Tuesday, July 19 Raining day in Annecy! We listened on the news that it is raining all over France but Corsica. So… not much to do regarding biking. Let’s try to find other activities, he?
We went to Annecy’s Tourism Office to learn about attractions when it rains and the forecast shows more rain on the way.
It was an excellent surprise for us to find a very well-organized Tourist Office in Annecy!
In fact, it is one of the best Tourist Offices where we have been. There are many people working there and although Annecy is very touristic and the Tourist Office gets really busy we didn’t wait more than 3 minutes in line! Great!
The guy that helped me was very friendly and provided a lot of excellent information (besides maps for the town and for the towns around the lake as well). He told us that an excellent deal would be a guided tour around the city. This particular guided tour was scheduled to depart from the Tourist Office at 4PM and it was going to be held in English.
We returned there at 4pm and there were around 13 people ready to go on te tour.
Our guide could not have been better!!! She is not a “regular guide” like the ones that only know the names of the places, the years things happened and that kind of stuff. As you probably know, many guides look like a recording machine. Not this one! Our guide was like a History Teacher! She knows not only about the places but about the history as well. It was wonderful to hear her lecture about Annecy since the Middle Ages, specially during the Second World War when young nationals went to the mountains to fight against the German Army (with the help of the RAF that threw guns to them). Her description of the facts was so live that it was like if we were watching the action.
We also enjoyed her explanation about the importance of St Francis des Sales and about Les Visitandines.
After a tour around the city (the river Thiou, St Maurice Church; Notre Dame Church and Annecy Cathedral) we went to visit Annecy Castle (Château d’ Annecy). This Castle was the home of the Counts of Geneva, between others. It has been completely restored and presents exhibitions of Art and History Conservatory of Annecy and the Regional Office of Alpine Lakes. The “Château d’ Annecy” is a must see attraction and the views from the Castle are great!
After visiting the Castle our guide took the group to visit the Old Prison (Palais de l’ Isle). I guess this is the most photographed attraction of the city. This building was constructed during the XII Century. It’s an unforgettable experience to visit its interior filled with court rooms, cells, etc.
Our tour ended at the Old Prison. The guided tour was very informative and in my opinion is something that should not be missed while visiting pretty Annecy.
It is a shame I can’t remember the name of our guide, all I know is that she also teachs Italian in Annecy. Besides European History she also knows a lot of Art History.
The cost of the guided tour was a bargain! Only 6 Euros for each adult. It takes two hours and you keep the coupons to return to the Castle and the Prison during another day to see the attractions on your own pace. Summary: When you get to Annecy, go straight to the Tourist Office and buy your tickets for the Guided Tour. You will not be disappointed ! For us it was a bless to have such a great tour during a day that could be “lost” due to the rain.
Palais de l’Isle (The Old Prison) by night