A Traveller's Guide to Annecy
The Romantic Medieval Town of Annecy
Located on the northern shore of Lake Annecy in south-eastern France, Annecy is often referred to as the 'Venice of Savoie" because of the many canals and small streams running from the lake which crisscross the town. The majestic alps provide a stunning backdrop to the picturesque medieval town which was built during the 14th century around the castle.
Getting to and Around Annecy
Air France operates daily flights to Annecy's small airport which is situated just north of the city in Meythet. However, if you wish to fly it is much easier to fly into Geneva International Airport and travel across the Swiss border into Annecy, with the journey from the airport taking just over half an hour by car along the new motorway. Alternatively, fly into Lyon or Grenoble and take the one hour drive or bus trip to Annecy from there.
Bus services are available from Annecy to other major areas in the region including Menthon, Talloires, La Clusaz, Le Grand Bornand, Lyon, Thonon, Nice and Geneva. The regional train service also offers connections to Aix les Bains, Chambéry, St Gervais, Lyon and Paris.
Once in Annecy itself, local buses run from 6am to 8pm daily with timetable and route information available at Espace SIBRA (www.sibra.fr). The small town is easy to get around by walking or by bike. Bikes and roller blades are available for hire from Velonecy, Roul'ma Poule and Station Roller. If you are on a bike or blades, be aware that there are many stone-paved streets in the old town, so perhaps stick to the well-maintained paths around the lake or in the mountains.
Things to see and do in Annecy
Annecy is a great location to enjoy a variety activities. The stunning azure-coloured lake is a beautiful place to swim, row or sail during the warmer months. There are a variety of hiking trails around the city as well as up in the mountains. The mountains and lakeside are also great places for cycling. Also, around 20km from town, the Col de la Forclaz is a popular area for hang-gliders.
If you prefer to stay within town, there are many sights for you to enjoy including:
- The old prison Palais de l'Isle, built on an island in a canal.
- Château d'Annecy, which now houses the Art and History Conservatory of Annecy.
- The 16th century Franciscan friary the Cathedral of Saint-Pierre.
- The romantic arches dating back to the 17th and 18th centuries on the Rue Sainte-Claire.
- The Lover's Bridge, Pont des Amours.
- The shops, gardens and fountain in the heart of town on the Rue Royal.