Annecy is a commune in the Haute- Savoie department in the Rhone-Alpes region in south-eastern France.
It lies on the northern tip of Lake Annecy, 35 kilometres (22 miles) south of Geneva.
Palais de l'Isle is a castle in the centre of the Thiou canal, built in 1132. It was the primary residence of the Lord of Annecy as early as the 12th century, and later became the Count of Geneva's administrative headquarters, then alternately a courthouse, a mint, and finally a jail from the Middle Ages until 1865 and then again during World War II. The Palais de l'Ile was classified as a Historical Monument in 1900, and today houses a local history museum.
Other sights in Annecy include:
The Chateau d'Annecy (Annecy Castle) was the home of the Counts of Geneva and the Dukes of Genevois-Nemours an offshoot of the House of Savoie (12th–16th century). Today, the restored castle houses the Art and History Conservatory of Annecy and the Regional Office of the Alpine Lakes.
The Cathedral of Saint-Pierre built in the early 16th century as a Franciscan friary, was the cathedral of Francis de Sales and is home to a number of baroque pieces from the 16th century.
The rue Sainte-Claire and its romantic arches date from the 17th and 18th centuries.
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 money workshop of the Genevois now houses the Musee de l'Histoire d'Annecy
The Church of Saint-Maurice, originally constructed as a church of the Dominican order, has a flamboyant gothic style of the 15th century, and houses some very memorial interesting paintings from the 15th and 16th centuries.
The European Gardens, made just after the annexing of Savoie in 1863, where one can admire the very rich and diverse vegetation.
The Pont des Amours (Lovers' Bridge), a beautiful example of the iron architecture typical of the 20th century.
The Imperial Palace, inaugurated in 1913, with its public gardens, its beach and its casino.
The Basilique de la Visitation, built in the 20th century, home of the tomb of Francois de Sales and Jeanne de Chantal, offers a magnificent view of the town and the agglomeration.
The Thiou Canal is the river crossing Annecy that exudes such charm, it brings Venice to mind as you stroll along its banks. This river actually 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 !
The Cleanest Lake in Europe !
The lake of Annecy, framed by mountains, formed over 18,000 years ago, covers 10.5 square miles, with an average depth of 135 ft. Today, it is one of the cleanest lakes in the world and home to a wide range of wildlife which never ceases to delight the amateur fishermen. In the past, all the dirty water from the surrounding cities was dumped into it, and the extremely high level of pollution became a significant threat to the health of the inhabitants. In 1962, backed by a huge investment of labor and capital, the first efforts to clean the water and dispose of the waste got underway. Other obstacles appeared, beyond the technical difficulty of such an enterprise. A few companies and hotels around the lake did not want to pay their share of the cost to develop a new sewer system, and so divers were sent underwater to plug all the raw sewerage outlets from these uncooperative businesses into the lake. Once disconnected from any sewer system, they had no choice but to abide by the new regulations and let the necessary work begin at once. Today, the lake receives only rain and spring water, and the inhabitants of Annecy are happy to drink it (after a simple anti-bacteriological treatment). The purification of the lake and the protection of it against any type of pollution have been a remarkable success, and are cited as examples all over the world. It has even become a very popular diving site. If you are lucky enough to be in Annecy the first weekend of August, you will be able to attend the gorgeous fireworks display organized every year to celebrate the lake.
Lake Annecy from Herves