I had been wanting to see and experience « Annecy Paysages » ever since its conception last summer . . .
« Annecy Paysages » is a festival that was imagined as an itinerary through an urban centre, for spectators to wander and view the works of art that have been conceived to juxtapose and highlight the fragile balance between nature and urban life, in this beautiful city nestled between lake and mountains. A festival leaving room for thoughtful contemplation of the ” 32 installations artistiques et paysagères dans les sites emblématiques de la ville “. The art installations, all so unique – and yet bringing together artists, architects and landscape designers – are placed in 3 emblamatic locations in this fabulous city: the historic centre, the Jardins de l’Europe and the Parc Charles Bossons.
Last weekend, on a beautiful sunny day, I finally found a window for a visit en famille. Despite it still being summer holiday season, and BUSY, we still had a fabulous time.
I had briefly looked at the map on the website of the different parcours, and realised that we’d not able to see everything that I had in mind . . . but I had some ideas in my head of what I wanted to see, and then we went with the flow! The flow worked out well (with numerous stops for playing football, enjoying playgrounds, eating ice-cream and a pedalo outing!), but I would recommend not being quite as ambitious as we were, unless you have solid-footed troopers (or good Daddy shoulders!). In the end, we walked (or ran!) miles and miles, and we were late returning home . . .
I would highly, highly recommend a visit to this festival before it ends on 15th September 2019. Once holiday season is over, it will be quieter over the next few weekends, and you’ll be able to enjoy the art installations in relative tranquility . . .
« Annecy Paysages » – deuxième édition
Last year, for the first edition of the festival, 22 works of art were installed in Annecy . . . and this year, some of the same iconic art pieces returned and then some new ones too. This second edition of the festival hosts 32 art installations.
For those lucky enough to live in Annecy, or those who are regular visitors to the town, the festival allows them to contemplate views that they perhaps pass every day, but from a different angle . . . For those visiting Annecy for the first time, they are treated to a colourful, ephemeral vision of the city!
« Annecy Paysages » 2019 is also a new association with the festival « Lausanne Jardins »; the two festivals have some twinned or mirrored artwork in a tranfrontalier project.
« Annecy Paysages » : artists, artwork & parcours
« Annecy Paysages » 2019 is a sum of 32 art installations set across 4 parcours :
- Centre Historique 1 (1 hour walk);
- Centre Historique 2 (1 hour walk);
- Les Jardins de l’Europe (45 mins walk);
- Le Parc Charles Bossons (30 mins walk);
For more information about the different parcours, see interactive map here.
To peruse the different artists and the location of their art installation, see pdf document here.
Here are some of the art installations that MBFF enjoyed on its wander . . .
One of my favourite art installations of « Annecy Paysages » 2019 is the now iconic Echappéé by Sylvie de Meurville. I had seen so many photos of it on various websites, but honestly had no idea what it was symbolising! It is, in fact, a metal cut out of the Lac d’Annecy, seen from above, with all the threads of water leading into the lake! I had a lovely exchange with a man who stood studying it and repeating “c’est juste magnifique” , which made the viewing experience even more special.
And I enjoyed viewing the equally iconic Breathing Lotus Flower by Choi Jeong Hwa . . .
Though, by this stage in our meandering, we were on the return journey back to the car, and my boys seemed more interested in the skaters . . . returning to the juxtoposition of nature and urban centre!
Advice for enjoying « Annecy Paysages » en famille
Firstly, I would concede that we were way too ambitious in the amount of ground we tried to cover on our visit to Annecy at the weekend! The boys were exhausted by the time that we returned to the car, which we had parked for free near the Parc Charles Bossons! But I knew that we wouldn’t be back in Annecy before the end of the festival, so we just went for it! I shall also concede that I definitely enjoyed the art installations much more than the boys, but they still enjoyed their day out in Annecy, as we fitted in lots of fun activitites, all the while getting to appreciate « Annecy Paysages » !
Our visit left plenty of time for PLAYING: a playground at the Parc Charles Bossons (behind the Palais Impérial Annecy), football in every green space we could find, an outing on a car-shaped pedalo, a playground in the the centre of town, a stop for sushi dinner at the lovely Sushi Box Annecy . . . ice-cream, more football . . .
On our stroll through the historic centre in the early evening, we happened across a playground just behind the cathedral (in the Square de l’Évêché), where we had stopped a couple of years ago with friends . . . it was right next to one of the art installations – Natures en Mouvement – which my younger son loved as it was a game for him to play there; an extension of the playround next door! . . . And the warm evening light was just sublime!
And we also managed to just wander in the city centre, and this is certainly something that the festival encourages . . . wandering and coming across artwork . . . around one corner, a herd of sheep (Troupeau by Adjie) . . .
And around another corner . . . Living Pavilion by Behin Ha Art Studio . . .
I loved seeing the art installations with people going about their quotidien: walking past, cycling past . . .
. . . even a football match in front of Echappéé by Sylvie de Meurville . . .
and swimming past, pedaloing or paddle boarding up close . . .
As we arrived in Annecy in the early afternoon, we managed to be there for early evening too . . . and viewing the art installations at different times of the day was also interesting . . . it made me think of the Impressionists painting the same scene in different light conditions, at different times of the day, during different seasons . . .
If you are planning a visit to « Annecy Paysages » en famille, then here are some words of advice from MBFF:
- distance – I would firstly advise planning on covering a little less terrain than we did! The parcours in the centre historique can combine easily with the parcours in the Jardins de l’Europe, especially if you choose to park nearer the centre of town (Palais de Justice or Hôtel de Ville car parks)!
- playgrounds – plan some play stops! There are fabulous playgrounds in Annecy – one in the Parc Charles Bosson, two in the Jardins de l’Europe, one behind the cathedral in the centre of the old town . . . and more that we have yet to discover!
- swimming, beaches & pedalos – you could plan a little beach time down at the free beach by the Parc Charles Bossons (Plage d’Albigny), or the paying beach zone of the Impérial Palace, with its helter skelter slide!) . . . or hire a pedalo from Le Pâquier . . .
- bring your own bikes & trottinettes – if you do decide to cover as much terrain as us (or even if doing a shorter parcours), then I’d advise you to bring your own scooters, push bikes and bikes for little ones! (or footballs, like us!);
- hire a bike or electric trottinettes – for more information, see here;
- trottinettes électriques en libre-service – Annecy now has electric trottinettes by Flash available for hire with a smartphone, scattered around town;
- petit train touristique – this little trains chugs along from the Parc Charles Bossons to the historic centre!
- buggies – « Annecy Paysages » is a perfect buggy visit; all the parcours are suitable!