Annecy has become something of a "Mecca" for free flying. There is good flying for all levels, from beginner up to the world cup pilot. Depending on the time of day, there are many opportunities, mornings and evenings are perfect for the less experienced pilot. Take off at midday usually enables you to catch some strong thermals, and the possibility to enjoy good distances and crosscountry. The take off and landing sites are large and easily accessible, and there are several "flying schools" and flying shops adjacent to the landing area. Instruction and good service is always readily available.
Most of the flying in Annecy is concentrated to the two main takeoffs, Planfait (830 metres) and Col de Forclaz (Montmin 1220 metres). Both takeoffs have mats laid out and the surface is levelled and spacious. The respective landings are clearly marked and have little restaurants where you can get refreshments. The landing below Planfait, Perroix, is where most of the flying shops and schools can be found (Les Passagers du vent, Les Grands Espaces), there is a repair shop (RipAir) where you can get your glider repaired if needed, usually quickly and at a reasonable price.
The take-off at Planfait faces to the west, right into the NW wind caused by airmasses moving in from the flatlands towards the mountains. The declination to the landing is four hundred meters, and flying from here usually involves soaring back and forth on the thermals forming in front and around the take-off. It is rather nice to just cruise around and get a good look at the lake and the spectacular view of Mount Veyrier and Roc de Boef, staying up is rarely a problem.
If you want to extend you flight, you must find a thermal to carry you up to the Dents de Lanfon (the teeth) which is "slightly" higher (1824 meters). This rock face is behind the takeoff, and once there, you are ensured a great days flying. The view is breathtaking, with the Alps and the Mont Blanc with its snow-covered cap in the distance. On a weak day this might prove more difficult for the less experienced pilots, and on such days, the take-off at Col de Forclaz can be a better option.
The Dents de Lanfon is usually a good starting point for cross-country flying, from there only your own limitations decide how far you will go. The small tour of the lake is a "classic" in Annecy (20 km). Another is the big tour, involving 40 km, and flying over Annecy, which can prove quite challenging. A nice distance is to fly to Grand Bornand or Chamonix.
The take-off at Col de Forclaz is at the altitude of 1230 and faces the NW. Take off conditions are usually favourable due to the thermal wind that is almost always blowing from the lake and up the mountain. The declination to the landing is 850 meters which is considerably higher than Planfait. This is a good choice on a non thermal day, flying from here should give you a nice view on your way to the landing.
On a day with thermals, you can gain altitude and follow the mountain ridge along to La Tournette (2350 meters) or continue towards the Dents de Lanfon and Planfait. Once you are adjacent to La Tournette, you have spectacular views and a good possibility to some serious cross-country. If you make it to "the teeth" from Forclaz, and have good altitude, you have practically done half of the small tour of the lake.