About thirty miles south of Lake Geneva in the Haute-Savoie region of France is Lake Annecy on which paddle steamers once regularly ran between Annecy in the north and Doussard in the south calling at intermediate piers.
One of these was the Ville d’Annecy (pictured above). She was built in 1900 by the Swiss company Escher-Wyss of Zurich. She was 42m long and ran up and down the lake until 1958 after which she was broken up.
The last paddle steamer operating on the lake was also the largest, the France, built in 1909. At 47.25m long she was a little larger than the Ville d’Annecy and she more closely resembled the Escher-Wyss steamers on the Swiss lakes. Withdrawn in 1963, the France subsequently sank in 1971 and her largely intact wreck has recently been visited by divers.
For more details of the Lake Annecy paddle steamers and fascinating pictures of the wreck of the France on the bottom of the lake have a look at the excellent Les Vapeurs a aubes du Lac d’Annecy here.
Kingswear Castle returned to service in 2023 after the first part of a major rebuild which is designed to set her up for the next 25 years running on the River Dart. The Paddle Steamer Kingswear Castle Trust is now fund raising for the second phase of the rebuild. You can read more about the rebuilds and how you can help if you can here.