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Annecy

Haute Savoie / France

Annecy Quick Facts

Location

30 minutes from Geneva Airport

Altitude

400m

When to visit

Year round

Sports

Sailing, Cycling, Paddle boarding, Water skiing..

Culture

Historic old town, theatres, galleries...

Other activities

Shopping, swimming

Discover our apartments in Annecy

Fantastic restaurants and a city engulfed in rich history are ready for you to explore

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.

Annecy le Vieux sits next to the historic city and dates back to Roman times when it was an important settlement. From the 12th century Annecy itself was the court of the Counts of Geneva, before it passed to the Counts of Savoy in 1401 and soon became the capital of the Savoy region. It was also a major centre of the Counter Reformation in the 16th Century. Economically, the city grew with silk manufacturing in the 19th century, and since then has become an important tourist destination, attracting many thousands of visitors each year.

 

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Cultural Sites

With a rich and varied history, Annecy offers a wealth of cultural and historical sites to explore and enjoy.

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 her 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.

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Entertainment

Theatre, cinema, art and film festivals, Annecy is alive with plenty to inspire and entertain you.

The Bonlieu Theatre is the largest theatre in Annecy and throughout the year hosts a wide range of performances, from concerts and plays to one man shows and foreign films. The main cinema in Annecy is the Gaumont Pathe, by the Courier shopping centre, and here you can view all of the latest releases, and events such as opera broadcast live from New York, or ballet from Moscow. For English language films try the smaller cinema, Le 4 Nemours, in the old town. You’ll also find a number of art galleries to browse, and at various times through the year you can enjoy festivals such as the Annecy International Animated Film Festival or the Italian Cinema festival.

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A Wealth of Activities

Set on Lake Annecy, you’ll quickly discover that this city loves sport and action. Head for a dip in the lake, try paragliding, hire a bike or go skiing in winter - there’s something for everyone.

Perhaps more than any other city in Europe, Annecy is one for getting out and doing things. Great weather, stunning scenery and an incredible choice of activities makes it easy to enjoy something you love or to give something new a try. Bike hire is readily available and you can choose to cycle around the lake or head into the mountains and try some of the world-famous climbs that surround the city. Paragliding is hugely popular and you’ll regularly see paragliders soaring over the lake. Learn to sail with a qualified instructor, try water skiing, paddle boarding, wake surfing or wakeboarding, or even go diving in this wonderfully clean lake. In winter of course you can head to the mountains and enjoy some skiing or snowboarding - it’s around 30 minutes to the Lake Annecy ski resorts of La Clusaz, Le Grand Bornand and Manigod, or 20 minutes to the smaller resort of Semnoz.

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Just Relax...

There’s so much to explore in Annecy, so make sure you enjoy some time out and relax in this stunning city.

Come to Annecy for a short break, a week or more, and you’ll be spoilt for choice. Set right on the shores of Lake Annecy it’s easy to wander down to the beach and enjoy a swim or curl up with a book with a view of the lake. Alternatively, a wander around the old town is a delight, with beautiful buildings everywhere you look, the tranquillity of the waterways and wonderful restaurants and cafes to try. There is also a choice of spas if you fancy a facial or body treatment, plus cinemas, theatre and more.

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Restaurants & Nightlife

Annecy boasts some wonderful dining experiences and something for all budgets, from charming creperies, to Michelin starred restaurants you’ll be spoiled for choice!

Renowned for its restaurants, it can be difficult to choose where to eat in this city. Try the two-Michelin starred Le Clos des Sens in Annecy le Vieux for a special night out, or ContreSens on rue de la Poste is a wonderful, more affordable alternative. For a taste of Asia try Crea Bistro in Annecy old town or Feuille de Lotus, which offers delicious fresh tasting Thai dishes. Annecy isn’t that far from Italy and as a result there are some fabulous Italian restaurants - try Little Italy or Le Sapaudia, or for a tour of European gastronomy try Brasserie des Europeens, which offers everything from Eton Mess to Tartiflette Savoyard.

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Shopping

If you come to Annecy you’ll love exploring the shops! From modern shopping centres to boutique stores nestled around the old town, there is plenty to discover.

The centre of the old town is a maze of narrow streets, all of which hide an array of wonderful boutique shops selling everything from shoes and clothes to jewellery, chocolates, toiletries, books, children’s toys, fresh produce and much more. The main shopping street - Rue de Carnot - has the Courrier shopping centre at one end and here you’ll find a range of well known brands. A little further out of the centre you’ll find Galleries Lafayette, where you can find a great choice of big fashion names under one roof, or head to Epagny for an out of town choice of shops covering everything from children’s shoes and toys to homewares.

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Weather

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So much to do..

Get inspired with some of our top tips of what to do and see in the Alps… check out our what's on guide or our guide to lake Annecy beaches

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