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- Annecy and surroundings -

Annecy is at the heart of a very beautiful region whose natural wonders will never cease to amaze you.
No matter if it’s skiing, sailing, hiking, visiting or any other tourist activity, you will never be disappointed.

Annecy - the Venice of the Alps

The lake, with its blue-green waters and the canals which traverse the old town, have led to the town being known as the Venice of the Alps. Internationally renowned for its tourist appeal, quality of life and surrounding mountains Annecy is a tourist destination which has retained all its charm and authenticity, much to the delight of its numerous visitors.

It is known as the Venice of the Alps because of its proximity to the lake. The river Thiou, the main outlet of Lake Annecy , was initially exploited by local industries (mills, manufacturers, foundries…) before being adopted by tourists. The canals and the maze of streets of the old town today symbolize the town of Annecy.

It is also known as ‘Rome of the Alps’ because religious beliefs in Annecy have been very strong and dominant since the Middle Ages. It’s proximity with Geneva and its position during the Calvinist reform, the establishment of the diocese and the presence of Saint François de Sales in 1602 are just a few examples that we can mention.

A marina, several beaches numerous walks and parks (Paquier, Albigny, Marquisats, jardins de l’Europe) are all situated along the lakeside.
Due to its proximity to the lake, a natural rampart and resource at the same time, it has been a strong influence on Annecy and this is clearly shown in the way the town has evolved. The old town still features its characteristic traboules (narrow hidden passages through buildings) and a chaotic entanglement of houses and streets dating back to the Middle Ages which separate the old town from the rest of the urban area can still be found (porte Sainte Claire, côte Perrière)

The old town is very popular with tourists and its small pedestrian streets (rue Sainte Claire, rue Carnot, rue Royale) along with its old prisons and castle are some of the highlights not to be missed by any visitor.

Situated at the northern end of the lake and encircled by Annecy le Vieux, Sevrier, La Puya bend, Cran, Seynod and the Semnoz mountain, this lakeside plain has been inhabited since prehistoric times. The Allobroges Gallic tribes surrended the place to the Romans who established the settlement of Boutae in 35.

The castle of the Count of Savoy, whose construction was started at the beginning of the 12th century, is located on the heights of Annecy. It became the capital of the Counts of Geneva in the 14th century before being ceded to the Count of Savoy. The town became French in 1860.

Extracts from the Annecy Tourist website

The 'Col de la Forclaz' moutain pass

The Col de la Forclaz (1527 m), which dominates Lake Annecy, is one of the most reputable places in Europe for hang-gliding and paragliding (The French hang-gliding championship was held here in 1995). Hang-gliding and paragliding enthusiasts from all over Europe have made this a favourite venue thanks to the summertime hot air currents that prevail in the area.

The road that leads to the summit of the Col de la Forclaz is a favourite route for both amateur and professional cyclists; it was one of the summits on the 1997 Tour de France.

The Fier Gorges

The Fier, a turbulent mountain torrent, winds its way down from Mount Charvin where it takes its source and passes through Thônes and then Annecy before flowing into the Rhône near Seyssel. The impressive gorges are located about 10kms from Annecy, in a village called Lovagny.

Caused by over a thousand years of corrosion by the waters of the river, the Fier passes through a narrow 27m deep passage. Unique in the Alps, somewhat similar to the Verdon Gorges, the Fier Gorges is an ideal family outing which young and old can enjoy thanks to safe walkways that have been constructed 25m above the bed of the torrent. Halfway along the walkway, a measuring scale on the rock face indicates the water levels reached in times of flood.

The walk, first opened in 1869, takes less than an hour to complete and gives visitors a towering view of the tempestuous waters rushing over the tortured rocks with glimpses of giant potholes offering an interplay of light and shadows on the rocks and waters.
The walk finishes at the point where the gorges widen at the Sea of Rocks (Mer des rochers), a maze of rocks with deep, furrowed grooves where the water weaves in and out before re-emerging again as a torrent. Not a place for people who suffer from dizziness!!

Opening Times: : from March 15th to October 15th, 09h30am to 6h30pm
Tariff : 5 euros, for adults

Gorges du Fier Web site