On our visit to Annecy, we left till last our visit to one of the cleanest lakes in Europe. With an area of 2,760 hectares and a length of 14.5 kms and an average depth of 42 meters in spring time, it is a unique places to relax and unwind. The evening was falling as we approached its banks and pre-Alpine peaks and we had a glimpse of the setting sun. A real treat if this place is not crowded as it tends to be in the summer. Sitting in one of the benches along the path that goes round Annecy, I spent time taking some photographs, good, fair or bad is not important. What is important is the tranquility and peace with which I did it.
Located on the Annecy lake, this picturesque French town in Haute-Savoie definitely shows off its alpine roots. It is, after all, very close to the Alps, Switzerland, and Italy. It's a small city (around 50,000 people) whose history begins in the 10th century, and has always been linked to Geneva. It's been part of the Savoie house since 1401.
For many years, Annency was the home of the Geneva bishopric, and of the Catholic orders which fled to the city during the Reformation, making Annency home of the Counterreformation, led by Francis de Sales who founded the Salesian sect.
Annecy's main attractions are the gorgeous lake and city center which houses many medieval relics and charming canals. There are also historic monuments like the Island Palace, which dates to the 12th century, the Cathedral of St. Peter, Sante-Claire and Royale streets, and the Annecy History Museum located in the old mint.
It's a beautiful trip to the past and a great experience.
The Island Palace is probably the most photographed monument in the center of Annecy. This is a 12th century palace on a small island in the middle of the river. It was later used as a prison and now houses a center devoted to the study of the city's architectural heritage. Presumably, being completely surrounded by the river, is it was difficult for the prisoners to break out. Its figurehead is very recognisable and gives a great charm to this area of the city.
To finish our little visit to Annecy we went to these impressive gardens located on the shore of the lake. These lands together with the Place de l'Hotel de Ville formed a marshy island outside the walled city and were owned by a family originally from Asti named Lombard. In 1863 after the annexation of the Duchy of Savoy these gardens were created with over 650 trees and 1,000 shrubs although currently there are only 250 trees. There's a great silence and peace, despite the large influx of people on a summer evening. Before our visit and being greedy, we had no option but to go to a sweet shop in the Rue du Pont de Morens opposite the restaurant where we ate.
An impressive fortress built between the 12th and 16th centuries, in the beautiful, historic centre overlooking the city of Annecy, it was the residence of the Counts of Geneva (House of Savoy) and was then abandoned for a long time due to the decline of the city, not being occupied until the twentieth century boom. In 1947 the castle was used as an army barracks. In 1953 the city council bought it for later use as a museum. It is currently home to the Museum of Ethnography and Folk Art and is also the Museum and Office for Alpine lakes.
This church, near the historical center of Annecy, contrasts sharply with its surroundings. The explanation is simple: Annecy is a city that for centuries was under the influence of Geneva. It retains all the traces in architecture. However, when Geneva became Calvinist, Annecy became the capital of Catholicism in the area. If we add that it became part of the territories of the House of Savoy, then you understand why in an area with mostly medieval architecture and reminiscent of Germany, we find this temple with its Lombard Baroque style. It is the best the church is the Italian region of Annecy. It is home to the mortal remains of St. Francis de Sales, who was bishop of the city and one of the champions of the Counter-Reformation.
I was very lucky to visit the French town of Annecy, a weekend holiday in the month of October, when the population celebrates the end of summer and the beginning of the period when the cattle come down from the mountains for the winter in home, and farmers symbolically parade their animals through the streets of the city. They parade dressed as medieval villagers and have flowers decorating the carts and the animals also carry some embellishment representative of Savoy. It is a joyous festival and with an abundance of typical regional food, wine and lots of beer ... There is folk music, with the same people in the region ve put their food stalls, bands and take part in the dances. It caught my attention in this area of the show the French Swiss and German origins, especially the physical features very fair and with light eyes. Savoy's pride is evident in this joyous festival, as it is recalled that this region, along with Geneva and the Aosta Valley in Italy, were part of the original Savoy centuries ago, before France annexed it in the year 1860 . These days it is very common to exhibit the flag of Savoy more than the same French flag, giving the feeling that you are in another country other than France.
This stunning Parisian style hotel is next to Lake Annecy and is set in sumptuous gardens. It is a four-star hotel, a casino and has a restaurants. Opened in 1913, at the height of spas in the city, it hosted the most distinguished of European royalty. Following a long period of decline, the building was destroyed by fire in the 1980s. The current building is a reconstruction of the original. It still shows the same pompous grandeur of yesteryear. The building and grounds are owned by the city council, which allowed them to open the gardens to the public. It is a key feature of the Annecy skyline and the spacious and shady Imperial gardens are one of the local favorites for walks.
This small square, in the heart of the old part of Annecy and its church (Notre Dame de Liesse), are charming despite the renovations currently taking place. Don't leave it off your itinerary! Visiting the church allows you to admire beautiful furniture and architecture - everything dating back to the construction in the mid-nineteenth century. Beautiful large windows.
Searching for what to do in Annecy? Considered one of the most photographed monuments in France, the Palais de l'Isle is one of the essential things to do in Annecy. Built in 1132, the castle is at the center of the Thiou canal. Its triangular shape like the prow of a galley has become the visual symbol of the city.
As you journey through the canals of the old town, you'll find other places to visit in Annecy like the church of St. Maurice and St. Peter. And don't miss the arches of the Rue Sainte-Claire and the fountain of the Wells of St. John in the Rue Royale. Dominating the town, one of the most historical things to see in Annecy is the former residence of the counts of Geneva. Today, the castle houses the Annecy Conservatory of Art and History and the Regional Observatory of Alpine Lakes with archaeological exhibits, aquariums, and models.
After your visit, practice your new knowledge by touring Lake Annecy, the great natural claim to the city and one of the favourite Annecy activities. Other interesting attractions in Annecy are the Gardens of Europe, the Pont des Amours (kiss your partner right in the middle of the bridge and prepare to stay with them for the rest of your life), and the viewpoints of forest Crêt du Maure. Browse among the experiences shared minube travelers and discover all the stuff to do in Annecy, the little Venice of the Alps with all its wondrous Annecy attractions.