Sparkling Annecy is on crystal-clear Lac d'Annecy, surrounded by snow-tipped peaks. Though the canals, flower-decked bridges, and cobbled pedestrian streets are filled with shoppers and tourists on market days—Tuesday and Friday—the town is still tranquil.

Does it seem that the River Thiou flows backward, that is, out of the lake? You're right: it drains the lake, feeding the town's canals. Most of the Vieille Ville (Old Town) is now a pedestrian zone lined with half-timber houses. Here is where the best restaurants are, so you'll probably be back in the evening.

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