We’re ending our two weeks in this magical town on a high note, for a couple of reasons:
(1) We had two good meals, with lovely waiters. Actually, most of our waiters after the meanie (Sophie’s word, not mine) on the first day have been lovely. We finally found a traditional French restaurant for lunch – a brasserie, not a creperie or a pizzeria. Sounds strange, I know. But in the area of the city where we’re staying, the majority of the restaurants serve typical Savoyard fare (which is delicious but very heavy – raclette, fondue, tartiflette), crepes or pizzas.
(2) We visited another chateau that Chloe actually liked. The Chateau de Menthon-Saint-Bernard is located in the hills above Lake Annecy, and of all the castles we’ve visited on this trip, this one wins the fairytale prize.
Approximately 1,000 years old, the castle’s most famous occupant was Saint Bernard de Menthon (yes, the dog breed is named after him), who lived during the 11th century and who is the patron saint of mountain dwellers. The castle is privately owned and has been with the same family since the first towers were built (can you imagine that family tree?). Only seven out of the 100+ rooms (!) are open to the public. The remaining 93+ rooms are the current owners’ private living quarters. I wonder if the count and his wife have enough space.
From this lovely courtyard, which was renovated in the 19th century and was inspired by Alsatian and Norman architecture, we visited several interesting rooms: the chapel (with a relic purportedly containing one of Saint Bernard’s fingers. Chloe loved that, of course), the old kitchen and its 45-foot tunnel with tracks on a pulley system to transport the trays of food to the far-away dining room, and a gorgeous library containing more than 12,000 volumes, all printed before the French Revolution.
Needless to say, a great way to end a spectacular two weeks. So, as the sun sets on Annecy, I say au revoir to my favorite town in France and leave so very happy that the girls had a chance to spend time in this place that’s so close to our hearts.