Annecy: The Heart Of French Culture
Annecy is located in the Haute-Savoie department in the Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes region in southeastern France. Blessed with natural beauty, history and activities, this town has plenty to offer the World Traveler. As with most French towns, Annecy has plenty of historical locales, boutiques and a wonderful old town with lovely canals that meander throughout the area. This is one of those picture perfect towns, and on a sunny day visitors can delight in the wonderful opportunities for pictures and videos. The old town is a major draw with plenty of restaurants, bars and ice cream shops. A tourist paradise, treasures can be found in boutiques of all kinds. Local arts and crafts, area delicacies, wine and so many other things, ideal for gifts and for your home. On a lucky day, the local farmers will be out selling their fresh fruit and vegetables at the weekly markets!
The old-town is a good place to become lost, but the town is small enough to find your bearings! Aside from walking through the narrow streets of the old town, history buffs can enjoy a couple of castles. The Palais de I’lsle is an old castle that has alternately been used as a courthouse and a mint, and was classified as a historical monument in 1900. Today the castle houses a local history museum. There is also Château d’Annecy (Annecy Castle), which was the home of the Counts of Geneva and the Dukes of Genevois-Nemours, and, in 1953, the town restored it with the help of Monuments historiques and installed another museum within it.
Annecy is also known as the “Venice of the Alps”, based on the two canals and the Thiou river flowing through the old city. The waterways were initially used to protect the city and to empower its artisans to spread their wares. The city experienced an industrial development in the 19th century and some of its industrial legacy remains today with the head offices of Salomon, Entremont and Dassault Aviation located in the town. Other activities await visitors, as the town is located on the pristine waters of Lac Annecy, and has the Alps right behind the lake. As such, it is a magnet for outdoor enthusiasts who can enjoy water sports, boating and swimming, as well as mountain-based fun like skiing and hiking. There are also cruises along the waterways to see and learn about the magnificent castles and homes of the rich and famous who vacation in this wonderful town.
Annecy is also home to the Festival International du Film d’Animation d’Annecy (AIAFF). Taking place at the beginning of June, the festival became an annual event in 1998 and has been a popular draw ever since. Again, as in many French vacation locations, the food here is heavenly. So many choices await the hungry visitor, from exotic international restaurants to an overwhelming choice of typical French mountain cuisines that include the many local cheeses and the delicious local sausages.