At about 6pm we left the hotel and walked through the old town to the castle. It stays very light until relatively late in the evening here in France and plenty of people were out and about. Shops were still opening and cafes, bars and restaurants were doing good business.
We walked up the steep slope to the castle. After 6pm there was no entrance fee to pay, so many couples and family groups were coming in at the same time. It’s a beautiful old castle with some parts dating back as far as the Romans and the Gauls, but a good deal of what is standing today goes back to a time when the rulers of Geneva were using it as a stronghold. There were information panels, but the English translations of the French originals were almost incomprehensible in places, or in many places there was only French language used, so we learnt very little of the history of the castle. Nevertheless, it was a fascinating old building to walk through, and we enjoyed features of the centuries old architecture.
One part of the castle was hosting an exhibition of modern art. I like modern art, but most of the works in this exhibition just failed to spark my imagination at all. There were some sections where period furniture from the surrounding districts was on display, but other than this there was not a lot to see or linger on.
So we headed back into the old town and stopped for dinner at a restaurant alongside the river flowing by the old prison. Marg had a massive burger and I had a dish, reputedly originating from a fine Parisian restaurant, where I had to cook my own sirloin steak at the table in a butter-based sauce. The food was fantastic, but, typical of France, we couldn’t squeeze it all in. The bowl of delicious crusty bread that comes with every meal was largely untouched, though it pained me to leave it that way.
The sky was darkening and the lights were coming on all over the old town as we walked slowly back to our hotel. We’ve fallen head over heels for Annecy. It’s a beautiful place full of smiling, welcoming people.