Annecy vacation


Annecy: Venice of the Alps

Annecy streetsAnnecy is often called the "Venice of the Alps". The old buildings and cobbled streets are divided by crystal clear canals, connected by pretty small bridges and covered walkways. The combination of flowing water, little bridges and ancient architecture, all festooned in summer with flowers dipping right down to the water, makes for a beautiful environment. The streets in the old centre are bordered by a wide selection of small shops, cafes and restaurants under the cloistered walkways, with tables spilling out onto the cobbles.


Rue St ClaireDue to its geographical location at the foot of the Alps (between Lyon and Chamonix), the history of Annecy has been rather turbulent as it has suffered many invasions over the centuries. Through marriages, inheritances and sales over time, Annecy became the property of the Count of Geneva, and later that of the Count of Savoie. Annecy and the Savoie region then found themselves, in turn, under Sicilian, Sardinian, Spanish and Austrian rule. In 1860, to end Austrian domination, the King of Sardinia asked France for military aid and offered the Savoie region (as well as Nice) to Napoleon III in return. The Savoyards, enticed by the power of a government that could guarantee order, voted overwhelmingly for the unification of their region with the French Empire in April of the same year. Once French, Savoie was divided into Haute-Savoie and Savoie for administrative purposes, with Annecy and Chambery as their respective capitals. 2010 is the 150th anniversary of the reunification of Savoie into France and the stunning fireworks on the first Saturday in August will celebrate the date.

for the visitor

old centreToday Annecy still retains it's old cobbled centre and the famous Palais d'Isle, the distinctive 12th century monument. This was first the residence of the Lord of Annecy, and later became the Count of Geneva's administrative headquarters, then alternately a courthouse, the Mint, and finally a jail, from the Middle Ages until 1865 and once again during World War II. Today it houses a very popular local history museum. It is an icon of the town and is among the most photographed monuments in all of France.

Surrounding this area is the old centre with many shops, galleries and traditional restaurants in ancient buildings festooned with flowers in the summer. There is always plenty going on and there is a market all through the year in the centre in Rue St Claire selling local produce and crafts, three times a week on Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays, as well as an Antiques and Art market every last Saturday of the month, all day long in the old town on Vicenza quay. Only professionals can sell here.

The old centre gradually blends to the north into the main shopping area with many well known names and local stores bordering the cobbled streets. Just a few minutes walk up towards the ststion is the ultra modern Courier Centre with an indoors shopping area, cinema and restaurants.

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