You are here

Listed as a historic monument in 1900, the Palais de l'Ile, often described as a "house in the shape of a ship" has been a prison, a courthouse and an administrative centre. It is an original structure, the oldest parts of which date from the 12th century.

Firstly a simple quadrangular building described as a stronghold, which occasionally housed the prison and the minting workshop of the Counts of Geneva, today, the building referred to as the Palais de l'Ile is an original medieval monument: It is built on a natural rocky island.

The stronghold was referred to for the first time in 1325 as a prison when the lord of Annecy paid Jean de Monthoux, the lord of Isle, for food for two prisoners.

In 1355, Count Amadeus III of Geneva was awarded "the right to mint gold and silver on his land" by the Emperor Charles IV of the Holy Empire. A construction campaign led to the creation of a minting workshop which ceased activity at the end of the 14th century. The Geneva family died out. Annecy and the Geneva region were attached to the Duchy of Savoie and Duke Amadeus VIII gave the residence to the Monthoux family.

At the end of the 16th century, the house which sheltered the courthouse, became known as the Palais de Justice de l'Ile.

After the 18th century, the building was used for administrative functions, but also continued to be used as a prison up until 1864 when a new prison was built. This has since been destroyed. The Palais de l'Ile became a home for the elderly between 1865 and 1880.

At the time, Annecy Municipal Council made plans to demolish the Palais de l'Ile in order to make room for baths, but the project was abandoned. The building was used temporarily as a school for stone carvers and carpenters, a gymnasium and accommodation.

The novelist Andre Theuriet and Charles Suisse, the Inspector for Historic Monuments, spoke out against the planned demolition. On 16 February 1900, the Palais de l'Ile was listed as a historic monument and a first phase of renovation work was launched. The final phase of restoration dates from 1983-1985.

Approximate duration of the visit: 60 minutes

  • Opening periods and fees

    • Opening hours:

      Every day throughout the year.

      Closed on Tuesday.

    • Fees:

      Adult: 3.90 €
      Child: 2 €.

      Free entry for children < 12 years.
      Group rate available for > 5 people.

    • Payment methods:
  • Onsite services

    • This building can be visited
    • Documentation language(s): German / English / Spanish / French / Italian / Dutch / Russian / Chinese
  • Complementary information

    • In the direct vicinity : Town location / On an island / Pedestrian area
    • GPS coordinates :
      • Latitude : 45.898578
      • Longitude : 6.126948
    • Other information : Bad weather alternative