The capital of the Departement de Haute-Savoie, Annecy, is a small medieval city located at the foot of the Alps along the shores of a lake with the same name. It is about 40km away from Geneva in Switzerland and 60km from Chamonix and Mont Blanc.
Traces of human settlements dating back to 3,100 BC were found along the lake. When the Romans were occupying the area, the locality was named Boutae. Today, with its multiple canals running across the city, it is sometimes called the Venice of the Alps.
With its proximity to the lake and the ski resorts, Annecy is a very popular touristic destination all year round. The tourist season culminates in early August at the "Fete du Lac", a majestic light and sound show with spectacular fireworks that takes place on the lake. More than a hundred thousand people gather on that occasion, a tradition that started in 1860 when Emperor Napoleon III and Eugenie celebrated the return of Savoy to France.
Annecy is a great place for all sorts of outdoor activities and sports on the lake or in the surrounding mountains. The medieval old city is well worth a visit.
With the old buildings and cobbled streets you can't help feeling like you are walking around in the 16th century.
Put it this way, Annecy is what happens when the French do Venice. The city is mostly built out over the lake and has some really cool little romantic restaurants and cafes that are reminiscent of the old black & white movies. Forget the Eiffel Tower, this is where I think I might propose to my girlfriend.
Sat on the shores of the magnificent (-ly cold) Lake Geneva, the city itself is now an EU and financial heartland – hardly a shock for Switzerland – and dismissed by many as being nice, b…