Annecy is a beautiful small town on Lake Annecy in the Haute Savoie department of which it is also the capital. It is the oldest and largest city on this lake. The city originated sometime in the Middle Ages. Annecy has been the capital of the County of Geneva until the city became part of the House of Savoy. It would take until the French Revolution in the eighteenth century before Annecy became part of France. The old center of the city is characterized by the old narrow streets with canals and richly colored houses. In the streets you will come across many nice and special shops and you can enjoy all the delicacies that the region has to offer on a terrace.
Top 10 things to do in Annecy
#1. Lake Annecy
According to gradphysics, Lake Annecy is without a doubt the city’s biggest tourist attraction. Every year, many hundreds of thousands of tourists flock to the lake to enjoy the beautiful nature and many water sports activities. In the summer months the water of the lake is about twenty degrees. Kayaking, surfing and sailing can be done on the lake. The more adventurous can go hang-gliding or paragliding from Col de la Forclaz. Annecy is the largest city on this lake and therefore attracts a lot of people for day trips in the summer months. The special thing about Lake Annecy is that it is surrounded by huge mountains.
#2. Castle of Annecy
The castle of Annecy was built in the twelfth century. In the centuries that followed, the castle was renovated and expanded several times. During this period, the castle served as the residence of the Counts of Geneva. After several fires in the seventeenth century, the castle became vacant. Later, the castle was restored and became a military barracks. In the twentieth century, the city bought the castle and today the castle houses several museums and an observatory. The main museum that can be found in the castle is the Musée d’art Populaire alpin.
#3. Palais de l’Isle
The Palais de l’Isle was built in the first half of the twelfth century in the Thiou. This is without a doubt the most striking building in the city. Some sources even report that it is among the most photographed buildings in France. In the twelfth century, the Palais de l’Isle served as the residence of the Lord of Annecy. Later it served as a courthouse, the Mint and a prison. Since 1900, the Palais de l’Isle has been a protected French monument. Today the city museum of Annecy is housed in the former palace.
#4. Pont des Amours
The Pont des Amours the bridge of love is a beautiful bridge over the Vassé. The bridge connects the Jardin de l’Europe park and the Pâquier. The name of the bridge can be explained in several ways. According to one story, lovers used to gather here to enjoy the view over Lake Annecy. A kiss on this bridge would connect the lovers forever. The other story is a little less romantic, as it is claimed that in the past the prostitutes of Annecy could always be found near this bridge at nightfall.
#5. Jardins de l’Europe d’Annecy
These beautiful gardens on the banks of Lake Annecy were created at the end of the nineteenth century. In the gardens there are beautiful old trees and several water features. In the summer months, the residents of Annecy seek the shade of the trees in the park and the children try to cool off in one of the fountains. It is a pleasant park that is certainly buzzing with life in the summer months. Delicious ice creams are sold at several places in the park.
#6. Cathedral Saint Pierre
The Cathedral Saint Pierre or Cathédrale Saint-Pierre d’Annecy is a sixteenth century cathedral in the center of Annecy. It is a Roman Catholic church built in the Baroque style. He can be found on the Rue du Jacques Rousseau. It is a gloomy church only the dome and some parts of the ceiling are richly painted. At the time of the French Revolution, the church served as a temple of reason. Enlightened thinkers like Voltaire and Rousseau were part of the Cult of Reason. The cathedral includes a statue of Saint Francois Selles.
#7. Rue de Saint Claire
The reu de Saint Claire is without doubt the most beautiful shopping street in Annecy. Cozy restaurants alternate in the street. The arches under which the shops and restaurants are located make the street extra special. These arches date from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The male de Saint Claire comes out on the Place de Saint Claire. This square is characterized by the porte Sainte-Claire with its clock of the city. From this square you can follow a steep road to the castle of Annecy. The male de Saint Claire is connected to the further parts of Annecy by means of small alleys and bridges.
#8. Impérial Palace
The Imperial Palace of Annecy is located on the outskirts of the city on Lake Annecy. The hotel was built in the early twentieth century as a hotel-casino and it still has this function. The hotel is located in a public garden complex that can be visited freely. The restaurant that belongs to the hotel can also be visited by non-guests. The same goes for the casino. In addition to one-armed bandits, the casino features blackjack tables, roulette tables and poker tables. The view from the hotel on Lake Annecy is phenomenal.
#9. Église Saint-Maurice
The Church of Saint-Maurice is a Roman Catholic church in the old town of Annecy. it is the oldest church in the city. The church was built at the beginning of the fifteenth century on the remains of an old chapel. The church is built in the Gothic style. Several chapels can be found in the church, most of these chapels were built in the fifteenth century and were sponsored by the notables of the city. A striking detail in the church is a Trompe-l’oeil from the fifteenth century.
#10. Château de Novel
At the foot of Annecy-le Vieux, the Novel castle is located in the Novel district. This castle was part of the stronghold of Annecy in the twelfth century. In this period the castle belonged to the Counts of Geneva. The former castle was bought by the municipality in the last century and completely restored.