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13th May 2024
All Aboard the Adventure Train: Annecy and Mont Blanc
We're about to embark on a breathtaking journey through the landscapes of France, courtesy of Fred. Holidays. I’m Tom, your guide, your travel pal, and I’m here to spill all the details about our recent escapade to Annecy and the magnificent Mont Blanc.

Pack your bags, grab your tickets, hop on board and relax with a glass of something cold, it's time to ditch the hassle of airport security lines and cramped airplane seats, because we're about to embark on a breathtaking journey through the landscapes of France, courtesy of Fred. Holidays. I’m Tom, your guide, your travel pal, and I’m here to spill all the details about our recent escapade to Annecy and the magnificent Mont Blanc.

Breaking it down, let’s talk about the journey. The Eurostar is hands down, the easiest way to cross country lines. Forget the stress and anxiety of airports - expect quieter security, less people, and an overall more relaxing experience. In comparison to airplanes, Eurostar has more comfortable seats, more leg room – and if you’re in Standard Premier; a light meal and drinks!

Once you have you have made the short crossing under the channel, you’ll be winging your way through France. The picturesque French countryside flashes by outside the window as you make your way to your connecting train in Paris. You don’t have to worry about sorting tickets whilst in France, if you’ve pre-arranged your travel like I had, with Fred. Holidays. Stress-free really is the theme of this trip.

Here's a tip on taking the train in France – once you are at the train station, keep an eye out for your train platform. Your train platform will NOT be on your ticket. The platform is posted about 20 minutes before departure. Looking at the departure screens, trains are listed by number and where they terminate. Don’t just look for your destination to be displayed on the board. Make sure you look for your train number and be aware that some trains make multiple stops may terminate at a different destination.

Did you know that packing a picnic or a pique-nique is a French tradition? You won’t have to go far from the train station to find a boulangerie - Pack a baguette, some cheese and a maybe even a bottle of wine. There aren’t many better ways to travel, than snacking on delicious fresh bread and supping delicious wine, and watching the scenery go by.

Now, let’s fast forward to our first stop: Annecy. And, where do I even begin with this gem? Nestled cosily between snow-capped mountains and the sparkling waters of Lake Annecy, it is like a quaint little French postcard come to life. The old town, with its winding cobblestone streets, Annecy was made great by the medieval Counts of Geneva and the Dukes of Savoy, and still boasts a plethora of 16th- and 17th-century buildings, now painted in pastel shades housing restaurants, bakeries and boutiques. Quintessential France in a nutshell.

But the real pièce de résistance of our Annecy adventure? The lake itself. You can spend your days kayaking, paddleboarding, and just lounging on the shore, soaking up the sun and the breathtaking views. Cycling around the lake is a popular pastime, with plenty of bike rental shops close-by, like this one at Roul ma Poule – many styles of bikes, including electric bikes are available, starting around €20 for the day.

That said, there’s nothing quite like, simply watching the sunset over the mountains while sipping on a glass of local wine. Carefree and magical.

Now, onto the main event: Mont Blanc. If you thought Annecy was impressive, just wait until you lay eyes on this icon. As the tallest mountain in the Alps, Mont Blanc is a force to be reckoned with.

We hopped on the exciting Mont Blanc Express, which passes through the magical Trient Valley, with its rocky outcroppings, forests, wild gorges and classic alpine villages. Ascending the heights, taking in panoramic alpine views, quite literally took my breath away. There is something about mountain air, that just smells different. It somehow just feels crisper and cleaner. Taking a cable car to the top of Aiguille du Midi, (the highest cable car in France) there is an incredible panoramic glass platform to view the full mountain range above the clouds!

Fear not! Mont Blanc isn’t just for skiers, adrenaline junkies and hardcore hikers. Oh no, there’s plenty to do for us mere mortals as well. We spent a day exploring Chamonix, with arguably the most spectacular scenery in the French Alps. Here, you can indulge in the best in mountain cuisine, I would recommend getting stuck into the classics, fondue and raclette!

So there you have it: our tour of Annecy and Mont Blanc. From scenic rail journeys to jaw-dropping mountain vistas, this trip had it all. And while we may have left France behind, the memories of this adventure will stay with me forever. Until next time, au revoir!

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