Annecy is the largest city of Haute-Savoie department in the Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes region in southeastern France.
It lies on the northern tip of Lake Annecy, 35 kilometers (22 mi) south of Geneva. Nicknamed the “Pearl of French Alps” in Raoul Blanchard’s monograph describing its location between lake and mountains, the city controls the northern entrance to the lake gorge. Due to a lack of available building land between the lake and the protected Semnoz mountain, its population remained stagnant, around 50,000 inhabitants, since 1950. However, the 2017 city merge extended the city population to 124,401 inhabitants, and 203,078 for its urban area, 6th regional position below Annemasse, which counts 292,000 inhabitants in the northern department.
Switching from counts of Geneva’s dwelling in the 13th century, to counts of Savoy’s in the 14th century, the city became Savoy’s capital in 1434 during the Genevois-Nemours prerogative until 1659. Its role increased in 1536, during the Calvinist Reformation in Geneva, while the bishop took refuge in Annecy. Saint Francis de Sales gave Annecy its advanced Catholic citadel role known as Counter-Reformation. The annexation of Savoy merged the city to France in 1860. Sometimes called “Venice of the Alps”, this idyllic and touristic representation comes from the three canals and the Thiou river lying through the old city and whose initial role was to protect the city and to empower its handicrafts. The city experienced an industrial development in the 19th century with silk manufacturing. Some of its industrial legacy remains today with the headquarters of NTN-SNR bearings, Salomon, Entremont and Dassault Aviation.
Since the end of the 19th century, Annecy developed tourism around its lake summer facilities, winter resorts proximity and cultural attraction with its castle renovation and fine art museum opening in 1956 and the Animated Film Festival since 1960, hosted in Bonlieu’s cultural Center. The municipal environmental policy managed to keep 40.3% of green spaces and the city and was awarded the “Golden Flower” in 2015, given to the nine most-flowered French cities. Its educational area is growing since the University of Savoy establishment in 1973.
Access : Coordinates : 45.916, 6.133 / By bus : Annecy is a popular day trip from nearby Geneva, Switzerland. Buses leave from Geneva’s intercity bus station about 5 times/day on Sundays, more frequently on weekdays. A round-trip ticket costs 32 CHF and the trip takes about an hour/direction. Bus T72 operated by Transalis goes from Geneva Airport and Geneva city centre to Annecy with a journey time of 1hr 30 min. As of 2017, a one-way bus ticket costs €10.50 if you buy online or at a ticket office or €12.60 if you buy onboard.
By plane : At present, there are no scheduled flights to/from Annecy Airport. Geneva Airport (IATA: GVA) is the nearest major international airport and is well served from across Europe and beyond. With the new motorway, it is now just over 35mins away by car. Bus T72 operated by Transalis runs between Geneva Airport and Annecy with a journey time of 1hr 30 min. As of 2017, a one-way bus ticket costs €10.50 if you buy online or at a ticket office or €12.60 if you buy onboard.
A little further away is Lyon–Saint-Exupery Airport (IATA: LYS), which is also served by international flights. There is one daily TGV train service in each direction between Lyon airport (station name: Lyon-Saint Exupery TGV) and Annecy with a journey time of just under 2 hours. Alternatively, there is a bus service operated by OUIGO between Lyon airport and Annecy with a journey time of 1hr 45min, and also a more frequent (but more expensive) bus service operated by Transdev Haute-Savoie with a journey time of 2 hours.
Another alternative is Grenoble-Isere Airport (IATA: GNB), which is served by low-cost carriers and charter flights. There is a shuttle bus service between Grenoble-Isere Airport and Grenoble railway station operated by Actibus. From Grenoble railway station you can take the train to Annecy. By train : Direct train from Paris or Lyon. The railway station is situated in the city centre of Annecy
- Palais d’Isle. A former palace-turned-prison. As the name says, it is situated on an island between the canals.
- Saint Maurice Church.
- Annecy Castle ( Chateau d’Annecy ), 3, Place du chateau , 74000 Annecy, France .
Activities : Swim, row or sail on the lake
Hike on the mountains around the city
Bike around the lake, or up in the mountains if you are in good shape.
Hangliding above the lake from the Col de la Forclaz (~20km)
Shop the many boutiques lining the narrow stone-paved streets. A large, modern mall can also be found in the newer part of the city.
Films a theatre near the large mall showing multiple films for your enjoyment. Located at 7 Avenue de Brogny.
Events : Annecy
April: A cozy village festival is held, a great place to bring the family. Rides and vendors are abundent, along with the great french cuisine. The festival lines Lac Annecy and is very peaceful and beautiful.
June : One of the biggest animation festivals is held in Annecy (6 days)
July : Noctibules festival during the nights (4 days)
The first week-end of August is the Lake Festival (Fete du Lac) with attractions around the lake and a great fireworks. This event brings more than 100’000 spectators.
October : “Descente des Alpages” or “Return from Alpine Pastures”. Occurs once a year on the second Saturday of October. This is a traditional farmers’ festival with local music, food and entertainment. See pictures from this festival
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