Venice conjures up the most intricately romantic images – from late night rendezvous hand-in-hand atop arched bridges to the enchanting rhythm of the canals as they push through to the Adriatic, helped along by the city’s most profoundly recognisable denizens – the Gondoliers. Therefore it’s understandable that other cities would want to be like it – all around the world from Russia to China, cities are clamouring to be the ‘Venice of the north’ and ‘little Venice’ in a bid to increase their tourist numbers.
Here are 3 of these other Venices.
Annecy – ‘The Venice of The Alps’, France
Annecy is one of those odd little market villages that one stumbles upon, most often, completely by accident – some on their way to Geneva which is just a few miles away and others as they make their ways to the ski resorts up in the mountains. The focal point of the town can be split evenly across two incredible features – firstly the old town whose veins are its emerald canals, and secondly the vast pool of translucent turquoise that is Lake Annecy – one of France’s cleanest and most beautiful lakes, which sits at the foot of a jagged collection of mountains, mere moments from the cobbled paths and enchanted alleyways of the old town.
See the cover image above for the main canal in Annecy and the image below which shows the outer courtyard wall of the Palais de l’Isle and one of the canals.
Little Venice in Paddington, London, UK
Paddington in North London is by far one of the capital’s most scenic neighbourhoods, but few make it as far as Little Venice. There is little actual resemblance to Venice here – save for the canal which leads to Camden (take a canal boat between the two), but the charm of the place is deserving of the name. It’s a wonderful place to spend a Sunday afternoon strolling next to the water, admiring the canal boats and quaffing a pint or two in one of the local pubs. Incidentally the name was taken on after Margery Allingham called a house overlooking the canal ‘Little Venice’ in her 1934 detective novel Death of a Ghost. The name caught on with estate agents who used the name to raise the profile of the area. It worked too as everyone from Bjork to Steven Fry have owned homes here.
The photo below shows the main canal in Little Venice during the Canalway Cavalcade, which takes place each May Bank Holiday.
La Petite Venise, Colmar, France
The Alsace region of France is a little spoiled when it comes to Venice-like canal-lined towns. However, La Petite Venise is the only one named after the city. This unique little village is already incredibly beautiful – it’s adorned throughout with fairytale-like Germanic architecture – but the small area of canals that are criss-crossed with iron-railed bridges is simply stunning. The architecture is the towns most beautiful aspect though – it influenced Disney when creating Beauty and the Beast, and Hayao Miyazaki when he created the stunning city featured in Howl’s Moving Castle.
Pictured here is the main canal curving around a collection of restaurants and antique homes that tilt inwards over the water.