Travel diary with Iulia Verdes: Annecy

"The morning light near Lake Annecy is a spectacle by itself"

An actress that now shines in both theatre and film, Iulia became known way back, since she was 18 – it was then that she played in “Elevator”, directed by George Dorobantu. The film received acclaim and awards not only in Romania, but also in the Czech Republic, Australia, and, yes, in L.A. Iulia continued her career, performing in theatre plays, cinema productions, but also in TV-series, as HBO’s production “In deriva”, or “Om sarac, om bogat” for PRO TV. She travels a lot, yet the place that even now stays and has a special place in her soul is Annecy, a wonderful region she’s told us about.


When I asked you about a place you’ve visited, a place you’d like to talk about, you said Annecy, France. Why did you stop at this particular spot?

It’s classic, it’s Europe, and, more, I’m absolutely in love with The Rhone-Alpes region. Whether it’s winter or summer, Annecy is the perfect place for my vacations – delicious to discover by foot, bike, or paragliding, that if you’re courageous enough. It’s literally breathless. The mountain hikes are not to be missed; same goes for a picnic next to the lake, amongst the French, a little anti-stress lesson.

What did you know about Annecy before going there?

I knew a few things from the specialized travel websites and some funny stories my friends recounted. But what really made me pack and hit the road was a picture from Annecy, sent by my sister. I knew that Annecy was also so-called the Venice of the Alps – I was fascinated by the colors of the city and by its amazing light. This town, this tiny jewel in the Alps, has a special charm. The morning light near Lake Annecy is a spectacle by itself. Actually, this is the first memory, the first thought about the city: its light.

Did you make any plans before going to Annecy?

No big plans or expectations. I had my luggage, a map and a destination. I took care of all the rest there J. I took some notes about the most important tourist attractions, but there’s always room for a little adrenaline and adventure. I prefer the locals’ recommendations, so you get to feel and live like them. Not like a tourist.

What were the places you liked the most and you’d recommend to your friends planning a trip to Annecy?

First, I’d recommend them to rent a car and explore the whole area. At approximately 50 km is Geneva, then, at 100 km, Chamonix, and at 20 km, Aravis Park D’Aventures. Obviously, a cheese and wine picnic on one of Lake Annecy’s beaches is never a bad idea J. You’ll enjoy the sun, the perfect views, and the outdoor adventures. Now, really, I’d recommend paragliding over the lake to myself… maybe next time. And, of course, Pont des Amours and Chateau d’Annecy.

How about the places you didn’t quite like?

Generally, avoiding the crowded places, especially if you want to eat in time. The food is really exceptional, but you have to wait… so get yourself a newspaper, lemonade, and prepare to wait patiently.

Would you return to Annecy?

Yeah. Anytime. For the peace and total relaxation that this little medieval town impassions every morning. For the Lake’s Holiday, which takes place on the first Saturday of every August, recognized for the greatest pyrotechnic show – or for bathing in the lake during the summer on one of the so many beach. Last, but not least, for King of the Lake, a competition of wake-surf.

How about the people in Annecy?

Serene. There are many curious, frantic tourists, but the locals are always sweet smiling, ready to seduce you for good. Or, maybe, I was lucky to have caught a good and gentle stay J.

How about the food?

You mean cheese and wine, right? Anything with cheese, anything with wine! And magret.

What did you buy from Annecy?

Postcards. I collect postcards and maps of the places I visited. But I can’t deny, I’ve also completed my wine reserve.

Tell us about a place you couldn’t forget from your vacation there.

There are lots of beaches in Annecy, so it gets hard to pick just one. Yet all are splendid, particularly due to the unique color mélange: the deep blue of the lake joined by the intense green of the park. We picked Veyrier-du-Lac.

If you were to pack for Annecy tomorrow, what would you put in?

The hiking suit, a bathing suit, and magnesium.

Is there a place you traveled to, while filming, and that stayed in your soul? If so, why?

I think it’s a perfect match to travel and film at the same time: I was one of the lucky ones that entered into the heart of this wonderful castle, built by the Rochefoucauld family in 1854, in a neogothic style, on the Loire Valley – of course, still in France. An hour distance from Nantes, Chateau de Challain-la-Potherie was my home for three weeks, while filming there. A magic, storylike place. Did I say I got the countess’s room? 🙂

How about a movie that unfolds in a certain place that – after seeing the film – you wanted to explore and visit?

Today’s winner is “Call Me by Your Name”, directed by Luca Guadagnino, with a script based on André Aciman’s homonym novel. The film delivers a very beautiful love story, yet the Northern Italy’s locations and landscapes – in Lombardy, near the city of Crema – will make you leave the cinema hall thinking about a plane ticket and a city break, spending an Italian vacation.

Tilt your phone to experience the
duty free experience