Written by Tolik on 12 Dec, 2006
Between the old town and the Annecy lakeshore lies a beautiful green area. Canal du Vassé divides it into two distinct parts. On your left is huge open green space called Champ de Mars (also called Pâquier). It is not warlike at all – children…Read More
Between the old town and the Annecy lakeshore lies a beautiful green area. Canal du Vassé divides it into two distinct parts. On your left is huge open green space called Champ de Mars (also called Pâquier). It is not warlike at all – children are playing, adults having picnics with wine (no brown bags) and all kind of dogs jumping around their masters. In the beginning of the area, near quay Eustache Chappuis stands colorful marry-go-round (this year celebrating its 100 years anniversary). You can hear its music playing from the distance - it is real fun for the children of all ages. Farther along promenade Jules Philippe you will find a shady area where locals play the balls (Jeu de Boules) – feel free to join if you know how to play. From the promenade you can watch numerous swans gliding through the Canal du Vassé water.To the right of the canal, on the edge of the lake lies tree-shady Jardins de l’Europe – place not to be missed while visiting Annecy. Several bridges link the picturesque garden with neighboring areas. The Pont des Amours (Lovers' Bridge), a beautiful example of the beginning of the 20th century iron architecture, links the gardens with the Champ de Mars. The bridge and the canal provide inspiration for many artists who love to come and set up their easels here and paint. It is hard to believe that it is the former place of barracks and old prison. Original project was developed in 1859 by Henri Porreaux. The place eventually was transformed into the garden in 1863, after annexation of Savoy in 1860 – Annecy, new capital of the region put a lot of efforts to make the area beautiful. Spend some time walking along the lakeshore promenade, explore beautiful gardens or simply find a small romantic corner (like the island with the Swans), then sit on a bench resting in the peace and quiet in the shade of the ancient trees and watching the world go by. Then walk again, this time along Quay Napoleon III enjoying the view of the port, the Castle, and the Annecy Lake. The mountains above the lake, the sun, the music – it will stay in your memory forever. Close
Written by Tolik on 11 Dec, 2006
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…Read More
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. Close
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…Read More
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.
The city of Annecy is one of the most beautiful in Europe. Year around there it is a great place to visit enjoying famous French hospitality. Market day is France countryside answer to the mall; usually it comes once a week, different days in different…Read More
The city of Annecy is one of the most beautiful in Europe. Year around there it is a great place to visit enjoying famous French hospitality. Market day is France countryside answer to the mall; usually it comes once a week, different days in different areas, and is more than buying and selling - it is a happening, a social event, a visual feast. Beautifully laid tables of cheeses, fruits, vegetables, spices, breads, honeys, stalls of meats and fish, not to mention clothes, fabrics, hardware, wine - you got the idea. In Annecy they have three market days – on Tuesday, Friday, and Sunday. A pleasant way of getting a feel of the old French town is to go for a walk through the colorful market which is held mainly between the Porte Sainte-Claire and Rue du Pont-Morens. In the morning area around Rue Sainte-Claire in Old Town is filled with booths of vendors selling fresh fish, vegetables, and flowers. Here you'll see the best local produce direct from the high mountain pastures: locally produced sausages, tasty pork meats, great cheeses, and pyramids of pots of honey. There is another interesting market in the heart of the old town, running parallel to the Thiou River. It runs last Saturday of every month, 8am to 5pm and features antiques (size: 150-200 stalls). The traditional Old Town festival takes place in July. The most important annual event is Fête du Lac (the Lakes Festival) – on the first weekend of August. It attracts people from far and wide with attractions around the lake and great fireworks. Can you imagine the fireworks above the majestic lake with beautiful mountains on the background? The colorful celebration dates back to 1860 after Napoleon III helped liberate Italy from Austria and the Italians rewarded the French by giving them the province of Savoy. Annecy hosts two annual film festivals. First one, the International Animated Film Festival of Annecy (Festival du film d'animation du Annecy) was created in 1960 and takes place at the beginning of June. Initially occurring every two years, the festival became annual in 1998.
The Annecy Italian Film Festival or "Festival du film italien d'Annecy" takes place in October (Annecy is 50 miles away from the Italian border).
Third film festival runs here every other year - Spanish Film Festival at the end of March (why would they have it here remains mystery for me).
Annecy has one of the most ancient human settlements in the Northern Alps, with its history as a coastal village dating back to 3,100 BC. Traces of the dwellings of the Gallo-Roman tribe called Boutae have been found nearby Annecy (50 B.C.). The approximately 2,000…Read More
Annecy has one of the most ancient human settlements in the Northern Alps, with its history as a coastal village dating back to 3,100 BC. Traces of the dwellings of the Gallo-Roman tribe called Boutae have been found nearby Annecy (50 B.C.). The approximately 2,000 inhabitants of this period are credited with forming a triangular settlement, which emphasized the importance of the roads entering the junction of town. Points led to Faverges (Casuaria), Aix-les-Bains (Aquae) and Geneva. The Roman Emperor Anicius Olybrius built himself a villa on the lake called Anneciacum hence the town’s name. Some time after the dispersion of the Boutae population, a medieval town developed on the banks of the Thiou. The fortifications of the town later became a castle, Annecy-le-Neuf, in 1107. The town saw a rapid expansion in the 10th century, when it became the capital of the county of Geneva, and residence of the Count of Geneva who was driven out of his original capital following conflicts with his bishops. The town castle was the royal residence until the Geneva family line came to an end in 1394, following the death Robert of Geneva, the antipope of Avignon known under the name of Clément VII. As a result, Annecy became integrated into the House of Savoie in 1401 under the authority of Amadeus VII, the first Duke of Savoie. The former Genevan capital endured a series of severe fires that destroyed the greatest part of the city in 1412 and again in 1448. Amadeus VII is credited with reconstructing the city. In 1444, it was set up by the Princes of Savoie as the capital of a region covering the possessions of the Genevois, Faucigny and Beaufortain. With the advance of Calvinism in 1535, it became a center for the Counter-Reformation. The Reformation drove out the Bishop of Geneva from its town and the bishop's see of Geneva was transferred here. It suppressed in 1801, though restored in 1822. Annecy soon became known as the ‘Rome of the Alps’. It was during this time that some of the city’s most appealing monuments were constructed such Saint Peter’s Cathedral and the Notre-Dame de Liesse church tower. St. Francis of Sales was born at the castle of Sales, close by, in 1567. He was bishop of Annecy from 1602 to 1622. In 1728, 16-year-old Jean-Jacques Rousseau took refuge in the city. In the courtyard of the bishop's palace, a bust commemorates the place where Jean-Jacques Rousseau met Madame de Warens.During the French Revolution, the Savoy region was conquered by France and Annecy became attached to the département of Mont Blanc. It opened the region to industrial redevelopment and stimulated economic growth. Factories were set up, powered by the hydraulic force of the Thiou River. After the Bourbon Restoration in 1815, Annecy was returned to the House of Savoy. When Savoy was annexed by France in 1860, Annecy became the capital of the new département of Haute-Savoie. The Thiou River played a key economic role as early as the Middle Ages, thanks to its regular rate of flow that supplied the required hydraulic energy for the development of the craft industry in the region. In 1870, when he was the Highway Department engineer, Sadi Carnot completed a system of gates to regulate the flow of the Thiou, raise the level of the lake, and thus facilitate the navigation of the merchant ships so vital to the economy of the city. In 1887, Sadi Carnot became President of the French Republic! Close