Annecy in the North of the French Alps, is called touristically the Venice of Savoie. The medieval town centre built around a 14th Century Chateau is dissected by small canals and streams running out of Lac Annecy, which is clean, fresh and a wonderful azure colour. Annecy is also the prefecture of the département of Haute-Savoie.
Nicknamed the "Pearl of French Alps" in Raoul Blanchard's monograph describing its location between lake and mountains, the city controls the northern entrance to the lake gorge. Due to a lack of available building land between the lake and the protected Semnoz mountain, its population remained stagnant, around 50,000 inhabitants, since 1950. However, the 2017 merger with several ex-communes extended the city population to 124,401 inhabitants, and 203,078 for its urban area, 6th regional position below Annemasse, which counts 292,000 inhabitants in the northern department. Switching from counts of Geneva's dwelling in the 13th century, to counts of Savoy's in the 14th century, the city became Savoy's capital in 1434 during the Genevois-Nemours prerogative until 1659. Its role increased in 1536, during the Calvinist Reformation in Geneva, while the bishop took refuge in Annecy. Saint Francis de Sales gave Annecy its advanced Catholic citadel role known as Counter-Reformation. The annexation of Savoy merged the city to France in 1860.