Chambéry

The Place of the elephants in Chambéry old town

Chambéry is a beautiful town in the Rhône-Alpes region of France. Chambéry is the birthplace and historic capital of Savoie. Throughout history, it has been both Italian and French. It lies in a valley in the Alps surrounded by the Bauges and Chartreuse mountain ranges and provides almost 360-degree views of the French Alps. To the north, it is bordered by Lac du Bourget, the largest natural lake in France. Chambéry has long been a "crossroads to the Alps" dating all the way back to the 11th century. For many years, it was ruled by the Duchy of Savoie before being annexed to the King of France. Jean-Jacques Rousseau wrote the Declaration of the Rights of Man (the French version of the Bill of Rights) while living in Chambéry.

Chambéry is a charming, peaceful place to visit with beautiful architecture, good food and wine, and friendly people. There are many vineyards in the area that visitors can enjoy, and on Saturdays, the city public market is abuzz with the freshest cheeses, meats, and local produce from the Alps. The area offers many recreational activities to choose from in all seasons, from skiing and snowshoeing, to sailing and rock climbing. The famous Tour de France bicycle race comes through the area in the summer. Chambéry also boasts the Savoie Technolac research park and the Universite de Savoie, and a mountain research center.

Get in

Rotonde ferroviaire de Chambéry (railway roundhouse of Chambéry)

Chambéry has direct TGV from Paris and other trains (TER, Train Express Regional) to all major destinations of the region. It takes 3.5 hours to get to Chambéry on the direct TGV. Chambéry is easily accessible to Lyon, Grenoble, Chamonix, Geneva (Switzerland), and Turin (Italy.)

It is linked by motorways to

There is also a small airport, Aéroport de Chambéry-Savoie (IATA: CMF), 10 km north of the city, next to Lac du Bourget, that is served by a number of cheap airlines, especially during the winter months.

Get around

Chambéry is compact in size and is easily explored on foot in a short amount of time. The medieval section of the town is quite well preserved. There are also local and regional buses. If you wish to explore the mountains or go on a wine tour, car rentals are available in town.

If you want a bit of exercise, you can also rent a bicycle and explore a bit further. Bicycles can be rented from the Vélostation in front of the train station: Agence Ecomobilité http://agence.ecomobilite.free.fr/ Only €3 for a half day and €5 for a full day. Open Monday-Friday 6:30AM-7PM and from 9AM-7PM on weekends and holidays.

Cycle paths: a cycle route goes from the centre of town north to the Lac du Bourget (mostly a cycle lane which is separate from the road) and another goes south into the vineyards (mixture of separate cycle lane and quiet country roads).

See

Roofs of the historical centre of Chambéry

Do

Curtains showing a scene from the legend of Orpheus, in the théâtre Charles Dullin

Shopping, eating, drinking, visiting vineyards, hiking, boating, skiing, snowshoeing, rock climbing, horseback riding

Buy

A light, yet sturdy knife from local company "Opinel"

Cheap shoes and clothing from the store Axo. Hard to find (ask the locals for directions) and terribly disorganized, but the prices are very good. A pair of ballerina flats usually goes for around €8.

Eat

Some foods to try are Fondue savoyarde, tartiflette, crêpes, and goats cheese.

Drink

Vins de Savoie, Chartreuse, O'Cardinal's Pub

Sleep

Go next

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Friday, January 29, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.