In Annecy, it is not only the lake and the scenery that are remarkable! The old town, nicknamed the Little Venice of the Alps, is home to some superb buildings. For those in a hurry, you cannot pass by the Palais de l’Isle, the –château-museum or the streets with arcades, according to Denis Fogola, a guide with the Annecy town community, a member of the network of Towns and countries of art and history.
The Palais de l’Isle (Island Palace)
Built on a naturally rocky island, this building shaped like a boat, surrounded by the waters of the Thiou, is the emblem of the old town of Annecy. It features amongst the most photographed monuments in France. Its oldest parts date from the 12th century. The building has successively been a prison, the mint for the Counts of Geneva, a court of law, an asylum … Since 2005, the Centre for interpretation of architecture and heritage has occupied this listed structure. Inside, the permanent exhibition enables the visitor to learn about the town and its heritage, both ancient and contemporary.
From the Sainte-Claire gate, the Saint-Maurice slope will take you to the Annecy museum-château. . Built on a rocky outcrop, the site offers an overhead view over the historic town centre, revealing the beautiful unity of its rooftops, the bucolic le Thiou canal and its quays, and, as a backdrop, the les Bornes massif. This former home of the Counts of Geneva and the Dukes of Savoie houses the town’s regional museum of contemporary arts which includes some very fine collections. The Tower and the Perrière home house the Alpine Lakes Regional Observatory, a place where is science is popularised and its profile raised and is filled with information for the whole family.
The rue Sainte-Claire
A stone’s throw from the Palais de l’Isle is the rue Sainte-Claire, the most typical of the streets in the old town. Lined with arcades, it is a model of Renaissance town planning. It has maintained is intense commercial activity. Nearby on the other side of the Thiou, on the rue Jean-Jacques Rousseau stands the Saint-Pierre Cathedral, where the author of les Confessions took his first steps as a musician. It was also here that his meeting with Madame de Warens took place and which is immortalised by the famous fontaine du Balustre d’or, at number 10 in the street.
Source : Savoie Mont Blanc