Every year in Winter an elegant and mysterious carnival takes place in the French Alps town of Annecy. With people wearing fantastic Venetian-style masks, the Annecy Venetian Carnival is one of the most beautiful in France and attracts thousands of visitors in the fantastic setting of Annecy and its romantic lake surrounded by snow-capped mountains.
The Annecy Venetian Carnival
The use of Venetian-style masks during the Annecy Carnival was first introduced by ARIA (a local italophile association) on the 16 March 1996. A few dozen people paraded with their Venetian-style masks. The following year, more than 40 people joined the event and as it became more popular over the years, it became one of the major cultural events run in Annecy (with approximately 350 masks). Now known as Carnaval Vénitien d’Annecy (Annecy Venetian Carnaval), it takes place over two days in February and includes parades, conferences, exhibitions and concerts.
There are no parades organised with noisy marching bands and crazy jugglers. Instead the hundreds of people wearing masks are invited to quietly wander the streets bordering the canals of the old town. On Saturday and Sunday at 2pm, all costumed people are invited to step on the stage set up in the Jardin de l’Europe by the lake.
In case of bad weather (rain or snow), people wearing masks can be found under the many old arcades in the old town or inside the Bonlieu Conference Centre. As soon as the weather permits it, they are back to the canals. This makes the carnival of Annecy a free event for everyone.
In 2016 the Venetian Carnival of Annecy will celebrate its 20th anniversary and will take place on Saturday 20 and Sunday 21 February.
Find out more about the programme for the 2016 edition of Annecy Carnival.
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