A festival of costumes, canals and parks filled with crowds: you might think you were in Venice, but without the gondolas! Each year, in the weekend following Shrove Tuesday, the city of Annecy recreates the magic of the Venetian carnival.
For three days, several hundred masks from all over Europe parade and pose in the streets of the old town, by the lake, on Le Pâquier field, in the Jardins de l'Europe gardens or along the canals, in customary silence. Everyone vies to have the most colourful and eye-catching costume, and to display the most decorations and creativity. Many are inspired by characters from the Commedia dell'arte, like Harlequin with his black mask and diamond-patterned suit. Others opt for the classic white, decorated mask with a feathered hat and beaded outfit.
The Venetian carnival has been organised by ARIA (Association Rencontres Italie Annecy - Italy Annecy Meeting Association) since 1996. Every year the members and volunteers make their own costumes, following their whims and inspirations. Whatever the weather, the event attracts thousands of spectators and a crowd of photographers who have all come in search of the perfect shot.