Cruising around Lake Annecy on a large boat has an air of glamour, especially if you’re watching from solid ground. Last weekend, I finally became glamorous, stepping onto one of the famed red and white boats to cruise the lake at a discount price of €5 for the entire day.
The special deal was part of an event called ‘Lac en Partage‘ (‘Shared Lake’) which combined the discounted boat service with free shuttles, hikes, plants, cake, brochures galore and local information stands at each port.
Although the event started early on Sunday morning, I arrived ‘fashionably late’ (I slept in) after midday at the Veyrier port and bought my ticket. Taking a boat across a beautiful lake on an unseasonably hot October afternoon was glamorous enough, and then it peaked when I was interviewed for a national radio station covering the event — in French.
Uber-glamour quickly turned to economy on the freebie shuttle bus to Annecy’s newest water plant, not far from the lake. The tour of the plant was interesting, with more than €2m of microfilters inside the white barrels, pictured. The tour guide carried on for an extra half an hour to show us the layouts of every water reservoir in Annecy. There are lots. It was not interesting. Paint drying is more fun. The tour finished minutes before the last boat to St Jorioz — that I was supposed to be on — was due to depart. The bus driver said there’d be no chance of making it back in time.
Thankfully, the boat was running late too. A sprint from the bus to the port got me noticed, and the staff waited for the crazy running lady to board before closing the gate behind me. With just 10 minutes in St Jorioz before the last boat back to Veyrier, I raced around the information stands at the port. I learnt about the ancient submerged villages in Lake Annecy. Diving is forbidden, so the only way to view these protected sites is by looking at photos. On the upside, free plants were available, with gardeners on hand to help choose wisely.
Back in Veyrier, the mood was chilled in the late afternoon sun. Plant in one hand, drink in the other, next year, I’ll make sure I get up earlier. An afternoon was nowhere near long enough.