Annecy bursts into life as soon as winter ends, as you can see from this photo from just a few days ago. The old town of Annecy becomes a labyrinth of tourists and locals lounging over long lunches on chairs and tables speckled over the cobblestone roads.
The intersection of Rue Royale and Rue Carnot, pictured, is no exception, with café patrons and shoppers filling the streets. This area is pushed to capacity during festivals such as the Venetian Carnival and the Annecy International Animation Festival, when people flock to Annecy. Rue Carnot links the old town to the new town, and is lined with shops on either side, making the road into a mall where cars do not enter.
This crossroad has a very different past, and one that I knew nothing about until an old man in Annecy pointed out this sign. The plaque appears right above the road sign on the crossroad of Rue Carnot and Rue Royale. The top line refers to the road being the ‘Route Nationale 201‘ – the main highway in the area. It lists some cities nearby, including Geneva at 41.8km away.
Now pedestrianiased, these two roads are the main arterial for nothing more than foot traffic these days. And if you’d asked me last week if these roads were ever part of a Route Nationale, I would have been certain that such narrow roads couldn’t have been.
The plaque is a fantastic reminder to look up regularly when you’re in a city, and finding it has motivated me to find some other interesting objects at height. Feel free to share any you’ve found, and watch this space for new ones!