On the road
Prefecture : Annecy
Sub-prefectures : Bonneville, Saint-Julien-en-Genevois, Thonon-les-Bains
Population : 740,000
Websites : www.cg74.fr
As part of the Duchy of Savoy which only became French in 1860, Haute-Savoie has kept a strong identity fuelled by its close ties with its Swiss and Italian neighbours. A mountainous area with some the highest summits in France, it is also a very active land in the valley along the Lake Geneva and the Annecy lake. Very attractive because of its border position and its economic vitality, Haute Savoie sees its population grow steadily and now boasts more than 740,000 inhabitants.
Prefecture : Chambery
Subprefectures : Albertville, Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne
Population : 415,000
Website : www.savoie-mont-blanc.com
Tourism has been the main economic strength of Savoie for many years. With its 60 ski resorts, its three natural parks : Vanoise, Bauges and Chartreuse, and its six spa towns : Aix-les-Bains, Aix Marlioz, Challes-les-eaux, Brides-les-Bains, la Léchère, Salins-les-Thermes.
The department offers plenty of opportunities to visitors. Metal and energetic industries combined with cross-border exchanges accounft for a low rate of unemployment. Along with its natural beauty, Savoie also has many remains from the prestigious past of the Duchy of Savoy, the Chambery castle being the most remarkable. Savoie hosted the 1992 Winter Olympics in Albertville.
Km 1.5 : Sevrier
Population : 3,900
Sevrier was already known in Roman times when a road between Annecy and Faverges went through it. Human presence is even much older since two of the 111 stilt house villages in the Alps listed as World Heritage sites by UNESCO are on its soil.
The Paccard bell foundry, created in 1796, settled in Sevrier in 1989. Several hundred bells are produced each year and 70 pc are exported. Since the beginning of the company, 80,000 bells were made. On the town hall square stand a big ball of 39.64 tons and three meters in diameter. The granite block was carved by Tiunetti between 1965 and 1968.
Comedian Andre Dussolier, who was born in Annecy, owns a residence in Sevrier.
Palafitte sites (from the Italian meaning planted poles) are the vestiges of prehistoric dwellings built on lakes and dating from 5,000 to 500 BC.
In 1856, a Lausanne researcher evoked the possibility of such villages in the lakes of Savoy and Switzerland and searches in the lake of Annecy proved him right. Thanks to the progress of diving, research improved considerably. Some 40 such sites have now been listed around the lake.
Website : www.sevrier.fr
Second French region by his size, its economic importance and its population, the Rhone-Alpes region is also ranked 6thin Europe. This huge space with a population of six million inhabitants articulates around four main centres: Lyon, Grenoble, St Etienne and even Geneva which, thanks to its proximity, plays an active part in the region's trade and exchanges. Almost every type of industry can be found in such a vast area, but the region never forgets its tradition of fine wines, excellent fruit and succulent food.
Website : www.rhonealpes.fr
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