Thanks to its geographical environment Annecy experienced big historical transformations, notably the occupation of the castle by the Counts of Geneva and the creation of the Visitation Order by François de Sales and Jeanne de Chantal.
The Visitation BasilicaThe Visitation Order was founded at Annecy by François de Sales and Jeanne de Chantal in 1610.
The construction of the present monastery, situated on the edge of the Crêt du Maure forest, started in 1909 and was completed towards 1930.
The Basilica was only officially consecrated in 1949 by Cardinal Tedeschini.
The Conservatory of Art and HistoryIt has been based since 1980 in the former seminary which was built in the 17th century by Monsignor Jean d'Arenthon d'Alex, Bishop of Geneva.
Exhibitions are regularly organised and you can also see there the collection of General Chastel which brings together paintings from the 17th and 18th centuries, and the Payot collection which consists of a group of works representing Mont-Blanc.
The CastleThe historical symbol of Annecy, its construction extended over four centuries (from the 12th to 16th).
The counts of Geneva made their home their from the 13th century.
The town acquired the Castle in 1953 and restored it with help from “Historical Monuments”, which made it possible to set up a museum inside.
Since 1953 the Tower and the Perrière Lodge house the ORLA (Alpine Lakes Regional Laboratory).
The Notre-Dame-de-Liesse Church
It was built from 1846 to 1851 replacing a marist sanctuary of the 13th century. The task of construction was given to the engineer François Justin who was an employee of the Sardinian administration and was a master of the neo-classical style.
He was instructed though to preserve the 16th century clock tower, as well as a part of the wall with an interesting gothic window dating from the 15th century, a precious reminder of the ancient sanctuary.
The old Town HallThis building is notable for its 18th century facade together with its flight of steps and beautiful wrought-iron work from the same period, in which we can see, on the first floor, the arms of the City of Annecy.
Saint Peter's Cathedral
Constructed by Jacques Rossel at the beginning of the 16th century, it served at first as a chapel for the Franciscan convent.
It was converted into a temple to the Goddess Reason during the Revolution, then became a Cathedral again in 1822.
The Lambert HouseThis house was occupied by François de Sales from 1602 to 1610. Located at 15 rue Jean-Jacques-Rousseau, it owes its name to Pierre de Lambert who was the main patron of the Saint Peter’s Cathedral from which he took the idea for the facade of his house.
The former Bishop's Palace
Built at the end of the 18th century by Monsignor Biord, this huge building was the Bishop’s house.
In 1906, the law separating Church and State resulted in the building being allocated to the Administration of Finance, the National School of Music, Dance and Dramatic Art, and also to the municipal police.
The Mint HouseThis dwelling, after housing the local Mint for a certain time, was successively home to the Exchaquet and Boëge-Conflans families, before being used as a Bishop’s House by Monsignor de Chaumont from 1741 to 1763. Note the very beautiful horse-shoe staircase serving the first floor.
The de Sales HouseConstructed by the de Sales family in the 17th century (1688-1690), this house was used as a residence of the princes of the House of Savoie at Annecy. From 1851 to 1865, it became the Head Office of the Bank of Savoie.
The establishment had the right to print bank notes, so that after the Union with France in 1860, it was in direct competition with the Bank of France. The busts in the façade represent the four seasons.
It was in this place that the remains of Saint François de Sales, and then of Saint Jeanne de Chantal were laid.
Bit by bit transformed into a barracks under the French Revolutionary occupation, and into a factory in 1794, then into apartements and shops 1812, it was only in 1923 that this sanctuary was once again put to religious uses, becoming a Church for the Italian community.
The Palais de l'IleThis was the residence of the lords of Annecy from the 12th century, the stronghold on the island become an administrative centre when the counts of Geneva came to Annecy.
The Palace became a prison for which it had been used from the Middle Ages and this lasted until 1865.
Its listing as a Historical Monument dates from 1900. Allocated the role of museum from 1952, today it houses the “Centre for Interpretation of Architecture and Heritage”.
The Perrière GateClosing the thick wall directly connected to the castle, this gate was for centuries one of the principal entries into the town.
Facing Faverges and Albertville, the Perrière district is under direct surveillance from the Castle tower which bears its name.
Bagnoréa HouseBuilt in 1582 by Monsignor Galois de Regard, named Bishop of Bagnoréa in Italy by Pius IV in 1563.
On his death the house was sold to Antoine Favre, President of the Council.
In 1607, with François de Sales, he founded, in these premises, the Florimontane Academy on the model of the Italian academies.
The Sepulcre GateThis gate takes its name from the former convent of this order which was located nearby.
Its function was to control access to the Sainte-Claire district.
Charmoisy HouseDwelling of Madame de Charmoisy, the "Philotée" of François de Sales, mentioned in his "Introduction to a devout life". A traditional building of the old Anecy, with its facade on the street, its gate, its small pedestrian door and its large paved court.
The Morens BridgeThe name apparently comes from the « murenches » (town fortifications made from houses).
Called the “Stone Bridge” at then end of the 13th century, the Morens bridge was the only one at this time not made of wood. This allowed it to become the main passage across as it could support heavy carts.
The Saint-Joseph Sisters ChapelThis sanctuary belonged to the second monastery of the Visitation built in 1636. It is now occupied by the St Joseph Sisters, a congregation founded by Monsignor de Maupas, Bishop of Puy, in 1650.
The Sainte-Claire GateThis gate in the direction of Chambéry, still has the fortifications which protected the entrance to the town as well as the hinges on which a second gate hung. Notice at the side of the gate, along the Nemours passage, the remains of the former ramparts.
Saint-Maurice ChurchThe former church of the Dominicans built in the 15th century, very representative of the "flamboyant" gothic style.
There are chapels built in different parts of the nave by noble families or artisan corporations from 1478 on, forming the present lower sides.
Something you must see, to the left of the choir, is the "trompe l'oeil" painting of the 15th century.
The Saint François de Sales MemorialRight next to the Saint-François-de-Sales church this memorial has been set up so as to be open to the public on request. It gives a summary of the life and works of the two founders of the Visitation Order.
The Galery ChapelThis place, where the Visitation order was born, has preserved almost intact the aspect it had on the evening of 6 juin 1610, when Jeanne de Chantal, Jacqueline Favre and Charlotte de Bechard, led by the three brothers of François de Sales, came into their house in the Rue de la Providence for the first time.
The Novel Manor HouseBuilt in the 15th century, it takes its name from district where it is found, and was made from “recently cleared ground”. It became the property of the Visitation in 1597, and was the centre of a big agricultural domain. Today it belongs to the town. There is an apple festival at the Novel Farm, on which occasion it opens its doors to the public