Follow the trail of the château des Ducs de Savoie, and discover the hidden gem which is the town of Annecy, with its peaceful lake and backdrop of snowy mountains. The town itself has several little canals which give it a Venetian air, encompassing several ancient villages dating from Neolithic times. Little canals and the river Thiou wind through the old town, encircling the medieval palace perched mid-river, the Palais de l'Ile - Annecy Centre of Architecture and Cultural Heritage, a must-see in Annecy. 150 years ago, the Duchy of Savoy became part of France: you can learn all about the fascinating history of the region at the Château d'Annecy Museum. Nearby, Saint François of Sales lies at rest in the Basilica of the Visitation, which was founded by him in 1610. Be inspired to take to the great outdoors: Annecy , candidate for hosting the Inter Olympic and Paralympic Games 2018, is a very sporty town. With watersports on the lake, snow sports on the mountains of the Massif des Bauges and the Massif des Bornes; the five mountain stations are active winter and summer.
The Lac d'Annecy is the soul of the town. Considered to be the purest lake in Europe, you can swim in turquoise waters at a temperature of 24°C: you'll come out cleansed to the core. Cycle along the shores of the lake, the 30 km circuit is a beautiful route through the Savoyard countryside. Or go for a wander in the Gardens of Europe, also beside the Lac d'Annecy. Take the Pont des Amours above le petit Thiou. On the middle of this "Lovers' Bridge", be careful who you kiss: legend has it that after one kiss on this bridge you will remain together for life…
To fully appreciate the stunning landscape, so well described by Rousseau in his Confessions, take to the skies: try paragliding or hangliding.
How can you possibly resist the temptations of Savoy cuisine? The answer is: you can't. Taste the fabulous fresh fish, such as whitebait and trout; cheese, including Tome des Bauges and Reblochon, and the classic Savoy dishes: tartiflette, raclette, fondue, etc.
During the Retour des Alpages festival, crafts, food and folklore are the focus in this traditional Alpine setting, listen out for the cowbells. The Fête du Lac in Annecy marks the descent of the cows from the mountain pastures, celebrated these days a firework display over the lake and a fun, Venetian-style carnival in the old town centre. Last but not least, at the International Animated Film Festival in Annecy around 200 films compete each June for various awards.
Travel to Annecy for its pure air and water, just a stone's throw from both Switzerland and Italy.
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