Getting to Annecy in France is easiest by car from Geneva or on public transportation from Paris (TGV) and slower trains from Chambery, Grenoble, Aix les Bains, and Lyon.
Annecy in Upper Savoy (Haute Savoie) is one of the loveliest towns in France and located in a very popular holiday area. Many visitors travel to Annecy on day trips from Geneva in Switzerland as well as several French Alpine ski resorts and towns including Chambery and Grenoble. Driving to Annecy in a private car is generally the easiest way to reach this town but buses and trains are also available with TGV trains arriving a few times per day directly from Paris too. Lake Annecy is a popular all-season vacation area very popular with outdoor enthusiast.
Driving to Annecy by Private Car
Driving to Annecy is the easiest way to reach this interesting old town and to explore the lakeshore. Annecy is conveniently located just off Autoroute A41 – use exit 17 (Annecy Nord) when traveling to the old town.
Following the completion of the last section of Autoroute A41 in December 2008, Geneva is just over half an hour’s drive from Annecy. Not surprisingly, Annecy is a firm favorite as day-trip destination from this Swiss city.
Major towns within easy driving distance from Annecy include Genève (50 km / 30 min), Chambery (50 km / 30 min), Grenoble (100 km / 1h), and Lyon (140 km / 1h15).
Street-side parking in Annecy is scarce and time limits strictly enforced. It is generally best to head for a designated parking garage. The parking lots at Hôtel de Ville and Centre Bonlieu are both conveniently located on the main thoroughfares and within easy walking distance from both the lake and the old town.
Public Transportation to Annecy
Annecy can of course also be reached on public transportation. However, most trains are slower local trains and the connections to Geneva and Alpine holiday resorts in the region are somewhat inconvenient when compared to the easy of getting to Annecy by car.
Good connections on relatively slow local trains are available from Annecy to Aix les Bains, Chambery, Grenoble and Lyon. Inter-City trains seldom pass by but surprisingly, Annecy can be reached a few times per day from Paris on direct high-speed TGV trains.
By High-Speed TGV Trains from Paris to Annecy
Annecy is the final stop on a high-speed TGV train line from Paris. TGV trains run a few times per day from Annecy taking just less than four hours to Paris Gare de Lyon station. En route, the TGV trains stop at Aix les Bains (30 minutes from Annecy) and usually either at Chambery (40 minutes from Annecy) or at Macon (2h).
TGV trains are not available from Annecy to other major towns in the area including Lyon. Most other trains in the region are slower local trains and not high-speed TGV or even Inter-City trains.
Local Trains to Annecy
Local trains run a few times per day from Annecy to Lyon-Part Dieu station in two hours and to Grenoble in 90 minutes. Virtually all of these trains stop in Aix les Bains (33 minutes) and usually in Chambery (46 minutes) meaning trains are available a few times per hour to the latter two towns. Travelers not using rail passes can save significantly by using the local trains rather than the TGV trains without losing too much time when traveling from Aix les Bains or Chambery to Annecy.
Trains to Annemasse on the border with Switzerland at Geneva take around an hour.
Public Transportation from Geneva to Annecy
Public transportation from Geneva in Switzerland to Annecy in France is a bit cumbersome and relatively slow. The journey by car takes just over half an hour but by bus or train the journey can easily exceed two hours.
Several routings are possible between Annecy and Geneva. Although the overall traveling time is generally two hours, the different routings have varying degrees of convenience largely depending on where the point of departure is in Geneva itself.
The following three basic routings are available from Geneva to Annecy:
- Direct buses or transfer train connections from Genève-Eaux Vives station to Annecy. Eaux Vives are convenient from Geneva’s old town and left-bank area but buses and trams from Geneva-Cornavin Main Station can easily add another 30 minutes or more to the journey.
- Cross-border buses from downtown Geneva to Annemasse in France from where trains take around an hour to Annecy.
- Travelers on trains from Geneva-Cornavin main train station should transfer in Aix les Bains to Annecy. This is often the most convenient routing, especially when arriving in Geneva on Swiss trains.
Airport shuttle buses operated by Frossard run between Annecy and Geneva Airport (GVA) a few times per day with journey times ranging from an hour to two hours depending on routings and departure times.
A pre-booked private car transfer from Geneva Airport to Annecy should be around €100. Taxi2Airport gives easy online quotations.
Flying to Annecy
Annecy has a small airport but currently now regular scheduled flights. Travelers to Annecy are more likely to fly to other airports in the region with Geneva-Cointrin Airport (GVA) or Lyon-Saint Exupéry Airport (LYS) the most convenient. The small airports at Grenoble (GNB) and Chambery (CMF) are popular with low-cost budget airlines offering cheap flights to French Alpine ski-resort areas.
See also: Top Sights in Old Town Annecy