Castles to discover
On the water, overlooking the lake, in the old town, in more remote locations: castles are dotted around the territory of Lake Annecy. Each one has its own history, anecdotes and panoramas. Set out to discover them; for the time being, these monuments are your homes...
Castle of Annecy
Classified as a historic monument in 1959, the Château d’Annecy was the residence of the Counts of Geneva in the 13th and 14th centuries. Over the next two centuries, new developments gave the castle its unique appearance, a synthesis of medieval defensive architecture and elegance inspired by the style of the castles of the Ile de France. Abandoned as a residence in the 17th century, it was used as a military barracks until 1947. In 1952, many homeless people invaded the castle, until the commune bought it and restored it the following year.
Today it houses the Castle-Museum and the Regional Observatory of the Alpine Lakes (ORLA).
© Gilles Piel / Le Château d'Annecy
Castle of Menthon-Saint-Bernard
Overlooking Lake Annecy, the Château de Menthon-Saint-Bernard has been adorned over the centuries with such romantic subtlety that a certain Walt Disney was inspired by it in “Sleeping Beauty”. Built from the 11th to the 20th century, the castle is nestled on a rocky spur: it offers a sublime view of the lake and the mountains. It is a precious testimony to what life was like in a Savoyard fortress, which was gradually transformed into a rich seigneurial residence.
It remains one of the few castles in France to have belonged to the same family for 23 known generations – over 1,000 years. The de Menthon family opens the doors of this Savoyard architectural jewel…
© Monica Dalmasso / Château de Menthon-Saint-Bernard
Castle of Duingt
The Château de Duingt, on the peninsula, is literally in the heart of Lake Annecy. Built in the 13th century, Châteauvieux was originally on an island and underwent several modifications until the 18th century. This fortress of medieval origin was owned by the de Sales family and the Marquis François de Sales and became a residential castle.
The de Certeau family has been preserving this historical heritage for almost 200 years. The castle, the terraces and the landing stage have been listed as historic monuments. Through the association “La Presqu’île de l’imaginaire”, the castle opens its doors to the general public for several cultural and artistic events. A unique opportunity to discover this magical place…
© Gilles Piel / Château de Duingt
Castle of Montrottier
The Château de Montrottier occupies an important position due to its proximity to one of the only crossings over a raging river: the Fier. Built in the 13th century for its strategic and military role, it became over time a place of residence for illustrious families of the region.
Léon Marès, a singular collector, bequeathed his estate and its unique collections to the Florimontane Academy on his death in 1916. Montrottier, a castle protected as a Historic Monument, is the incarnation of the castle of childhood tales. It invites you to travel through time, fashion and culture…
© Semaphore – P. Leroy / Château de Montrottier
Castle of Thorens – Closed for renovation
The Château de Thorens is built on an ancient fort dating from 1060, erected to watch over the Usillon valley and control the old Roman road linking Thônes to Geneva. Inhabited by the de Sales family since 1602, it was the residence of Saint François de Sales and the holiday home of Camille de Cavour (founder of Italian unity). It preserves works and objects of art of these two illustrious characters and their family.
Through the dungeons, guard rooms, kitchen with imposing fireplaces, richly furnished rooms decorated with works of art… this castle invites you to discover a thousand-year-old heritage.
© Semaphore – P. Leroy / Château de Thorens