RE: Living in Annecy - accommodation and cost
I would search on line Google or search engines for 'immobilier' and 'annecy' and find some of the real estate offices who handle rentals (called locations) and write to them to ask for some rental options (agencies will always charge more than a private party as they take fees on top of the rental but might be easier to deal with if you are only here for 1 year). It is a student town, so there are a lot of rentals (but therefore in some areas you find a lot of small not so fabulous apartments as well, designed for students rather than adults).
As in any decent sized city there are going to be more and less expensive areas of town. Nothing I have seen there is what I would call 'dangerous' (compared to Chicago or New York) if you are in the city itself.
The downtown old section is of course beautiful and more pricey, but close to everything. A place like Annecy le Vieux which is on the edge of town close to the countryside is also nice but you are not as close to the lake or in walking distance of the nice shopping area downtown. But there is very good public parking underground in town center. Annecy does have public transport, though it is only buses which means on holidays and weekends the service is not as frequent. Food is reasonable if you shop at the hyper markets (Carrefour etc.), but if you eat out a lot (like anywhere else) you will spend more. I certainly don't think you'll be spending more than in London . . .
You can choose to live in the surrounding countryside if you want more peace and quiet and maybe lower rent or a bigger place, and you will not run into major traffic issues if you are working or going to school in town (I drove there every day for several months to attend French courses in the morning and 'rush hour' traffic is nothing compared to a major city).
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