Slightly out of keeping with the rest of the city of Annecy's colourful homes, gentle canals and cobbled streets, Chateau d'Annecy is a mass of right angles and harsh stone. Sitting majestically on a hill, with sweeping views over the city and Lake Annecy below, its presence cannot be ignored and yet, it's not unattractive either. Softened by its terracotta roof and the lush trees surrounding it, it's a building that conveys status and demands respect; in other words, it's the perfect place to hold court. So it's understandable then that successive Counts of Geneva chose this as their home and you can just imagine them stood up here, glass of wine in hand, surveying the capital city of their kingdom below.
The oldest parts of the castle date from the 12th century onwards and are largely defensive in their design; the Tour De La Reine (Queen's Tower), for example, stands at over 30m and is thought to have been built over the top of an earlier keep. As development continued for the next four centuries, with each of its residents adding their own personal touches to its structure and its use transitioning from military to residential, the alterations became increasingly aesthetically motivated.
After being abandoned in the 17th century owing to a series of fires, Chateau d'Annecy was made into a barracks, a role which it occupied until 1947. Now partially restored to its former glory, its days as an aristocratic abode are long gone, but its former inhabitants live on in the medieval armoury, furniture and various artefacts displayed around the museum. There's also an art exhibition and an aquarium inside, but even if you don't go in, it's worth the walk up there for a very pretty building with a great view of the city.
June 1st to September 30th
October 1st to May 31st
Under 12 Admission
1 Place du Château
France 74000 Annecy