Annecy Stories and Tips

Annecy Walking Tour Part 1

Saint-Francois Church Photo, Annecy, France

Let’s assume that you have only a few hours to explore Annecy. Chances are that you arrived from a mountain resort (or just heading there and made a stop in Annecy). Fortunately for the visitors, the train station is only 10 minutes walk from historic center.

Old Annecy is nestled at the foot of the castle and is conserved almost intact with its fortified gates, winding streets, and flowery quays. Take rue de la Gare (or rue de la Poste Poste) and walk southwards passing the Stalingrad public garden; in a few minutes you will reach rue Royale, on of the main streets in the area. The rue Royale, with its numerous shops, gardens and the fountain of Saint Jean, is the heart of the commercial and political activities of the town. The street goes to the lakeshore but it is not our destination yet. Cross rue Royale and turn into rue de la Republique leading into Vieil Annecy. The Old Town is beautiful - numerous canals, bridges, cafes, and old stone buildings all contribute to a romantic atmosphere. Rue Republique crosses the Thiou River and ends here bringing you to rue Sainte-Claire – the main street of the old town whose existence dates back to the very origins Annecy. Above your head you see the mighty towers and walls of the Château d'Annecy. To visit the castle, turn right and walk up to the Place du Château, where you will find the entrance to the Château.

After exploring the castle, turn right and go down Chemin de la Tour de la Reine. It brings you back to rue Sainte-Claire. In the end of the street you see picturesque street gate. This gate, whose name recalls the memory of the old Clarisses convent built nearby, has remained intact: its worn hinges, its machicolations, its bell-turret are witnesses to the important role of this town entrance which opens in the direction of Aix-les-Bains and Chambéry. Now turn left on a winding cobbled street leading towards the river and you will find Palais de L'Isle – the landmark of Annecy.

From the bridge you will also see the Saint-Francois Church, one of the most beautiful churches in Annecy. The church was constructed in the 16th century as the chapel of the first Visitation monastery called "The Holy Source. It has had a brilliant past due to the splendor of the beatification and canonization of local bishop Saint-François-de-Sales and Saint-Jeanne-de-Chantal whose tombs it enclosed. During the Middle Ages, the Saint-Francois Church was richly endowed by many princes in Europe who made it a place of Pilgrimage. At the time of the Revolution it was partially demolished, then it was restored and opened for worship once more in 1923, and finally it was acquired by the town in 1968.

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