Annecy is a very peaceful town in the Haute-Savoie region of the French Alps. It is a very popular tourist destination, and its historic buildings and old town are certainly part of its attractions.
Venice of the Alps
A big part of Annecy’s appeal is due to its canals, and these waterways that run right through the heart of the town have earned it the nickname of “Venice of the Alps”.
The canals and their bridges are part of the Thiou River which connects with Lake Annecy, and although there are no gondolas and gondoliers, the waterways and waterside restaurants and bars really add to the charm of the town. Pont Morens was the first stone bridge in Annecy. Today it offers some picturesque views of the houses along the Quai de L’Isle, as far as the next bridge, which is the Pont de la République. The lemon, mustard, pink and salmon paintwork of the houses along the canals helps to add to the Venetian atmosphere of Annecy.
Palais de L’isle
Right in the middle of the Canal du Thiou is one of Annecy’s main attractions. On a triangular islet is a turreted castle known as the Palais de L’Isle.
Built in the 12th century, this landmark building has a fascinating history, having been the residence of local nobility, a prison, a mint and a courthouse. The Palais de L’isle is listed as a historic monument and today it houses a museum.
The Palais de L’isle is one of the most photographed sights in Annecy and in the whole of France. And with good reason, because the building resembles the prow of a stone ship that appears to be making its way down the canal. By night, the lights of the Palais de L’Isle are reflected in the waters of the canal, and by day, the walls and towers are mirrored in the sunlit water.
Standing on a hil and overlooking the old town part of Annecy, is another impressive historic building that dates back to the 12th century. Annecy Castle, or the Château d’Annecy, to give it its French name, is another of the main attractions of the old town. Annecy Castle was originally the home of the Counts of Geneva but today it is a museum. This castle was bought by the town of Annecy in 1953 and, like the Palais de L’Isle, is officially listed as a historic monument.
Besides all the interesting sights of Annecy, the town is a wonderful place to learn and practice French at our French language school, and what better place to learn this language could there be than in France!
Annecy also offers a great choice of hotels as accommodation for visitors, who have come to discover the joys of this town in the French Alps.