maybe do some sailing or paddle boating, and have your photo taken in front of Palais de L'Isle. The other stuff is just kind of superfluous but it's still fun.

On our way home from dinner, we had to stop here and make my cousin and E take a photo because they flew in from Texas. Ha, how bizarre is that?! I mean, why? Why in this little tiny country lakeside town, does this place exist? I mean, do they lure in a lot of business with the promise of a haircut by a Texan? I'm wondering if the barber really is Texan, because if so, that's super cool! I have so many questions for him! How did you end up there? How did you get a work permit? Do you have a visa or are you a citizen?
Oh, and lucky for us too, Annecy is just as beautiful in the evening as it is in the day time. I mean, it looks kind of hauntingly spooky but still really pretty, right?
Yeah, yeah, more shots of dogs. I'm pretty sure I'm the dog version of a CatLady except I've only got one and I don't force him to join my tea parties.
That's it for Annecy. Two cities down, two to go. Next up is Nice!

xoxo.

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