Annecy is a dynamic city, just like the Haute-Savoie department. There are many cultural events throughout the year. Some are even part of the tradition, such as the Venetian Carnival or the Descent of the Alps. Here is a look back at the highlights of the Venice of the Alps.
A rich and varied cultural agenda
Annecy is a city that has a varied and high quality cultural programme throughout the year. The different events are very different and this is a way of attracting a wide range of audiences.
From Bonlieu Scène Nationale to theArcadium, through the streets of Annecy and the Place Saint-François de Menthon, there are many places in the city that lend themselves to cultural events. You can, for example, attend traditional festivals such as the Retour des Alpages, the Venetian Carnival or the Alpine Christmas, but also thematic festivals such as the International Festival of Animated Cinema or Annecy Paysages. Great shows also take place in Annecy, such as the Fête du Lac.
Major cultural events in Annecy
Throughout the year, cultural events follow one another in Annecy. We suggest you discover the main and most emblematic ones of the lakeside city.
The International Animation Film Festival
The International Animation Film Festival takes place every year in June. For a week, Annecy becomes the world capital of animated films. For the occasion, many films are previewed.
The festival was created in 1960 and welcomes film lovers from all over the world. It is open to the general public and provides an opportunity to meet directors and other professionals of the animated image. Every year, it is possible to become a volunteer at the festival. A unique opportunity to learn more about this world.
More information: International Animation Film Festival
The Italian Film Festival
Another must-see event for film lovers in Annecy is the Italian Film Festival. Created in 1983, it offers all kinds of films, screened in their original version. It is therefore a good opportunity to practice your Italian.
Every year, prestigious guests come to Annecy to present their films, both actors and directors. Sessions are also dedicated to the younger ones and are rated ACI Giovani.
The screenings take place in several locations in the city, such as Bonlieu or the Nemours.More information: Italian Film Festival
The Venetian Carnival
The Venetian Carnival takes place in March each year in the streets of Annecy. The event is particularly appropriate for the town, which is nicknamed the Venice of the Alps because of the canals in the Old Town.
Hundreds of people dress up in their best costumes for the occasion. And the masks are not to be outdone.
The Venetian Carnival is free of charge, not least because it takes place outdoors.More information: Venetian Carnival
Events at the heart of Annecy’s traditions
Certain cultural events have become traditions in Annecy. The people of Annecy, and more generally the people of Haut-Savoie, would not miss them under any circumstances. Here are some of them.
The Descent of the Alps
The Descente des Alpages is certainly the event that attracts the most people in one day in Annecy. Indeed, between 80,000 and 100,000 people are expected to attend each edition.
The Descente des Alpages took place for the first time in 1973. It marks the end of summer and the return of the herds to the valley as autumn approaches. A parade is organised in the centre of Annecy, in which folklore groups, local bands and farmers take part.
Formore information: the Descent from the Alps
The Lake Festival
The Lake Festival is a must in Annecy. More than 200,000 spectators are expected every year for this flagship event of the lakeside city. And while it is possible to buy tickets to watch the fireworks, you can also enjoy them free of charge at various locations in and around Annecy.
The Fête du Lac was created in 1860, on the occasion of the visit to Annecy of Napoleon III and Empress Eugénie. Since then, this nocturnal event has been held every year on the first Saturday of August.
More information: La Fête du Lac
Christmas in the Alps
The Alpine Christmas takes place every year in Annecy. It is the city’s Christmas market, which starts in mid-November and ends in early January.
In addition to the traditional chalets, illuminations are installed in the streets of the city. The emblematic buildings are also the scene of light shows, every evening.
A cultural programme also allows the inhabitants of Annecy to have a good time before the festivities.More information: Annecy’s Alpine Christmas
Haute-Savoie, land of cultural events
Like Annecy, many cultural events are organised in Haute-Savoie. Although some are more firmly rooted in the region than others, the choice is still vast. We suggest you discover three of them.
The Médiévales of Andilly
The Médiévales d’Andilly take place every year at the time of the Ascension and Pentecost. These two long weekends are synonymous with a return to the Middle Ages, with jousting and knightly combat.
Various activities are offered in Andilly on this occasion, which makes the younger ones happy. Among other things, you can find out what everyday life was like in the Middle Ages.
In view of the popularity of the Médiévales, it is best to book your ticket in advance.
More information: Les Grandes Médiévales d’Andilly
The Chamonix Guides’ Festival
The Fêtes des Guides de Chamonix was created in 1924. The mountain professionals decided to pay tribute to their colleagues who were killed by an avalanche while climbing Mont Blanc.
Today, it is a major event in the Chamonix valley. The guides parade through the resort and many activities are proposed.
The aim is also to raise funds which are then donated to the Caisse de Secours.
More information: mountaineering in Haute-Savoie
Au Bonheur des Mômes in Grand Bornand
Au Bonheur des Mômes is an event for children which takes place every year at the end of August in Grand Bornand.
Each year, more than 90,000 people come to the festival to enjoy the entertainment and shows on offer.
A literary prize is also awarded every year to a children’s novel, selected from among 5 books. The winner is chosen by the children, who must send in a ballot before the festival begins.
More info: Grand Bornand ski resort
Important cultural events in Chambéry
The city of Chambéry, which is not far from Annecy, also hosts a number of major cultural events. We have selected two of them which take place at the Manège, in the city centre.
The International Comics Festival, Chambéry
Every year in September and October, the International Comics Festival takes place at the Manège. About sixty authors are present. They come from all over Europe and sometimes from further afield to present their works.
Every year, thousands of visitors come to the festival to meet the authors and make new discoveries in the field of comics.
Activities are also organised at the Espace Malraux and the Carré Curial.
Le Tour du Monde au Manège, Chambéry
The Tour du Monde au Manège is an event that takes place every year in Chambéry. Foreign students from the University Savoie Mont Blanc (USMB) are invited to present their culture and traditions to the people of Chambéry.
5,000 participants gather each year for this festive weekend. Access to the World Tour at the Manège is entirely free and it is not necessary to register in advance.