Annecy travel guide

Photo of Annecy

Visit Annecy (Auvergne Rhône-Alpes, France)

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Annecy is one of the most popular towns in the Alps, and is a charming town in an attractive setting with woods, mountains and the Lake d'Annecy all nearby. It has been classified as a Town of Art and History in France.

The town is found in the Haute-Savoie region of eastern France, on the shores of Lake Annecy, 40 kilometres south of Geneva. Annecy is at the northern end of the lake of Annecy, and is 40 kilometres north-east of Aix-les-Bains. It occupies a strategic location on historic trade routes between Italy, Switzerland and France.

Exploring Annecy

France This Way review: I can't recommend highly enough a trip to Annecy and Lake Annecy. The lake with its mountain setting is gorgeous, it is surrounded by some pretty villages including Talloires, a real gem...

...and Annecy itself is a wonderful town - very attractive and as it sits on the edge of a lake you can combine the pleasures of the town with lots of water based activities.

Houses and shops with arcades in historic Annecy

Historic monuments in Annecy

- The Palais de l'Ile, also called the "old prison", was built on an island in the river in the 12th century. The Palais de l'Ile was a court house and a prison and inside you can see the former prison cells and visit an exhibitition on the architecure and heritage. It is the symbol of the town and is among the most photographed monuments in all of France.

- The Château d'Annecy (Annecy Castle) was the home of the Counts of Geneva. In the 16th century the castle entrance was fortified with a parapet walkway. The oldest part of the castle is the Tour de la Reine which was built in the 13th century. From the 17th century to the 1940s it was a barracks and today it houses a museum with exhibitions of Art and History of the area.

- The Cathedral of Saint-Pierre built in the 16th century was the cathedral of François de Sales, and is home to a number of artworks and baroque pieces from the 19th century. Outside the cathedral, the 16th century Hotel Lambert was home to Francis de Sales (bishop of Geneva from 1601-1622).


- The bishop's palace, which adjoins the cathedral, was built in the 18th century. Walk over the bridge to the garden of the bishop's palace and along the Quai Madame de Warens to the Rue de la Republique.

- The Porte Sainte-Claire gate is one of the gateways into the town and next to it is the Gallo House which has an 18th century facade. From here you can take the Pass. Nemours which climbs steeply to the castle.

- Another religious monument is the church of Saint-Maurice which has a flamboyant gothic style of the 15th century, and houses some very interesting paintings from the 15th and 16th centuries.

Other highlights

From the Pont de la Republique you have a lovely view over the Thiou river. The Thiou is one of the shortest rivers in Europe. It is just 3.5 km long, most of which is in the canals running through Annecy making it such a beautiful city - the 'Venice of the Alps'.

When you have explored Annecy take the Quai Napoleon III to the Jardins de l' Europe. These landscaped gardens date back to 1863 and are a pleasant place to relax. From here cross the delightful Pont des Amours (Lovers' Bridge). This delicate-looking iron bridge was constructed in 1907. 

From here you can take the lovely walk along the lake edge to the Impérial Palace. This opened in 1913 and was renovated in the 1980s to make a luxury hotel and casino. There is also a public garden and a beach.

One of the nice things about the lake here is the constant activity. Along the lake edges are people jogging, walking, rollerblading or just sat on the grass on the edge of the lake. Wonderfull!

Canal in the centre of Annecy

Attractions nearby

On the edge of town is the Basilique de la Visitation built in the 20th century, home of the tomb of François de Sales and Jeanne de Chantal - both buried in rich copper sarcophaguses, and offers a magnificent view of the town.

After visiting the city be sure to also find time to explore Lake Annecy and the pretty villages around its edges: see the Lake Annecy guide.

You can find more travel ideas in the Haute-Savoie guide and the Rhone-Alpes guide.

See also Find Annecy hotels

Photos of Annecy

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Map of Annecy and places nearby


Visit near Annecy with France This Way reviews

Lake Annecy

Lake Annecy

The towns, villages and scenery around Lake Annecy make it an exceptional region to explore

Lake Annecy guide
Veyrier du Lac

Veyrier du Lac

The port area is among the highlights in this pretty village on the banks of Lake Annecy

Veyrier du Lac guide
Menthon Saint Bernard

Menthon Saint Bernard

After exploring the quaint village of Menthon-Saint-Bernard you can hire a boat to explore the shores of Lake Annecy

Menthon Saint Bernard guide


Talloires is one of the most lovely of the villages on the shores of Lake Annecy

Talloires guide
La Clusaz

La Clusaz

La Clusaz is one of the smaller ski resorts and very popular with French families

La Clusaz guide


Aix-les-Bains is one of the best preserved 'belle-epoque' spa towns in France

Aix-les-Bains guide

... or see ALL recommended places to visit in Haute-Savoie

Tourist classifications for Annecy

Annecy has received the following tourist classifications: listed town of Art and History ; village in bloom (ville fleurie) 4*

Address: Annecy, Rhone-Alpes, 74000, France || GPS coordinates: latitude 45.899, longitude 6.1284

Plan your visit to Annecy, Haute-Savoie

Sightseeing & tourist attractions to visit nearby

  • Mont Veyrier: site of natural beauty (4 km)
  • Lac d'Annecy: site of natural beauty (6 km)
  • Gorges du Fier: site of natural beauty (7 km)
  • Roc de Chere: site of natural beauty (8 km)
  • La Roche-sur-Foron: recommended detour (23 km)
  • Massif des Bauges: regional natural parc (24 km)
  • Col de la Colombière: site of natural beauty (29 km)
  • Aix-les-Bains: ville fleurie 4* (29 km)
  • Aquarium du Lac du Bourget: aquarium (29 km)
  • Albertville: town of art and history (33 km)
  • Mole: site of natural beauty (34 km)
  • Les jardins du Prieuré: remarkable garden (35 km)

Market days in Annecy, France

Regular market(s) are held in Annecy each Tuesday all day & Thursday & Sunday & Saturday & Friday. (Markets are held in the morning unless stated.)

The French version of this page is at Annecy (Francais)