Why is Annecy called the Venice of the Alps?


, 2019

We spent a day in this beautiful French city on the lake

Annecy is known as the Venice of the Alps because of it’s striking visual similarities. Despite being 500km away from Italy’s Venice, I’m sure you’ll agree that the proximity of the canal network to the style of architecture is very familiar. However, Annecy does not suffer from Summer Smells or Overtourism, making it our favourite of the two!

What is Annecy known for?

The lake – Lac D’Annecy

The lake is huge, and the city sits right on the corner of it. It’s popular for boating, water sports, fishing – or just walking (or running!) around it seeing all the small lakeside towns. We just had an ice cream (In April!) and watched the boats go by.

The canals

There are three canals coming from the Thiou river leading into the lake. The old city was built around these canals using them for trade and transport. Now beautiful old buildings line the banks, along with Bars, Bistros and Boutiques.

The flowers

Flowers are very important in this city, and wherever you look there is a display somewhere! In fact, in 2015 Annecy was awarded France’s “Golden Flower” award – an award that recognises France’s most flowered cities.

The Isle Palace

The Palais de l’Isle is a 12th century castle on an island in the river Thiou. It mostly served as a prison and courthouse until the French Revolution. The Palais de l’Ile was classified as a Historical Monument in 1900, and today houses a local history museum.

Annecy Castle – The Château d’Annecy

A short walk from the canals and old city centre is the restored Castle. It is owned by the town, but is now a museum, le musée-château d’Annecy. I wish we would have had time to go in, I understand it covers the natural history of the area as well as the human influences of the more recent centuries.

The churches

The Annecy churches are mostly Catholic and were built in a time when Annecy was owned by Savoy. In the 16th Century the bishop of Geneva was evicted during the reformation and settled in Annecy. Therefore, Annecy became a Catholic stronghold. This led to the building of many stunning churches.

Where In France is Annecy?

Annecy is in the Southeast of France, making it a perfect daytrip from the area around Lyon, Geneva, Grenoble and Chambery. If you are driving, remember to pay the tolls! The buses are high standard in the area, and nearly all have toilets and mobile charging points. Or the the train is a lovely way to get into Annecy. It’s a short walk from the main train station to the old part of town, but the whole area is small enough that you needn’t get on a bus or drive when you get there.

Download the full detailed French train maps from SNCF