The France, for more than 50 years at the bottom of the lake
The France was one of the last steamers, it sank in front of the Imperial in Annecy in 1971. Since then, this wreck is visited by 7000 divers every year.
The last steamboat on Lake Annecy
This ship is distinguished at its construction in Switzerland by its mode of propulsion, it is a paddle steamer. Its steam engine allows it to develop 350 horses. It reaches a speed that allows it to navigate at 14 knots or 23 km/h, which is important for the time. Because the France, after its assembly in the old shipyards of Puya in Annecy, is named and launched on May 13, 1909.
For Lake Annecy, its dimensions impressed the public at the time: 47 meters long, 12 meters wide and 2 decks of over 40 meters.
Its use is primarily devoted to the transport of passengers who can go around the lake in 2 hours with several stops. Its capacity allows it to embark up to 700 passengers and goods. During the Second World War, it was used as a prison, then afterwards, it is the tourist activity that allows it to be profitable.
The France in 1964 on the lake of Annecy
Unfortunately, it is not up to standards anymore in 1963 and it is bought by a Parisian businessman. Moored off the beach of the Imperial, it will remain so until March 12, 1971.
A tragic fate for a mythical ship
In the night of March 12 to 13, 1971, it sank to the bottom of the waters of Lake Annecy by 42 meters deep. Several far-fetched hypotheses have been put forward to explain this wreck. However, the probable cause seems to be the accumulation of several factors: insufficient maintenance, freezing and a waterway.
Fortunately, this wreck did not cause any victim.
In the collective memory of the people of Annecy, this ship was a symbol of Lake Annecy. Projects of restoration or construction of an identical boat have even been considered. Nowadays, only experienced divers have the chance to admire this ship.
The wreck of the France is visited by 7000 divers annually
In fifty years, the France has become one of the most famous freshwater wrecks in the world. Set at 42 meters deep in front of the Imperial Palace, the France is damaged at the back, but it is still very well preserved. Diving enthusiasts discover a ship laid flat as if it was going to sail. Inside, you can enter the billiard room and the engine room, you can swim between the two decks and pass by the central staircase.
The main attraction of this dive is the excellent level of conservation of the ship.
Diving on the France
The wreck is visited all year long by many diving clubs of the lake of Annecy. Attention It is a technical dive accessible with a level 3. In summer, the surface water is at 24°C, but at the bottom, it is 6°C and almost dark.
We propose you a guide on the practice of the diving in the lake of Annecy.