Annecy is a charming and peaceful tourist destination in the Haute-Savoie region of the French Alps, and one of its main visual attractions is the building known as the Palais de L’isle.
The Palais de L’isle, which is more correctly written as the Palais de l’Île, is a turreted castle that you simply cannot miss because it stands on a triangular islet in the middle of a canal running right through the heart of Annecy. Dating back to the 12th century, it is one of the main landmarks and most photographed sights in the town, and, indeed, in France. The Palais de L’isle looks a lot like the prow of a ship making its way down the Canal du Thiou. As a matter of interest, the canals have earned Annecy the nickname of “Venice of the Alps,” and add to the visual appeal of the town.
At night, the lights of the Palais de L’Isle and those of the streets on the edge of the canal, are reflected on the waters, and by day the reflection of its walls and turrets can be mirrored by the sunlight. It is like a castle from a fairy-tale and brings Annecy’s medieval past into the present day.
The Palais de L’isle has a most fascinating history too, because it has been the home of local nobility, a courthouse, a mint and a prison. Originally built in 1132, as the home of the Lord of Annecy, in 1900 it was recognised as a historical monument, and today it is a museum with exhibits of the architecture and history of the region.
Annecy has many other tourist attractions besides the Palais de L’isle, and, in fact, the town has another castle. Annecy Castle or the Château d’Annecy, as it is written in French, also dates back to the 12th century, and like the Palais de L’isle, was once the home of the local nobility, who were known as the Counts of Geneva. Castle Annecy stands proudly overlooking the old part of Annecy town, and also like the Palais de L’isle, today it houses a museum.
The town of Annecy officially became the owners of the Castle in 1953 when it was bought. Again, like the Palais de L’isle, Castle Annecy has been listed as a historical monument by the French Ministry of Culture. Today, this castle gets visited by countless tourists and is the subject of very many photographs.
Annecy is a great place not only for sightseeing, but to learn French. The town has its own Ifalpes French Language School, and where better could there be to learn the language than in France?
Annecy also has a range of hotels where you could find accommodation for your visit to this most picturesque town in the French Alps.