Annecy Castle or the Château d’Annecy
Annecy Castle overlooks the charming and historic town of Annecy in the Haute-Savoie region of the French Alps. It should really be called the Château d’Annecy but whatever name you give this impressive building, it is a landmark of Annecy and an important tourist attraction.
Annecy Castle (Photo: Chris Winters)
Originally built between the 12th and 16th centuries, Annecy Castle was once the place of residence of the Counts of Geneva and the Dukes of Genevois-Nemours. After a number of fires, the building became abandoned, although it was later repaired and converted into a barracks which it remained as until 1947.
The town of Annecy bought the castle in 1953 and transformed the old building into a museum. It has been used as a museum ever since. Annecy Castle has been recognised as a historic monument by the French Ministry of Culture.
Art displays in Annecy Castle (Photo: Guilhem Vellut)
The museum has a collection of paintings, sculpture, photographs and antique furniture. There is also an observatory known as “l‘Observatoire régional des lacs alpins”, which has displays and exhibitions as well, including aquariums with freshwater fish from the Alpine lakes like Lake Annecy.
In an Annecy Castle aquarium (Photo: Guilhem Vellut)
The Queen’s Tower
The Queen’s Tower (“Tour de la Reine”) is the oldest part of Annecy Castle and dates all the way back to the 12th century. The walls of this tower are as much as 4 metres in thickness. Today the Queen’s Tower houses the observatory but part of this observatory is also in a section known as the Logis Perrière, which dates back to the 15th century.
As already noted, the castle and its tower overlook Annecy, and from the terrace of Château d’Annecy there are some splendid views over the old part of the town.
Palais de l’Isle
Palais de L’Isle (Photo: Edwin Lee)
Another historic building that is a castle and a landmark of Annecy is the Palais de L’isle which stands impressively on a triangular islet in the middle of the Canal du Thioux running through the heart of Annecy. Incidentally, this canal is one of the reasons that Annecy has become nicknamed the Venice of the Alps.
Built in the 12th century too, the Palais de L’isle has been in its chequered history a place of residence for local nobility, a courthouse, a mint and a prison. Today, like Annecy Castle, it houses a museum with exhibitions about regional architecture and history. The Palais de L’isle is one of the main attractions of Annecy and the subject of countless photos.
Many tourists come to Annecy to spend their holidays there, and the castles of Annecy are on their lists of what to see in the town. Visitors to Annecy have a choice of hotels where they can stay and the town is an excellent place to learn French at our own French language school, Ifalpes.
Whether you like castles, historic buildings, lakes, or mountains, Annecy is sure to have some attractions to delight your senses.