Although most people come to Annecy from Lyon, Paris is perhaps the second most convenient starting point for a visit to this charming rural town.
The journey by car—either by private transfer or car rental—takes less than 6 hours, and is marked by truly beautiful scenery as you pass near national parks and through the mountains.
Train is the most common way to make the journey, as there are direct routes from Paris Gare de Lyon that get you to Annecy within 3 hours and 40 minutes.
Many travelers also opt for taking the bus. If you can find a direct route, the trip is a bit less than 8 hours. However, most routes make a stop at Lyon, which brings the time closer to 11 hours.
Explore more of the beautiful Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region on this 10-day tour that also includes Lyon and Chamoix.
By Private Transfer
Duration: 5:30 hours
Most private transfer companies going to Annecy operate from the town's region itself. Given its relatively tiny size, most people who are looking for this service are nearby.
However, Paris is Paris and you can definitely find a company offering the service—just be prepared to do slightly more research than usual.
The route from the capital to this western city is quite pleasant and passes by gems like the Fontainebleau Forest, the Morvan Regional Natural Park, and the French Alps. There are also plenty of small towns perfect for a food stop.
Duration: 3:40-5:30 hours
Trains to Annecy leave from the Gare de Lyon. There are direct trains that will get you to your destination in less than four hours, making this the fastest transportation option.
However, it is important to keep in mind that most trains from Paris to Annecy are not direct. Therefore, you will have to book well in advanced and be somewhat flexible with your schedule in order to avoid transfers.
Trains in France tend to be fairly comfortable, leave on time, and provide pleasant views.
Duration: 5:30 hours
Get behind the wheel for a true "choose your own path" adventure. While driving will take two hours longer than taking a direct train, you will also be able to make stops at some picturesque towns along the route.
Some local favorites while passing through Burgundy are Auxerre, Beaune, and Bourg-en-Bresse.
It is worth it to plan detours ahead in order to calculate trip time, but don't be afraid to be spontaneous if a particular scene calls to you.
Duration: 7:45-10:40 hours
Most buses to Annecy depart from Paris Bercy Seine station, but some leave from other stations like Charles de Gaulle Airport.
Direct buses complete the trip in less than 8 hours. However, this direct route is usually offered only once a day. This means that unless you buy your tickets with enough time, you will have to transfer in Lyon. This can bring up travel time to around 11 hours.