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 the lack of available land, its resident population has remained stagnant, with 52,029 inhabitants living within the city limits in 2013. However, its urban area, with 221,000 inhabitants, is on the 5th regional position, just behind the Geneva-Annemasse urban area, 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 the capital of the Savoy province in 1434 during the prerogative of Genevois-Nemours until 1659. Its role increased in 1536, during the Calvinist Reformation of Geneva, while the bishop took refuge in Annecy. St Francis de Sales gave Annecy its role of advanced citadel of the Catholic Counter-Reformation. The annexation of Savoy will link the city to France in 1860.
Sometimes called "Venice of the Alps", this idyllic and touristic representation comes from its two canals and the Thiou river lying through the old city and whose initial role was to protect the city and to empower its handicrafts. The city experienced an industrial development in the 19th century with silk manufacturing. Some of its industrial legacy remains today within the head offices of NTN-SNR bearings, Salomon, Entremont and Dassault Aviation.
Since the end of the 19th century, Annecy has developed as a tourist center with the proximity of the lake, winter resorts and the renovation of its castle, inaugurated with the opening of its fine art museum in 1956. The municipal environmental policy managed to keep 40.3% of green spaces and the city and was awarded the "Golden Flower" in 2015, given to the nine most-flowered French cities. Since 1960 Annecy has been the organiser of the Annecy International Animated Film Festival, hosted at the Bonlieu Cultural Centre. It has also been a growing educational center since the establishment of the University of Savoy in 1973.