Lake Annecy (Lac d'Annecy)

Max. Length 14.6 km
Max. Width 3.2 km
Surface Area 27.59 sq km
Average Depth 41m
Max. Depth 82 m
Surface Elevation 446.97 m

Lake Annecy (French Lac d'Annecy) is a lake in Haute-Savoie in France. It is the second largest lake in France, after lac du Bourget. Lac Léman (Lake Geneva) is overlooked because approximately 59% of the lake is under Swiss jurisdiction. It is known as "Europe's cleanest lake" because of strict environmental regulations introduced in the 1960s. It is a popular tourist destination known for its swimming and water sports.

The lake was formed about 18,000 years ago by large alpine glaciers. It is fed by many small rivers from the surrounding mountains (Ire, Eau morte, Laudon, Bornette and Biolon), and from a powerful underwater source, the Boubioz, which enters at 82 m depth.

Lake Annecy Navigation

Unlike other French and Italian lakes, Lake Annecy has never been famous for water activities. Until recently the shores of the lake have been considered to be unhealthy because of their humidity. Only a few fisherman used to live around it. Villages were always located a few hundred metres away from the shore.

Nowadays there are numerous ports and leisure centres around Lake Annecy, including:

  • Water sports centre of Annecy.
  • Port des Marquisats of Annecy.
  • Port Albigny of Annecy-le-Vieux, 214 mooring rings.
  • Nautical centre of petit-Port of Annecy-le-Vieux.
  • Nautical centre of the port des Champs of Veyrier-du-Lac.
  • Port and nautical centre of Menthon-Saint-Bernard.
  • Port of Talloires.
  • Nautical centre of Gliere
  • Port and nautical centre of La Nubliere of Doussard.
  • Port of Duingt.
  • Port and nautical centre of Saint-Jorioz, 342 mooring rings.
  • Port and nautical centre of Sévrier.

Needless to say, you can now navigate the lake quite comfortably thanks to the many ports and nautical centres that are all around Lake Annecy.

Lake Annecy Tourism and Culture

The official annual firework celebrations of the lake are one of the biggest in Europe (it lasts for about an hour and a half) and happens on the first saturday in August. There are some seats installed in order to allow people to enjoy the celebration, but it is also possible to see it from the surrounding cities and towns as well as from the surrounding mountains. More than 40,000 tickets are sold every year and more than 150,000 people watch it from the shores of the lake, surrounding mountains or boats.

The origins of this celebration derives from the creation of the Savoie and Haute-Savoie departments. From the 29th to the 31st of August 1860, Napoleon III and the empress Eugenie attended these celebrations.

Until the 1950s, the lake was used as a place where surrounding communes used to drop their used and dirty waters. As a result, the lake was almost condemned to remain unhealthy forever, but the authorities realised they had to do something about it. This is why in 1957 8 communes decided to create the SILA (Intermunicipal Union for Lake Annecy). This group now includes 113 communes, representing 250,000 inhabitants on environmental issues.

Lake Annecy Activities

You can enjoy different kinds of activities on Lake Annecy despite its reduced size and the fact that it is surrounded by mountains such as Mont Veyrier or Mont Semnoz. This is one of its strengths as it creates some unstable winds, most of the time unexpected, which give an interesting aspect to sports on the lake. Lake Annecy has, for that reason, been used for the light cruiser French sailing championship in 2009.

Fishing as a leisure activity is very well developed in Lake Annecy. Lake fishing is the most popular activity in that area with more than 1,200 fishermen on their boats and around 600 fishing from the shores. The regulation of this activity is made by the association Annecy Lac Peche. Other lake activities include lake sailing and water skiing.

There are also five rowing clubs spread around Lake. Some of them offer competition and high level practice, others just for fun and as a leisure activity:

  • Cercle Nautique d'Annecy
  • Aviron Club, Club des sports Annecy-le-Vieux
  • Aviron de Sevrier
  • Cercle nautique de Talloires
  • Club nautique de Doussard

Just like on the other major French Lakes, jet skiing is strictly forbidden for safety reasons mainly. Jet skiing can indeed be quite dangerous when performed during the summer period when the lake is busy.