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Annecy City: French Venice in the Alps

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Annecy City: French Venice in the Alps

The border town of Annecy in the French Savoy has retained its historic center and the romantic look of an old medieval town. There is a lot of water in the city: Lake Annecy, the Fier River, the channel that connects them - Tew. And besides them, there are canals that connect the streets, so Annecy is often compared to Venice.

The most convenient way to get here is from Switzerland, from Geneva: less than 50 km from it, buses run regularly. Not only lovers of medieval surroundings flock to Annecy: conditions are created here for such types of recreation as gastro-tourism, extreme sports, water sports and walking, hiking and cycling routes.

Paradise for lovers of antiquity: castles, cathedrals, towers

Once the inhabitants of the city moved around Annecy by boats, the doors of ancient houses look towards the canals. 2-3-storey houses of gentle pastel colors, paving stones on the street, stone bridges over the canals, many colors - the charm of old cozy Europe. Ancient architecture and stunning natural sites make the city an attractive tourist destination.

In the center of one of the canals there is a medieval building - the Palace on the Island ( Le Palais de I'lle). The island is not visible - it is exactly the building of the palace itself, which resembles a ship in outline. The palace was built at the beginning of the 12th century, over the centuries it changed owners (always the most noble citizens), since the 17th century it was used as an administrative building: a prison, a court, and city services were located here.

In the Middle Ages, the city of Annecy was part of the County of Geneva, therefore, on a hill above the city, the residence of the Geneva counts, the Castle of Annecy (XII-XVI centuries), rises. In the 15th century, the Geneva counts were replaced by the Savoy ones: now it is a local history museum, where antique furniture of local craftsmen, tools, and household items are exhibited.

Annecy castle and Palais de l’Isle are the oldest in the city, besides them there are 5 more castles in the city and its surroundings. The splendor of the city is added by ancient monasteries and churches, which have preserved ancient paintings and stained glass windows.

The 12th century St. Maurice Church is located on the canal embankment - here you can see an old altar and chairs for parishioners made by local craftsmen of the 18th century. Church of Notre-Dame de Liesse and Cathedral of St. Petra were built in the 16th century, retaining the architecture and interior decoration.

Eternal holiday: a city of cartoons, blues and fireworks

Annecy is a city of festivals, it hosts:

  • Animated Film Festival
  • Farmer's Festival
  • Lake festival
  • Blues festival
  • Alpine harvest festival.

In 1960, Annecy became the headquarters of the International Association for Animated Films. Since that time, the festival of animated films has been held here, which has been annual since the beginning of the 21st century. In June, animation lovers gather in Annecy, and they are as numerous as movie lovers in Cannes.

The Farmers' Festival is held here in spring. In addition to colorful fairs with local products (there are more than 10 cheese dairies in the vicinity of Annecy), tourists will find concerts, entertainment events for children and adults, excursions to nearby farms and wineries, walks in flowering gardens.

The Blues Festival takes place at night, creating a mysterious and romantic setting in the city. In August, Lake Annecy meets its annual festival: light and fire shows, fireworks and performances by artists argue who is more spectacular. The Lake Festival gathers over 100,000 spectators.

Lovers of folklore festivals come to Annecy in October: the Alpine Harvest Festival shows the traditional art of the area.

Opportunities to admire nature passively and actively: walking and sports

The nature around Annecy is no less magnificent than the ancient architecture of the city. The lake is considered the cleanest in Europe - it is a great place to relax in the summer. The beaches are equipped with everything you need, you can rent equipment for any type of surfing, go water skiing. Until late autumn, tourists are driven by boats, and a pleasure ferry runs. There are hiking and cycling paths along the lake.

The Fier River flows along the bottom of a picturesque canyon. You can climb and admire the canyon from a 25-meter height and walk along the bridges over the canyon. On Mount Aiguille Dumidi, a transparent observation deck was built above the abyss at an altitude of 3800 m - it is called "Step into the void".

Around Annecy there are 4 mountain peaks with snow caps, which attract climbers, mountain tourists, simply lovers of mountain walks and views. Fans of extreme sports also come here.

Swiss-French cuisine: cheeses, pastries and chocolate

Since Annecy is located on the very border with Switzerland, culinary traditions combine French with Swiss cuisine: tourists will be offered both onion soup and fondue. Both are considered traditional local cuisine. Bakeries and restaurants offer a huge range of local pastries and all kinds of chocolate products.

* Old French city

Current material has been prepared by Egor Eremeev
Education: Kuban State University, Russia (World Economics); Westminster University (Business & Management), London.
Egor studied and lived in the UK for 8 years and graduated from the university of Westminster. He is currently the co-founder and the director of business development at Smapse Education and personally visits foreign schools and universities, interviews students studying in those institutions.
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