Your private guide will pick you up from your hotel in Annecy at the start of your tour and lead you through the winding cobbled streets to the Canal du Thiou, one of the primary canals that traverses the city. Here, your guide will give you a brief introduction to Annecy’s layout, explaining the importance of the Thiou River, the shortest river in France, and describing the formation of the canals that run through the old town.
You then continue on to the old city gates to hear how Annecy came into prominence during the Middle Ages, how its marshy ground confined development, and how the silk industry affected its fortunes.
Next, you make your way to the hilltop castle overlooking the rooftops of the town and learn a little about the Counts of Geneva, who made their home here. Although you won’t go inside the castle as part of the walk, your guide will introduce you to its history and its aristocratic residents, and the role they played in the region.
You’ll then walk back down into the heart of the old town to explore the prettiest side streets, with their numerous old buildings, shops, cafes and restaurants. You’ll stop to admire Annecy’s 16th-century cathedral and then visit the city’s most renowned landmark, the Palais de l’Isle, a 12th-century prison on a diminutive island surrounded by the clear waters of the canals. Going inside, you’ll see the original cells as your guide recounts the building’s history as a courthouse, mint and private residence over the years.
Once you’ve had some time to look around, your guide can return with you to your hotel or offer suggestions for further places you can visit independently.