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Paragliders sail like bright balloons over the clean mountain water of Lake Annecy, while hikers standing on the massive rock of Roc de Che`re look on. The hike through the 494-acre nature reserve is strenuous, but worth it. The view is breathtaking with Lac d'Annecy stretching below at the base of the mountain. Surrounded by mountains and set in the Rhone-Alpes region of southeastern France, Lac d'Annecy has been inspiring writers and artists for centuries, and drawing visitors from around the world.
Shaped like a twisted eight, glacial Lake Annecy formed about 18,000 years ago and today spans about 6,700 acres. Before the last ice age it was actually two lakes separated by a ridge. Today the ridge is underwater and its previous location is marked by a straight (channel) with the village of Duingt on the west and the village of Talloires on the east. The part of Lac d'Annecy to the north of the straight is known as Grand Lac or Great Lake. To the south is Petit Lac or Small Lake. The main inflow into the lake is from an underground spring, and the lake also receives water from the Rivers Ire and Eau Morte in the south and Laudon in the east. The main outflow is the River Thiou in the north which continues on to the Rhone River.
The area around Lac d'Annecy is one of the oldest inhabited areas in the northern Alps. In fact the remains of a lakeside village near the present day Annecy-le-Vieux may date back as far as 3,100 BC. Lac d'Annecy literally means Lake of Annecy. In 1107 "New Annecy" was established on either side of the River Thiou eventually growing into today's city of Annecy on the north end of the lake. Annecy has a long rich history, and the charming city has prominent buildings from almost every century. During the 12th through the 16th century a castle was built in Annecy that became the home of the exiled Counts of Geneva. In 1953 the castle became a museum. On an island surrounded by water, the Palais de l'Ile was the 12th century home of the Lords of Annecy and then the administration center for the Counts of Geneva. It went on to serve as a prison from the Middle Ages through 1865. It is one of Annecy's most photographed buildings and has been open to the public as a museum since 1952.
Lake of Annecy or Annecy Lake is surrounded with small, lakeside villages each with its own flavor and charm. There are markets to wander through, shops to browse and plenty of waterfront restaurants serving hearty mountain food. Annecy Lake caters to tourists so there are lakeside vacation rentals and lots to do while visiting. The lake buzzes with activity, but at 23 miles long it is large enough not to seem crowded. Guests can water ski, windsurf, sail, swim and boat either on their own or on a boat cruise. Fishing is popular, and fish species include lake trout, char, perch, burbot, and roach. There is a road around Lac d'Annecy, and in 2009 it was used for a Tour de France time trial. For anyone wishing to live permanently among this active lake's markets, water sports, and history, there is real estate for sale.
With its clear water set against the backdrop of the majestic Alps and history layered century by century, it is no wonder artists and visitors alike have been charmed by Lac d'Annecy.
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