Thursday, May 6, 2021

Canal City: Annecy France

Today is our fifth visit to a European canal city. This month were visiting Annecy, France. If you’d like to explore Hamburg, Germany in last month’s post click
I’d hazard a guess the first thing that comes to mind when you think of France is the Eiffel Tower, followed by vineyards, then cafés. But did you know that this beautiful country is home to almost three dozen canals, many of which can be toured? 
Located in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region of Southeastern France, the city of Annecy lies on the
northern tip of Lake Annecy about twenty-two miles south of Geneva, Switzerland. Nicknamed “Pearl of the French Alps” by 19th-century geographer Raoul Blanchard, the city is called Little Venice by modern travel writers. Annecy was a Roman settlement until it merged into France with the 1860 Treaty of Turin. The city is bordered by the Fier River on the northwest and surrounded by mountains: Mont Veyrier, Mont Semnoz, La Tournette, and Parmelan. Influenced by its elevation, summers are moderate with occasional heat spikes. Likewise, winters see intermittent freezing temperatures, but more often rains than snows. 
Three canals and the Thiou River cut through the old city and were used to protect the city in its early days as well as empower its handicrafts. At only three and one-half kilometers long, the Thiou is one of Europe’s shortest rivers, connecting the River Fier to Lake Annecy. 
Two of the three canals were created in the twelfth century with the construction of the Palais de I’Île which has been a prison, mint, courthouse, and lord’s residence. The structure’s turreted façade is reminiscent of the prow of a ship. The canals are lined with pastel-colored buildings. Turreted castles, narrow cobblestone streets, and arched bridges bring history to the present. 


Linda Shenton Matchett
writes about ordinary people who did extraordinary things in days gone by. A volunteer docent and archivist for the Wright Museum of WWII, Linda is currently working with the curator to create her very first exhibit, Shaped by Conflict. She is a native of Baltimore, Maryland, and was born a stone’s throw from Fort McHenry. Linda has lived in historic places all her life and is now located in central New Hampshire where her favorite activities include exploring historic sites and immersing herself in the imaginary worlds created by other authors. Visit her at

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