Top French Cities - Annecy at a glance

Lac Annecy
Parapente Lac Annecy
Press release

For more information, visit Lac Annecy Tourism at

City region: Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes
Population & what they are called: 126,000 inhabitants, called Annéciens

Access from Paris:

  • by road: about 5 h 30 min (350 miles) via the A6, A40 and A41 autoroutes
  • by train: about 3 h 45 min by TGV from the Gare de Lyon
  • by plane: about 1 hour to Geneva Airport, then 1 hour direct bus to Annecy

Famous native daughters & sons:

  • André Dussolier, actor
  • Edgar Grospiron, Olympic skier
  • Aimé Jacquet, soccer player and coach

Most distinctive and/or unique fact or trait (or little known fact):

  • Annecy is sometimes called “Venice of the Alps” due to the Thiou River and three canals that traverse the old city and, along with many bridges, add to its special atmosphere.
  • The Château de Menthon-Saint-Bernard, 7½ miles from the city, is a historic medieval monument said to have inspired Walt Disney's version of Sleeping Beauty's castle.

Notable sites:

  • Palais de l'Ile – on an islet in the Canal du Thiou, this historic monument, parts of which date to the 12th century, has been a prison, courthouse, mint and mansion, but is now a local history museum (
  • Col de la Forclaz – one of the world's most famous paragliding spots (150,000 flights a year), complete with unforgettable views over mountain-ringed Lake Annecy
  • Talloires – a neighboring, popular resort town notable for its artists and writers, excellent outdoor activities and 1,000-year-old Abbaye de Talloires (

Top annual events:

  • Festival International du Film d'Animation – the major annual international festival and market devoted to animated film (
  • Fête du Lac – tens of thousands attend this annual summer lake festival featuring Europe's grandest fireworks show (70 minutes long) (
  • Maxi Race – 10 trail-running races, from just 4km long to the 117km Ultra, take 7,600 participants around Lake Annecy via the mountains (

Most notable museums:

  • Musée-Château d'Annecy – restored castle overlooking the old town and transformed into a museum and temporary exhibition space (
  • Musée du Film d'Animation – hands-on, family-friendly displays chronicle a century of animated film (
  • La Turbine Sciences – this center for industrial, technical and scientific culture is an interactive exploration of knowledge for all ages (

Culinary specialties:

  • fish – like fera, perch and Arctic char caught fresh in Lake Annecy
  • Savoyard cheese-based dishes – fondue, raclette and tartiflette top the list, using local-area cheeses such as Beaufort and Reblochon
  • roseau du lac – dark chocolate treat coated in sugar and infused with a mountain liqueur like génépi

Local wines & spirits:

  • Savoie wine – noted for dry and light whites like Apremont and, especially, Roussette de Savoie AOC, as well as light and fruity reds like the native Mondeuse


  • Rue Carnot – top commercial avenue, including its extension to the Courier shopping center
  • Opinel – famuos Savoy-based wood-handled knife and tool company (

Most popular night spots:

  • Le Moon – a brasserie and bar with a lakeside terrace and private beach
  • La Queue du Coq – relaxed and cozy cocktail bar with a 1950s ambiance
  • Pop Plage – one of the most popular nightclubs in town

Local population’s favorite activities (or hangouts):

  • Le Haras – a favorite, peaceful, urban park for picnics and concerts, with on-site food by Armony Saveurs
  • Pâquier – large lakeside lawn/garden, perfect for resting, exercise and lake-based activities

Local industries:

  • cheese – in addition to many small cheese producers in the region, Annecy is home to Entremont, a large manufacturer of dairy products (primarily cheeses) and frozen food
  • sporting goods – what started in 1947 as the Salomon family wood saw and ski edges workshop is now a major international outdoor sport equipment company
  • jets – Dassault Aviation is an international manufacturer of military and business jets

In Pop Culture:

  • Claire’s Knee (Le Genou de Claire) – a 1970 melodramatic romantic film written and directed by Eric Rohmer
  • Killer by the Lake (Le Tueur du Lac) – the 2017 television crime drama series followup to Vanished by the Lake
  • Floride – the 2015 comedy drama about family and aging, directed by Philippe Le Guay

About Top French Cities –

Top French Cities is an association of 29 cities, from regional capitals like Bordeaux to important towns like Avignon and Versailles. They are perfect for young travelers, families and anyone else looking for fun and authentic French experiences that will fit their budget. Most of these cities are university towns with a youthful atmosphere, but all of them reflect the heritage and distinctive flavors of the regions to which they belong. Many are forward-looking too, with historic buildings repurposed to house contemporary art and activity centers like Les Docks in Marseille. Many have created or integrated new, modern museums to contrast with their classical, architectural heritage, like in Nimes, where the cutting-edge Museum of Roman Civilization (Musée de la Romanité) is located across from the historic Roman amphitheater, or in Nantes, where whimsical mechanical creatures are being created, or in the UNESCO World Heritage Site concrete city of Le Havre.


Marion Fourestier
Atout France-The France Tourism Development Agency