This past Christmas was spent in France…. more specifically, Annecy and La Clusaz! Annecy is nestled beneath the French Alps in the Haute-Savoie region. It was a winter wonderland, with the Christmas markets in Annecy and fresh new snow in La Clusaz; it reminded me of my childhood Christmases in Beautiful British Columbia. When I was younger, my family would spend the winter holidays at our ski chalet at Silver Star, which is just outside of Vernon, BC. We would pack the car with all our ski gear, Costco food hauls and of course our Labrador and cat… a full family affair! My brother and I experimented quite a bit growing up… we skied, snowboarded, snow bladed and even cross country skied at some points too. I remember spending many evenings at the local frozen pond for some shinny (pick-up ice hockey), and was more often than not the only girl playing. We tend to take these things for granted, don’t we?
Anyways, since Bryan lives in France this year (previously Germany), we decided to have a white Christmas! After staying a couple nights in Lyon, we settled into our cute AirBnB apartment in the centre of Annecy. This city is known as the “Venice of the alps”, since it has many canals and bridges. We spent our time there walking around, tasting the Christmas markets every day and trying the local dishes! On our first day, we found a cozy vegetarian café called L’en-Cas Bio, as well as cute coffee shop Le Barista Cafe. At the Christmas markets we had roasted chestnuts, tartiflette and aligot. We pretty much ate cheese and potatoes in any shape or form over the next few days….
On Christmas Eve we ventured into the mountains for a day in La Clusaz. This ski mountain is a quick 45-minute bus drive from Annecy, so it was a no-brainer. On our drive up we broke through the cloud layer and no-cloud-in-the-sky, clear blue day from there! Once in the town centre, we took a gondola up to Beauregard where we had a view of all the mountains. A restaurant was perched on top of this plateau with a 180 view, so we stayed for some tartiflette and a few beers (twist our arms why don’t you). We found two lounge chairs and bathed in the sun… we were over dressed, it was such a beautiful day! Originally, we had planned to do a half-day spa visit, but after little debate, we decided to put our money where our mouth was, which meant more beer and mulled wine. The view from the chalets and walking paths were too good to leave! We stayed there until sunset and missed the last gondola down the slope… but luckily the lift attendant let us on. Once in the village, we stumbled across a town-gathering for the parade of lights! We used to watch the parade of lights at Silver Star, so this was perfect timing. They were handing our complimentary mulled wine and cheese, so we stayed for a bit before catching our bus down to the Annecy.
Christmas Day was spent making some of our favourite foods, such as grilled cheese and tomato soup (our new Christmas day tradition) and an all-vegan Christmas dinner (props to Minimalist Baker!). Our family and friends facetime sessions were speckled throughout the day, depending on the time zones. In-between chats, we made food, went for a run and had a nap… a very relaxed Christmas Day, but also much needed. For our final evening in Annecy together we tried another regional favourite dish: Raclette! This has become quite popular in the food world, but it is actually a typical dish for this particular region in France! This meal is quite simple and consists of half a wheel of cheese sitting until a grill. Once the cheese is bubbling and ready to be eaten, you scrap it onto your plate and enjoy it with potatoes or bread, or any carb choice you prefer really. Decadent! We made a fair dent on the wheel of cheese, but luckily, we didn’t finish it. So. Much. Cheese.[Although my good friend, Steph, would have to disagree… “Oh let me tell ya Rach, there is never too much cheese” …I hope she reads this…].
La Clusaz and Annecy surely didn’t disappoint; we would love to see it in the summer as well. It is such an active city and area, I think that is what we loved about it most!
Thanks for listening 🙂