Best attractions in Annecy

Several thousand years ago, numerous lakes of pure life-giving water gave birth to a settlement called Annecy, or as it is also called Annesi (Latin Annesium). The official date of foundation is considered to be 876, when the settlement was first mentioned in the documents created during the reign of French Emperor Lothar.

At various times the city was a fiefdom of Geneva counts (X-XIV centuries), dukes of Savoy (XV century), after the Geneva reforms the bishops moved here and the headquarters of their diocese was arranged (the 30s of XVI century), which significantly increases the religiousness of the population and allows to raise the level of education. At the same time, the city expands, a castle is built and many craft shops are formed in the area of the Thue Canal.

Panorama of the city of Annecy and Lake Annecy in France Myrabella

Annecy became the object of Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s attention: in his work “Confessions”, published in 1765, he described the quiet and modest life of the small town, similar to life in the countryside. However, from the end of the 18th century a series of events occurred which led to the industrialization of the place, and a century later the city began to build a tourist infrastructure, subsequently reflected in all the activities that existed at the time.

Annecy developed more vigorously at the beginning of the last century, the population growth and the pace of industrial construction increased, and tourism became one of the key sectors of the area, which has much to show and offer to discerning travelers.

Temples and palaces of ancient Annecy

Such a rich historical experience and the participation in the creation of the city of many distinctive nationalities simply could not fail to reflect on its appearance. Among the sights of Annecy in France are famous for the legendary monuments of architecture, each of which has its own fascinating history. If you’re exploring sights of France, be sure to check out Annecy! The list of the most popular ones includes such masterpieces as:

  • Palais de Lille Island Palace;
  • Chateau d’Annecy;
  • The Church of St. Francis of Salz;
  • St. Peter’s Cathedral.
  • Church of Saint-Maurice and many other monuments in the vicinity of the city.
St. Peter's Cathedral in Annecy Martin Stone

It is believed that to visit the city and not take a photo at the palace on the island is a waste of time. The structure was built in the XII-XIII centuries on a small islet in the middle of the Tiu Canal, flowing between the lake and the River Fewer. The originality is that during its construction every inch of the island was used, the structure repeats its shape, so one of the facades looks like the prow of a floating ship. Originally designed as an office to collect tolls for crossing the bridge, its solidity and the fact that it is surrounded on all sides by water, played a role - it became a good prison. A century later, however, the same qualities prompted the community to get rid of the casemate and create a mint in the palace. The building was also a residence for the nobility, an almshouse, an orphanage, a drawing school, a gymnasium, and a palace of justice (that is actually why it still bears that proud name, despite its quite down-to-earth functions). Finally, on its place they nearly built a city bathhouse, but the beginning of the twentieth century was a period of revival of the old palace, it began to be protected as a historic monument of architecture.

The Palace of the Old Golden Isle - Palais de l'Isle in France Frans Berkelaar

Unfortunately, World War II made these walls remember the wails of the prisoners, it became a prison again, but even after the war it did not lose its popularity. At the end of the last century, it was restored a second time and still enjoys the sympathy of travelers.

City castle complex

Built in the XII century in the capital of Geneva county, Annecy castle received the status of county residence, as befits a building of this type. The castle stood on the site for about four centuries as its foundation. Fires broke out several times, but the castle was always rebuilt. During the period when it was owned by the Dukes of Savoy, the most beautiful tower of the Perrier complex was erected. The defense capacity of the fortress improved, which, however, did not prevent the French army in the early 17th century to seize it, turning it first into a barracks, then into a warehouse.

Annecy Castle in Annecy, France Silex

Eventually, the desolate château became a haven for beggars and the homeless. The castle’s dark side ended only in the middle of the last century when it was placed under protection as a historical monument. The buildings have been repaired and today it houses an interesting museum collection, which offers visitors the unique spirit of the exhibits, which are centuries old. The area around it has been transformed, surrounded by many beautiful squares, restored, though not as large, but no less interesting historical sites. The walls of the castle offer a panorama of Annecy and a picturesque view of the lake of the same name.

See the beauty of Annecy in this great video!

Annecy sights: the Venice of the Alps

This is how Europeans often call this city, and in part they are right. Three rivers and plenty of canals, houses surrounded on all sides by water, suggest the Italian miracle on water. Looking at the colorful photos of the sights of Annecy, France and many states in Europe, evaluated the town with an apt expression, calling it “the most beautiful French village.

View of Lake Annecy in France Dingy

Lake Annecy is an enviable rival to the architectural delights of the settlement. Its picturesque surroundings delight many tourists, who once visited it, return again and again to admire the beauty of the lake. Almost three thousand hectares of crystal clear waters, 15 km long and up to 3 km wide, surrounded by incredibly beautiful slopes and cliffs covered with forests, are offered to travelers. It is considered the cleanest body of water in the world, because its origin in ancient times, it owes its existence to the glaciers of the Alps, whose meltwater filled and continue to replenish the bowl of small mountain rivers and streams.

Beach holidays on the shores of Lake Annecy in France Dmitry Dzhu

On the shores of Annecy for residents and its guests organized beach vacation, because the air temperature in July and August reaches +27 degrees, and the water warms up to +24. The abbey on the shores of the lake, where the monks used to live, is equipped with a comfortable hotel. The beginning of August is marked by an influx of tourists wishing to admire an interesting festival, accompanied by fireworks and water shows.

Romantic places in Annecy

This small town just breathes romance, thanks to its medieval architecture, picturesque streets and parks. The Pont de l’Amour, the bridge over the canal where lovers meet, underscores this feeling. This is where couples of different generations, those with a love story yet to come, and those who have a long and happy life together to remember, all yearn to cross it.

Pont de Cupid - a meeting place for couples in love Dingy

Not far from the junction of the canal and the lake, an English-style park, called the Garden of Europe, was laid out in 1863. Visitors are simply mesmerized by the unique landscape design, sculptural compositions, and amazingly beautiful vegetation. About the origin and species of trees can be learned from the information plates at each of them. In the park lake created an island, which is home to snow-white swans and tourists can enjoy their majestic beauty and grace. The park itself has several attractions, for example, on the waterfront preserved the first sundial with a gnomon - a column invented by Capuchin monk Father Arsene.

Anci Park Recreation Place Guilhem Vellut

Official website:

Often tour itineraries that form in Geneva, Grenoble, and Lyon include a visit to Annecy. But having set foot in the streets of this city many tourists prefer to linger here for several days, thanks to the whole environment contributing to this desire: a lot of comfortable hotels, cafes, restaurants and casinos, which solve the problem of accommodation, meals and evening entertainment. And during the day in Annecy there is always something to admire.

Read also about sights of Bordeaux and be inspired for your next trip to France.

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