Annecy – Venice at the Foot of the Alps

    At the foot of Mount Aravis, just 150 km from Lyon, lies one of the most picturesque tourist attractions in France, the town of Annecy. Located on the shores of Lake Annecy, and traversed by numerous canals, this charming place has often been compared to the much more famous city of Venice. And though it might seem like an exaggeration, the two settlements have quite a lot in common.

    Photo by edwin.11

    The first thing that impresses most tourists, on their arrival to Annecy, is the cleanliness. The streets and sidewalks look like they’ve just been scrubbed with soap, and practically all hotels in Annecy are considered among the tidiest in the world. Colorful flowers caress your eyes everywhere you look, and the locals are always nice enough to point you in the right direction.

    Photo by edwin.11

    Annecy is connected to both Lyon and Paris, through the rail network, so the easiest way to get here is by train, but there’s also the bus and car rental. As you exit the train station, the first thing that comes into your mind is ‘this must be the wrong Annecy’. That’s because every postcard and photo on the internet pictures the old Annecy, and few people know a new, modern town has expanded around it. But after just a few minutes’ walk, you’ll find yourself in the center of old town, at a nice bistro, along the main water canal, enjoying a refreshing drink and admiring the beautiful architecture.

    Photo by sedoglia

    That’s actually one of the favorite activities in Annecy, strolling through the old, stone-paved alleys and taking in the beauty of traditional Savoyard design that the locals managed to preserve in almost perfect condition. The most amazing structure in Annecy appears on most postcards, and can be admired in the center of old town. Built in the 12th century, Palais de l’Isle is a medieval structure surrounded by water that acted as the town’s prison.

    Photo by sedoglia

    Following the main water channel, you’ll reach another focal point of Annecy, the lake that shares its name. The second largest lake in France, after Lac du Bourget, Annecy stretches 14.6 km in length and varies between 0.8 and 3.2 km in width. A truly breathtaking sight, this body of water is famous for the marathon held along its shores. Over 1,500 participants gather here, every year, for the grueling challenge. One of the best ways to admire the natural beauty of Annecy Lake, and its surroundings, is by going on a short cruise.

    Photo by Giulio GMDB

    And if sightseeing just isn’t enough, there’s always something interesting going on in Annecy. The Venetian Carnival takes place every year, at the beginning of March, and the Animated Film Festival brings together fans of the genre, in June. There are also jazz, classical music and theater festivals that earn Annecy the title of Alpine Venice.

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    2 comments on “Annecy – Venice at the Foot of the Alps”

    1. […] Annecy – Venice at the Foot of the Alps […]

    2. Lisa Shah says on August 20, 2010 at 12:05 am:

      RT @hotelclub: Annecy – Venice at the Foot of the Alps http://bit.ly/bWBMa6

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