Winter scene illuminated on the Palais de l'Isle in Annecy, Haute Savoie, France
Illuminating the Alps. Illuminating Annecy
Who knew that an 800-year-old structure could look so festive? The pretty holiday illumination you see is adorning the side of the Palais de l'Ile, a distinctive historic building in the town of Annecy, France, high in the French Alps. Designated a historic monument in 1900, the medieval structure is perched on a small islet in the Canal du Thiou.
Over the years, this house 'in the shape of a ship' has served as a palace for local nobility, a prison, a courthouse, an administrative building for the regional government, and today is a museum of local history. The town of Annecy itself, dubbed 'the pearl of the French Alps,' was annexed during the French Revolution. Today it's the largest city in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region of southeastern France. Near the border with Switzerland, the area is also home to Lake Annecy, the third-largest lake in France. It's a popular tourist draw for skiers in winter, and hikers and cyclists in summer.