10 largest cities in France




Annecy is a town and a French city, capital and prefecture of the Haute-Savoie department in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region. North of the French Alps, after Geneva 40 km to the north, Annecy is part of the axis of the agglomerations of the Alpine furrow in alignment with Chambéry then Valence and Grenoble.

The “Pearl of the Alps” from Raoul Blanchard's urban monograph forms a contact gap between the Plaine des Fins and the Prealps, forcing its population inside its building zone from the 1960s to the municipal merger of 2017. Since the absorption of the territories of Annecy-le-Vieux, Cran-Gevrier, Meythet, Pringy and Seynod, Annecy rises to 29th place among the most populous French cities with 126,924 inhabitants, as well as in 6th regional position urban areas behind Annemasse and in front of Chambéry.

Historical residence of the counts of Geneva in the thirteenth century, then of the counts of Savoy in the fifteenth century, the village became the capital of Savoy with the prerogative of Genevois-Nemours including Genevois, Faucigny and Beaufortain from 1434 to 1659. Its role religious intensified in 1536, during the Calvinist Reformation; while the bishop of Geneva took refuge there, François de Sales made it an advanced citadel of the Catholic Counter-Reformation, earning it the nickname "Rome of the Alps". The Treaty of Turin led to the Annexation of the Duchy of Savoy, attaching the city to France in 1860 under the reign of Napoleon III.

Its nickname of "Venice of the Alps" refers to the rivers (Vassé canal, Saint Dominique and Thiou canal) which protected the city, then brought hydraulic power to textile crafts, gradually giving way to the industrialization of nineteenth century which remains today through the presence of head offices, such as Fusalp, SNR, Salomon, Mavic or Entremont, maintaining the employment area in 2nd place in France (2015). In the twentieth century, the tourist sector benefited from the renowned purity of the alpine air and the lake, the surrounding winter sports, the conservation of green spaces and a cultural heritage in the process of being renovated. The touristic-cultural turning point began in 1960 with the organization of the Annecy international animated film festival and the lake festival, each attracting around a hundred thousand visitors each summer. Its first university establishments opened in 1973 before giving birth to the Savoie Mont Blanc University in 1979 in partnership with the establishments of Savoie Technolac and Jacob-Bellecombette.



Architectural Heritage
Medieval period
Palais de l'Isle dating from the 12th century, it was built in the middle of the Thiou canal to serve as prisons and courthouses. It is the symbolic monument of the city and one of the most photographed monuments in France.
Castle of Annecy overlooking the city, it is the former residence of the Counts of Geneva and the Dukes of Genevois-Nemours, younger branch of the House of Savoy (12th - 16th century). It now houses the Conservatory of Art and History of Annecy and the Regional Office for Alpine Lakes.
The old town crossed by many canals and pedestrian arcaded streets. One of the most beautiful is the rue Sainte-Claire with its romantic arches from the 17th and 18th centuries. One can also discover many fountains there. Among them is that of the Saint-Jean well at the intersection of rue Carnot and rue Royale, the heart of commercial and political life in Annecy.
The canals through which the lake empties and the valves that regulate the flows constitute a water diversion and control system designed by the engineer Sadi Carnot before he became President of the Republic.

Contemporary period
Pont des Amours - above the Vassé Canal and connecting the Gardens of Europe to Pâquier, a fine example of typical early 20th century iron architecture. * The Imperial Palace Hotel inaugurated in 1913, with its public gardens, beach and casino.
The prefecture dating from the 19th century.
The modern Bonlieu Cultural Center where a national theater, a library, the tourist office, shops and offices are gathered.
The modern and airy Courthouse of Annecy, currently under repair after a bomb attack on January 22, 2001.
The Napoleonic Berthollet high school, founded in 1888.
The Genevois monetary workshop which now houses the Annecy History Museum
Town hall - Annecy town hall built in 1855

Religious monuments
16th century Saint-Pierre cathedral, it was the cathedral of François de Sales and houses many works of Baroque art and a splendid 19th century organ.
Saint-Maurice Church - flamboyant Gothic style from the 15th century and its paintings from the 15th and 16th centuries.
Basilica of the Visitation - from the twentieth century houses the tombs of Saint François de Sales and Saint Joan of Chantal and offers from its esplanade a beautiful view of the whole city and the agglomeration.
Basilica of Saint-Joseph-des-Fins - built during the Second World War by the famous architect Dom Bellot.

Environmental heritage
Annecy is a city in bloom with 4 flowers in the Flower Cities and Villages Competition and the grand prize for flowers.

Parks and squares
The parks and green spaces the most popular with Annecy residents are undoubtedly those located on the shores of the lake which attract many walkers in all seasons:
Gardens of Europe - located on the site of the gardens of a community of nuns, were developed after the Treaty of Turin in 1863 and offer a diverse collection of trees.
Le Paquier - large lawn with a clear view of the lake. It accommodates the temporary stands installed for the lake festival.
Imperial Park - it juts out into the lake behind the palace of the same name.
Other smaller green spaces dot the city: the Stalingrad square in front of the station, the Martyrs de la Deportation square ...

The Grande Jeanne animal park is located in Semnoz, on the road leading to the summit. On 10,500 m2, it accommodates 19 fallow deer, nine red deer and around twenty Corsican mouflons in semi-freedom.

Lanes on the banks and walks
The shores of the lake and the quays of the old town offer many possibilities for walks: avenue d'Albigny, the quays of the Marquisats, the quays bordering the canals of the old town, the Sainte-Thérèse du Québec promenade ...

Environmental aspect
Following the implementation of Agenda 21, the city has embarked on many actions in favor of the environment: sustainable management, better water management, reduction of phytosanitary products, recovery of green waste. ..

Castle Museum
Regional Observatory of Alpine Lakes
Island Palace
Manor of Novel
Saint-François Memorial
Arteppes (contemporary art)

Every Friday evening: roller skating tour organized by Roll'n'cy
Boat tour of the lake Annecy lake boat company
More than 100 walks and hikes around Annecy
Mountain and paragliding activities
Stage of the Biathlon World Cup in Annecy-Le Grand-Bornand from December 14 to 17, 2017


Theaters & concert halls
Theater: Bonlieu national stage
Concert hall: Le Brise-Glace
Exchange Theater
MJC from Novel
MJC Children's House
MJC of the Romans
Auditorium of the Regional Conservatory of Annecy and Pays de Savoie

Cultural events
Spanish Film Biennale in March.
International Animation Film Festival (FIFA) - with the parallel MIFA, International Animation Film Market. It is the biggest festival of its kind. It brings together specialists in world animation for a week in early June (the start of which always takes place one week after the close of the Cannes Film Festival). Festive atmosphere with film projections on a giant screen at the Paquier.
Summer and academic festival of dance and classical music - Sites "Imperial Palace", "museum-castle", "studio des Balmettes", "Saint-Pierre cathedral". Several music academies, numerous performances, piano night, organ recitals. High level dance lessons.
Italian Film Festival in October. - projections, debates.

Festive events
Venetian carnival towards the end of February. - for 2 days with more than 300 masks walking around.
Annecy Landscapes July to September. - works, creations and reactivations of plant and plastic pieces across the city
Lake Festival - the most beautiful pyrotechnic show in Europe, combining music, spectacle and fireworks.
Return from the pastures - Traditional festival and parade of herds in the old town, the second Saturday of the month.
Apple and honey festival in November.

Sport events
Grenette Bernard Arsac July cycling grand prix. - Race of the regional Daupiné-Savoie championship, organized by the "Étoile cycliste annécienne".
Tournament of the Small Princes July. - Tennis tournament. "Cours des Marquisats" and "cours du boulevard du Fier" sites
Crossing of Lake Annecy - Swimming crossing of Lake Annecy, more than 900 swimmers in 2007. First race for licensees from 14 years old and unlicensed from 16 years on 2,400 meters between La plage from Chavoires to Veyrier du Lac and the gardens of Europe. Second race, open to everyone over 1,000 meters from the Imperial Beach. New in 2008: a 5,000-meter course reserved for license holders and counting for the French Open Water Swimming Cup.
L'Ancilevienne September. - Tour of Lake Annecy by team of 2 competitors. In partnership with the Autisme Eveil association.


Getting here

By plane
Annecy aerodrome has only one connection to Paris.

Annecy Haute-Savoie Mont-Blanc Airport (IATA: NCY) +33 4 50 322 322

The nearest airports are Geneva, Lyon Saint-Exupéry and Grenoble-Isère

By train
Annecy is served by several direct TGVs (5 return trips per day on average in 2006) from Paris Gare de Lyon, by Corail Lunéa from Paris Austerlitz (1 daily return trip in 2006, also direct) and by numerous TER connections from Lyon Part-Dieu (10 direct daily round trips on average, and service possibilities via Chambéry or Aix-Les-Bains), Chambéry, Challes-les-Eaux and Aix-les-Bains le Revard (numerous round trips).

Annecy train station

The nearest airports are Geneva, Lyon Saint-Exupéry and Grenoble-Isère

By train
Annecy is served by several direct TGVs (5 return trips per day on average in 2006) from Paris Gare de Lyon, by Corail Lunéa from Paris Austerlitz (1 daily return trip in 2006, also direct) and by numerous TER connections from Lyon Part-Dieu (10 direct daily round trips on average, and service possibilities via Chambéry or Aix-Les-Bains), Chambéry, Challes-les-Eaux and Aix-les-Bains le Revard (numerous round trips).

Annecy train station

By car
The A41 motorway connects Annecy to Chambéry and Lyon to the south, and Geneva to the north, and Chamonix to the east. If you want to visit the old town of Annecy, located in the heart of Annecy, follow the signs indicating "old Annecy" (not to be confused with Annecy-le-Vieux, a very pretty town located immediately on the shores of the lake at the west of Annecy, but which has only a few ancient monuments in the capital).

By coach
Daily connections to Grenoble, Chambéry, Geneva and Lyon

Around the city
By car
The city center is not very big and the old city is reserved for pedestrians. Many car parks are available nearby (Bonlieu, Hôtel de Ville, Manufacture, Mairie, Sainte Claire, Les Romains).

Annecy being part of a pilot project for a city center without cars, it is not recommended to enter the center with your vehicle. Better quickly find a parking lot (several often full). It is even advisable to park outside the city and take the bus to the center.

The road that goes around the lake is very busy in summer, tourist season obliges. Traffic jams are frequent, but a magnificent bike ride allows you to get around the lake with your family.

It is the best way to discover the old town.

By bike
It is possible to take a bus with your mountain bike to the summit of Semnoz. From there mountain bike trails allow you to reach the city. It is also possible to rent bicycles at the station and near the Marquisats parking lots when you arrive from Sevrier and St-Jorioz The cycle path completed in 2005 allows you to reach Faverges along Lake Annecy for more than 20 km.

By bus
Annecy has several bus lines. Sibra Company.
Main lines with Crolard buses