Annecy is one of France’s most beautiful cities, set on the shores of Lake Annecy – reported to be the cleanest lake in Europe – it is known as the ‘Venice of the Alps’. Annecy boasts a truly beautiful old town, where you’ll find ancient buildings lining the canals and River Thiou. With fabulous restaurants and shopping, historic sites, beaches, watersports and just 30 minutes from world-class ski resorts, this city is definitely one to discover. Here are our Top 5 ideas for a day in Annecy.
A stroll in the Old Town
Wander through the old town of Annecy and you’ll be lost in history, with exquisite buildings and charming waterways everywhere you look. From the 12th century, the Palais de l’Isle was the residence of the lords of Annecy. Set on an island in the old town, the Palais became a prison and today it is a museum and houses the Centre for Interpretation of Architecture and Heritage.
The Chateau d’Annecy was constructed over four centuries (from the 12th to 16th centuries) and the counts of Geneva resided there from the 13th century. Also worth a visit is the Visitation Basilica, founded by Francois de Sales and Jeanne de Chantal in 1610, and the Old Town Hall with its 18th-century facade and exquisite wrought-iron work. With much of the old town now pedestrianised, Annecy is a delight to explore.
Though it might not be the first thing you think of on your winter holiday, a cycle around Annecy old town and Lake Annecy on a sunny winters day is simply stunning. With beautiful white-capped mountains and quiet roads, it is a magical time to explore the villages around the lake. Read more about the route on our cycling in Annecy page.
Visit a castle
The Chateau in Annecy is worth a visit for the museum as well as great views across the lake and the rooftops, galleries and exhibitions. Other castles are available – try Duingt and Montrottier. Check out the websites to find out what is on.
Discover our properties near Annecy
Festive lights, ice-skating, concerts, cribs and exhibitions. The Christmas market in Annecy opposite the Mairie is a good place to pick up local produce and handmade goods and sound and light show projected onto the Mairie – lovely atmosphere, great hot wine, festive snacks and street food.
If you like looking around a market, you’ve come to the right place. There are food markets in the cobbled streets of Annecy old town on Tuesday, Friday and Sunday mornings, as well as a monthly antiques market, which is great for picking up a bargain or just browsing. Other nearby towns and villages have their own markets – check them out here.
Make your escape
On a rainy day, head for one of Annecy’s Escape Rooms – get yourself locked in a themed room with your friends and family, and puzzle your way out in the allotted time. It’s a great way to spend an hour or two. Prices vary according to the room, which can accommodate up to eight players, and if you want to play in English, please stipulate this when you book.