vieille ville annecy

The old town of Annecy

Located in the south-east of France in the Haute Savoie region, Annecy is a town famous for its lake, which attracts tourists from all over Europe. If you're planning a stay in the region, you'll want to get to know Annecy's old town, the historic centre with its old buildings and narrow streets steeped in history. Just passing through? Check out our tips for visiting Annecy in 1 day!

The historic centre of Annecy

From your holiday base at one of Annecy's 4-star campsites near the lake, take a stroll through Annecy's old town. Cobbled streets, winding canals through which the Thiou flows and pastel-coloured houses are all part of this little piece of heritage dating back to the Middle Ages. Once a fortified town, many of the wooden houses have been destroyed by fire, but there are still plenty of buildings to tell the story of Annecy's past, particularly in the historic centre, which developed from the 12th century onwards. Thanks to the Thiou River, a number of craft activities are booming. Entirely pedestrianised, the historic centre is easy to explore, and whether you're with your partner, friends or children, everyone will agree.

Must-sees in Annecy's old town

As well as the lake, which attracts a huge number of visitors every year and always gets positive reviews, Annecy's old town is also a must-see in the region and an activity not to be missed. The Château d'Annecy is a firm favourite with history buffs. Built in the Middle Ages on the slopes of Semnoz mountain, it dominates the town. After a fire, the castle was rebuilt and handed over to the Duke of Savoy in the 15th century. Now owned by the town of Annecy, the castle is a museum of regional artefacts.
Another must-see is the Palais de l'Île.
The most photographed site in the old town, opinions are unanimous that it is a unique and emblematic place par excellence. Situated on a small rocky island, it was a fortified house in the 12th century and later became a prison, a court, an administrative building and an archive.  Don't miss a stroll along the canals and, after passing through the Jardins de l'Europe, head for the Pont des Amours, witness to the iron constructions of the early 20th century. In the 5 steeples district, head for the religious heritage with the churches of Saint Maurice and Saint François de Sales, not forgetting the cathedral of Saint-Pierre, the church of Notre-Dame de Liesse and the basilica of the Order of the Visitation.

Where to eat in Annecy's old town?

Travelling takes its toll. You're bound to agree with us that, once you've visited the lake and Annecy's old town, you'll want to find a restaurant where you can enjoy Savoyard specialities. Before you sit down in one of the town's many restaurants, don't miss the market, where you can discover and taste all the freshest local produce in the region. If you're on a gluten-free diet, we've thought of you and compiled a list of the best addresses around Lake Annecy.
Annecy is much more than just a lake, and that's what the old town has to offer!