Annecy Stories and Tips

Annecy Walking Tour Part 2

Pont des Amours  Photo, Annecy, France

From the Saint-Francois Church square, turn around and take rue Grenette which shortly becomes rue Jean-Jacques Rousseau. There are plenty of wonderful small French restaurants and ice cream shops everywhere. On your right is magnificent St Peter Cathedral. Its Renaissance influenced facade, surmounted by a beautiful rose window is far from evoking the chapel of the Franciscans for whom it was built in 1535. A few years later it became the alternative cathedral for the Bishop of Geneva who took refuge in Annecy with his chapter. The interior looks like a beautiful late Gothic vessel with 3 naves of 5 bays. The chancel is formed of a polygonal apse whose decoration dates from the 18th century: you will notice the Mazzola oil-painting representing Saint Peter's delivery and on the right a descent from the cross, attributed to the painter Carravaggio.

Cross the bridge (another lovely canal) and go to the tree-shaded Jean-Jacques Rousseau square. On the corner visitors can see a small basin cut out in an alcove, crowned by the philosophers bust. An inscription reminds us that on this place Jean-Jacques Rousseau met Madame de Warens on Easter Day, 1728. The philosopher devoted forty pages to Annecy in his "Confessions" writing about his stay here which was to be prolonged until 1730.

Turn right on rue Royal. Across the street you will find excellent Perfumery Store, a few restaurants, and a picturesque canal. Turn right again on rue Notre-Dame. In the middle of the square you will find an obelisk with lions, tortoises and fountains. Majestic Notre-Dame-de-Liesse dominates the square. This old collegiate church, founded in 1360 on the location of a modest oratory, mentioned from the 12th century onwards, had some hours of glory with its "Grand pardons" which attracted crowds of pilgrims every seven years. It had the distinguished honor of receiving and exposing in 1566 the "Holy Shroud", in which, according to tradition, Christ was wrapped at the time of his entombment (nowadays is conserved in Turin, Italy). Notre-Dame’s impressive Roman bell-tower, slightly leaning, was built in the 16th century. Partially demolished during the Revolution, the church was rebuilt in 1845, hence its neo-classical facade. Across the square from the church, visitors and local alike find useful Casino supermarket.

With your basket full of goodies, it's time to head for the lake's shores. From Notre-Dame, turn right on rue du Lac. Take a stroll around the shaded Jardin de l'Europe. Here you will find the Pont des Amours (Lovers' Bridge) - a beautiful example of the 20th century iron architecture. Cross the Lovers Bridge into the Champ de Mars, an esplanade popular with picnickers. You can swim, windsurf, sail in Annecy Lake, or hire a pedal boat for a gentler ride on the water. To get back to the train station, take rue Royale and turn right on rue de la Gare (15 - 20 minutes from the lake). And remember – Annecy will call you back.

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