On the northern tip of a lake that bears its name, Annecy is the largest city in the Haute-Savoie department in south-eastern France, and one of the most romantic places in Europe.
Its first settlement on the lakeside dates 3,100 years before Christ, making this one of the oldest inhabited sites in the Northern Alps.
Annecy crossed the centuries periodically gaining and losing importance: it reached a population of 2,000 during the Gallo-Romain period (under the name “Boutae”), when the Forum, the Temple, the Thermal baths, and the theatre which remains can still be seen today, were built.
Then it almost disappeared until its strategic position made it very important in order to control the vital north-south axis in the 12th century. During this period it expanded on both sides of the Thiou river, and new fortifications were built. These slowly became the Castle when the Count of Geneva elected Annecy as its residence after a dispute with the Bishops led to his being sent away from his own town in the 12th century.
After the extinction of the Geneva family, Annecy was absorbed in the Savoyard state and went through highs and lows until the 16th century, when it became such an important bishopric that it became renowned as the “Rome of Savoie”.
The French Revolution marked a decline in Annecy’s religious fervor, and the town slowly converted into an industrial site.
Annecy’s rich and tormented history has left indelible marks in the city itself, making it one of the most picturesque places in the french Alps and an ever-growing tourist destination for its peculiar atmosphere which reaches its climax during the Venetian carnival at the end of february/beginning of march, when hundreds of masks walk down the city’s streets and pose for the photographers along the canals that make Annecy known as the “Alpine Venice”.