France, Travels

Annecy – a Romance in Rain

Go to Annecy; there you will find a good and charitable lady…” – Jean-Jacques Rousseau, The Confessions

Sometimes I wonder if I do this in purpose. Just to make my life tiny bit more difficult. If I pick up these travel guides to a new destination from one of the most unlikely library shelves. 800 pages of the Mediterranean history to visit French Riviera, Thomas Aquinas to understand Dublin better (via Joyce, naturally). This time: philosophy. Or, autobiography. Depends on how you look at it. Best just to say philosophical autobiography, as Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s Confessions is exactly that: a life’s story tangled with philosophical quests.

But how to sell a philosophical journey to nowadays’ glossy travel magazines, how to make a blog post alluring for all adventure seekers out there when you have words “philosophy”, “autobiography” and “18th century” screaming from the headline?

You don’t.

So I give up. I make Annency about romance as I walk its rainy streets, alone and with wet shoes.

I give up to the romance of Rousseau. Rousseau met the love of his life here; Madame de Warens, a little bit older, wiser and sophisticated creature Rousseau called his “mama”. Other loves came and went, other pretty faces and laughing eyes passed, but it was Madame de Warens who stayed in the philosopher’s heart, yet not life, till the end.

This is a little photo (Instagram) essay on Annecy and, let’s be poetical, on the romance of rain and sunshine.

I start from the beginning: Helsinki Railway Station. My attempt of street photography.

I start from the beginning: Helsinki Railway Station. My attempt on street photography.

A pit stop in Geneva was required as, very unromantically, the trip to Annecy was, yes, a business trip and included a preliminary meeting in Jean-Jacques's home town. I paid almost 20 euro for the worst salad I have had in my life.

A pit stop in Geneva was required as, very unromantically, the trip to Annecy was, yes, a business trip and included a preliminary meeting in Jean-Jacques’s hometown. I did not have time to do any “Rousseau spotting” and I paid almost 20 euros for the worst salad I have had in my life.

I didn't have time to be impressed by Geneva, but it's haunting, blueish grey evening colours left an everlasting impression.

I didn’t have time to be impressed by Geneva, but it’s haunting, blueish grey evening colours left an everlasting impression.

In Annecy, the colours of landscape disappeared but the rain could not was out the colours of the buildings.

As Rousseau a couple of hundred years ago, also I crossed the Alps from Geneva to Annecy. He spent few days walking, I rented a car. In Annecy, the colours of the landscape had disappeared, but the rain could not wash out the colours of the cartoon-like buildings.

The clouds hung low - or was I high? There were youngster smoking pot at Annecy Castle's courtyard while I was taking photos.

The clouds hung low – or was I high? There were youngsters smoking pot at Annecy Castle’s courtyard while I was taking photos.

A food market covered few blocks of old town Annecy and people were shopping with appropriate shopping bags.

A food market covered few blocks of old town Annecy and people were shopping with appropriate shopping bags.

The rain gave a little space for rays of sunshine.

The rain gave a little space for rays of sunshine. River Thiou was running high and fast.

I took refuge in an old fashioned biscuiterie.

I took refuge in an old fashioned biscuitier…

... and a modern coffee shop. I confess, a delicious banana and peanut cake was cropped out of this shot.

… and a modern coffee shop, Largo. I confess, a delicious banana and peanut cake was cropped out of this shot.

The rain ceased a bit and I had a romantic walk - alone - by Lake Annecy. This was the first time I was mesmerized by the Alps at the horizon and started to understand the lure this region has for people.

The rain ceased a bit and I had a romantic walk – alone – by Lake Annecy. This was the first time I was mesmerised by the Alps at the horizon and started to understand the lure this region has for people.

I took this photo of the Pond des Amours - Lovers Bridge - and by Instagram exploded - in a modest way. An urban legend has it that if you kiss your lover on this bridge you'll stay together forever: my husband was busy with meetings, so I leave this to the fate.

I took this photo of the Pont des Amours – Lovers Bridge – and my Instagram exploded – in a modest way. An urban legend has it that if you kiss your lover on this bridge you’ll stay together forever: my husband was busy with meetings, so I leave this to the fate.

Next day I kicked off with and imperial coffee at the Imperial Palace, where all the animators and business people were buzzing because of the animation festival in town. Notice the croissants and macaroon: a good start for the day.

Next day was kicked off with and imperial coffee at the Imperial Palace, where all the animators and business people were buzzing because of the animation festival in town. Notice the croissants and macaroon: a good start for the day.

Sun was shining and the rain was only a distant memory. I decided to photograph the Annecy Lake. An eerie atmosphere lingered in totally empty lakeside resort.

Sun was shining and the rain was only a distant memory. I decided to photograph the Annecy Lake. An eerie atmosphere lingered in a totally empty lakeside resort.

The greenish blue lake glittered in the sun shine, boats waiting for their rowers.

The greenish blue lake glittered in the sunshine, boats waiting for their rowers as I walked back to the city centre Annecy. With all the rain, I was glad to see Annecy bathing in sunshine for a change. Incidentally, I had to start to head home.

Heading back home I opened up my Rousseau again and started reading...

On the airplane, I opened up my Rousseau and continued with my tour guide…

Always surrounded by walls, I had nothing before my eyes except the roofs of houses or the dull grey of the streets. How vividly I felt the charm of novelty, which strengthened my inclination to tender emotions! I looked upon this enchanting landscape as another of my dear patroness’s kindness…I saw her everywhere, in the midst of the flowers and verdure; her charms and those of spring melted together insensibly before my eyes. My heart, until then restricted, expanded in this unconfined space, and my thoughts found freer vent amongst the fruit gardens.” – Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Confessions

 

You Might Also Like

No Comments

Leave a Reply