|Location||Annecy, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, France (Google Maps)|
|Open for Visitors||Yes|
|Official Website||Chateau d’Annecy|
Nestled in the French Alps, Chateau d’Annecy is a breathtakingly beautiful castle that has been perfectly preserved for centuries. If you’re planning a trip to this historic landmark, here’s everything you need to know!
Château d’Annecy History
The castle was first built in the late 11th century by the powerful Count of Geneva, Humbert II, who created the first fortifications. The castle then passed to the House of Savoy in 1291 and was greatly expanded by Amadeus V. In 1343, it was occupied by the Duke of Lancaster, who added a new residential building known as the “Lancaster Tower”. In 1401, Anne de Beaujeu, daughter of Amadeus VIII, converted the castle into a residence for the Order of St. Maurice. After her death in 1491, it was inherited by her niece, Marguerite de L’Isle-Jourdain.
In 1536, Francis I gave the Château d’Annecy to his sister-in-law Claude de France as a residence for when she visited the Duchy of Genevois. After Claude’s death in 1524, it remained unused for many years. In 1631 it was bought by Henri II de Montmorency-Bouteville, who carried out major renovations and expansions. The Château d’Annecy then passed to his son Henri Jules and then to Henri Jules’ son Louis François I de Bourbon-Condé in 1692.
In 1788, at the start of the French Revolution, Louis François II sold the chateau to Anne-Claude-Philiberte de Durfort-Duras. It remained private until 1941, when the town of Annecy acquired it. Many years later, it underwent major restoration work, which was finally completed in 2000. Today it is open to visitors all year round and is one of Annecy’s most popular tourist attractions.
Château d’Annecy Architecture
Situated on the banks of beautiful Lake Annecy in the French Alps, Chateau d’Annecy is a breathtaking sight. The castle’s exterior has many elements of early Renaissance architecture, while the interior is decorated in a more Baroque style. The architecture of Château d’Annecy is a mix of traditional French and Italian styles. The main body of the castle is in the French Renaissance style, while the north wing is in the Italianate style. The castle has a rectangular plan with four towers at the corners.
The main entrance is in the north wing, with a grand staircase leading to the second floor. The south wing contains the chapel, while the east and west wings were used for residential quarters and other functional rooms. The castle has a total of 85 rooms, including 25 bedrooms.
The castle’s exterior is decorated with numerous statues, reliefs, and other ornamental features. On the roofline, 92 gargoyles and 72 rain spout in the form of animals or mythological creatures. There are also several terraces and balconies overlooking the surrounding countryside.
Inside Château d’Annecy
Dividing the interior into an upper and a lower castle, the overall design is that of an impressive series of staircases, balconies and loggias. The decorative scheme is an extravagant combination of painting, stucco work and sculpture, culminating in the Salle des Etats on the first floor of the lower castle. This room was the meeting place for the States of Savoy. Also, it is one of the most sumptuous rooms in Europe, with a magnificent coffered ceiling by Pierre Borra from 1531-32, painted by Andrea Spiridon and Giovanni Stradano. Elaborately carved frames surround the doorways and windows, and paintings are on every wall space. In addition to a series of full-length portraits of House of Savoy members, there are mythological scenes and departmental emblems.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who built Château d’Annecy?
The beautiful Château d’Annecy was built in the early 13th century by Duke Louis of Savoy. The castle served as the duke’s residence and military fortification. It was an essential regional stronghold between France and England during the Hundred Years’ War.
When is Château d’Annecy open?
The castle is open to the public from June 1st to September 15th, every day from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (last admission at 5 p.m.)
On the first Sunday of every month from November to March, the castle is open from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. (last admission at 4:30 p.m.).
The castle is also open for school groups and special events on specific days during the year (call +33 4 50 45 03 03 for more information).
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