The day before leaving France, we were treated to a tour of Annecy, an incredibly beautiful Alpine commune in Haute Savoie (southeastern France) known as “The Venice of France,” a title well deserved, because the town is laced with canals from the Thiou River.Annecy is also adorned with colorful flower boxes, lined with pastel boutiques and cafes, and alive with the tantalizing aromas that have made the French famous for their cuisine. Annecy is surrounded by mountains, and the village grew up beside Lake Annecy some 3,100 BC, although the present centerpiece of Old Town is the Palais de l’Isle, the former residence of Annecy’s lords that dates back to the twelfth century. Our tour began with a breakfast of possibly the most buttery,
flaky chocolate croissants in the world. (Mason, whom I affectionately dubbed “Fearless Leader,” adores them!) From there we spent the morning meandering along the streets, taking in the ambiance and enjoying the sights and culture of Alpine France, although we did do a little souvenir and gift shopping, especially Zach, who was trying to find a French key chain for his girlfriend. We also saw some of the best known sites, like the city jail and several beautiful churches. Not all of them were open that day, but the Annecy Cathedral was. I love how many of the historic Christian churches are open to the public. What a sanctuary from the heat and bustle of the day…
the perfect spot to come apart for a few minutes of prayer and meditation. Neither Fearless Leader nor our host thought our Tour de France would be complete without trying one of France’s famous sweet or savory crêpes. (If you’ve never had hazelnut/chocolate “Nutella”…try it sometime!) We each got a “to die for it’s so good” crêpe and headed for Parc (“Park”) Charles Busson to relax and enjoy our picnic lunch.The park borders Lake Annecy, which is the 3rd largest lake in France.* Fed by glacial river runoff into the lake and water bubbling up via the Boubioz
(which is 82-meters below the surface), it’s considered Europe’s cleanest lake. Lake Annecy is a popular tourist destination for water sports and swimming. After our picnic, we meandered across the Pont des Amours (Bridge of Love), stopped to enjoy a free concert in the park, and strolled along the Thiou Canal. By late afternoon it was really hot out, and we had a long drive ahead, so we stopped for a smackeral of something to sustain us until home and supper.What an incredible contrast to the squalor and poverty endured by the refugees.I think we all struggled with “survivor guilt.” (I know Zach and I did.) Is it “okay” to be so happy when millions—billions—of people aren’t???
Perhaps the answer is to be charitable but also enjoy the life God’s given you:
“He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?”
By the end of our trip, we felt bonded—a bit like soldiers coming home from war— and I thought, “Yes, because we are soldiers, but for the Prince of Peace.”
“Am I a soldier of the cross,
A follow’r of the Lamb?
And shall I fear to own His cause,
Or blush to speak His name?
“Must I be carried to the skies
On flow’ry beds of ease,
While others fought to win the prize,
And sailed through bloody seas?
“Sure I must fight if I would reign;
Increase my courage, Lord;
I’ll bear the toil, endure the pain,
Supported by Thy Word.”
(—Isaac Watts, 1721)
(*All the pictures are mine, although the panorama of Lake Annecy in the winter is a photo I took of a picture outside one of the shops.)