Annecy, the Venice of the Alps
Annecy, nicknamed the “Venice of the Alps,” presents visitors with harmonious and romantic landscapes. The old town, with its colorful pedestrian streets traversed by the Thiou River, offers a picturesque and enchanting setting. The numerous food markets, artisans, and antique shops bring vitality to the city’s streets.
Abundant in cultural activities, with its museums, castles, and exhibitions, Annecy has been awarded the “Art and History” label, now held dear in the hearts of its residents. Not to be forgotten is the pleasure of the senses while savoring a traditional dish in one of the many restaurants, as well as the allure of its lake and parks conducive to leisurely strolls.
Palais de l'Ile
Classified as a historical monument in 1959, the Château d’Annecy served as the residence of the Counts of Geneva in the 13th and 14th centuries. Over the following two centuries, new developments bestowed upon the castle its distinctive appearance—a synthesis of medieval defensive architecture and the elegance inspired by the style of the castles in the Île de France. Abandoned as a residence in the 17th century, it was repurposed as a military barracks until 1947.
Gardens of Europe
Transformed into an arboretum during the annexation of Savoie to France, they showcase a beautiful variety of tree species from Europe, America, and Asia. Visitors can admire several centuries-old giant sequoias and a ginkgo biloba, known as the “forty-coin tree.” Along the developed port on the banks of the Thiou (landing stage), one can explore the massive structures of the castle.
Pont des Amours (Bridge of Loves)
Highly photographed by vacationers and often chosen as a backdrop for wedding photos, the Pont des Amours (Lovers’ Bridge) is a must-visit for those exploring Annecy.
Facing the boats anchored along the Canal du Vassé on the shores of the Vassé Canal, sheltered by the surrounding century-old trees, this bridge is indeed a symbol of Annecy.
Spanning the Canal du Vassé and connecting the Gardens of Europe to the esplanade of Pâquier, this metal footbridge allows pedestrians to reach Jacquet Promenade and Quai Jules Philippe without getting their feet wet or taking a lengthy detour. From the bridge, one can enjoy a 180-degree view of the lake and the nearby Swan Island.
Saint-François de Sales Church
Sainte-Claire and the "Maison Gallo"
The main thoroughfare of Old Annecy shelters numerous shops under its arcades. At number 18, the hotel (16th century) of President Favre was the first headquarters of the Flori-Montane Academy, then the episcopal residence of Saint François de Sales from 1610. At the corner of Rue de la République appears “La Manufacture,” a collection of contemporary buildings.
Thanks to the creation of Place Sainte-Claire in the 20th century, the Gallo house, named after its owner and designer, the architect Charles Gallo, has been particularly highlighted. It imparts a Turin-inspired atmosphere to this part of the city.
In 1794, Charles Gallo, a member of the Architects’ Corps of the Kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia and established in Annecy, renovated and expanded his house with the intention of giving it a “modern touch.”
St Pierre Cathedral
A somewhat hidden historical monument, the Saint-Pierre Cathedral is a structure erected in the 16th century in Old Annecy, somewhat overshadowed by the nearby Perrière Bridge and the old prisons located just opposite.
Constructed for the Franciscans under the guidance of Jacques Rossel in a distinctly “Renaissance” style, the chapel had among its early bishops Saint François de Sales. At that time, the site was divided between two confessions: Calvinists and Catholics.