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Learn about Refreshing and Breathtaking Annecy
Annecy is a picture postcard alpine town on the edge of Lake Annecy in South East France, surrounded by breathtaking mountain scenery. Famed for its magnificent views, pastel-coloured houses and winding canals, it is often referred to as the “Venice of France”.
Despite its quaint appearance and the old town’s cobbled streets, Annecy is actually the largest city in the Haute-Savoie department. Manufacturing was first established in the 19th century when silk was produced here and the city is still home to several large engineering businesses. Its location within the region of Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, just 35 kilometres from the Swiss city of Geneva, has helped it to become firmly established as a centre for both commerce and tourism.
The medieval Chateau d’Annecy, which looks down on the city, was once home to the Counts of Geneva and parts of it date back to the 12th Century. The views alone from inside the castle and along the walls make it worth a visit and history lovers will enjoy browsing the collections of medieval and Renaissance artefacts.
Another fairytale building is the Palais de l’Isle which has held many different roles over the centuries, from prison, mint and courthouse to grand residence. Today it is a history museum that is only open on selected days in high season. It is worth visiting just to see it from the outside, set on a little islet on the Canal du Thiou. As you explore the waterways, check out the romantic Pont des Amours, or Lovers’ Bridge. If two lovers kiss on the bridge they will be together forever, or so the legend goes.
Annecy is in a truly idyllic location and, during the summer months in particular, visitors and residents make the most of the beautiful surroundings and fresh mountain air to enjoy a canalside stroll and stop for coffee in one of the many little pavement cafes where they can watch the world go by. There are plenty of cycle paths around the lake and lovely beaches for swimming and relaxing.
Unsurprisingly, given the fact that Annecy sits on a lake, watersports are big here and the water is bustling in high season with sailing, rowing, paddleboarding, wakeboarding and water-skiing. The Annecy basin is also famous for paragliding and has hosted many national and international competitions.
The proximity to Switzerland brings an alpine influence to the food and raclette is a local favourite. The comforting dish of melted cheese is served in local cafes and restaurants, typically with potatoes, onions and meat. If you prefer to cook your own dinner, there are local weekday markets and a famous Sunday market which is recognised as one of the best in France with stalls lining the meandering streets and canals of the old town. Pick up some local Beaufort, Gruyère and pungent Reblochon cheese and enjoy it with crusty bread or as part of a cheeseboard. Other local specialities include veal, lake trout and, of course, crisp white Savoie wine.
Take a look at our selection of properties and chalets for sale near Annecy, and get in touch to discuss your criteria or arrange a visit.