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.
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
- Lyon via A43 in the west
- Grenoble via A41 in the south
- Aix-les-Bains, Annecy and Geneva via A41 in the north
- Torino, Italy via ... and the tunnel of Fréjus in the east
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.
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).
- The medieval quarter of Chambéry holds many well-preserved streets and alleys. The most famous was the 8th-century Rue Basse du Château, which was tragically destroyed by a fire on January 1, 2001.
- The Chateau de Chambéry, once the residence of the Ducs de Savoie and whose chapel once housed the Shroud of Turin, is now the department of Savoie government offices.
- Place du Palais de Justice
- Hotel de Ville
- Place St-Leger
- Cathedral de Chambéry
- The Elephants Fountain (on lots of postcards, the fountain with these four elephant "busts" is affectionately called the "four buttless" by locals)
- Croix du Nivolet
- Mont Granier
- Lac du Bourget - Renting a paddle-boat for an hour or two is a cheap way to spend a sunny afternoon.
Shopping, eating, drinking, visiting vineyards, hiking, boating, skiing, snowshoeing, rock climbing, horseback riding
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.
Some foods to try are Fondue savoyarde, tartiflette, crêpes, and goats cheese.
- Château de Candie, 38 rue Bobby Sands, 73000, Chambéry-le-Vieux (5 km from Chambéry), ☎ +33 4 79 96 63 00, fax: +33 4 79 96 63 10. Five minutes from the centre of Chambéry, this massive XIVth Century Château had its beautiful rooms elegantly renovated. The cuisine is inspired by its Savoy roots: sautéed mushrooms and crawfish, omble chevalier meunière, beef fillet seasoned with Szechuan pepper. Great cheeses and wines. All food served in the "Orangerie". €90-160 + Restaurant, €23-55.
- L'Essentiel, 183, place de la Gare, ☎ +33 4 79 96 97 27, fax: +33 4 79 96 17 78. Closed on Saturday Lunches & all Sundays.. A contemparary decor and inventive regional cuisine, served with local Savoy wines. €27-53.
- L'Hypoténuse, Carré Curial, ☎ +33 4 79 85 80 15, fax: +33 4 79 85 80 18. Closed on Saturday lunches & all Sundays as well as July 15th-August 15th.. In a space full of silence and fresh air, this restaurant offers a seasomal cuisine created with locally grown products at a reasonable price. €14-35.
- Aux Piétons, Place Monge, ☎ +33 4 79 85 52 45. Closed on Sundays & Tuesday nights.. Hearty local specialities: cheese fondue, tartiflette and brasérade.
- Le Tonneau, 2 rue Saint-Antoine, ☎ +33 4 79 33 78 26, fax: +33 4 79 85 49 69. Closed on Sunday evenings & all Sundays.. An elegent restaurant with a shaded terrace for summer dining. Great service and food. €17-35.
- Le Saint Real Restaurant, Place Pierre Dumas, ☎ +33 4 79 70 09 33. Situated in the heart of the Old Town of Chambery, near the Fontaine des Elephants.
Vins de Savoie, Chartreuse, O'Cardinal's Pub
- Best Hotel Chambery, 9 rue Denfert Rochereau (Centre, near Savoy University). Check-in: 12:00, check-out: 11:00. Includes 40 soundproof bedrooms on three floors, which all include bathroom, telephone, satellite TV, and car space in front of the hotel to deposit luggage. English, Spanish, French and Italian are spoken. Also includes an indoor swimming pool, tennis, skating rink and an equestrian centre. Wireless internet is available in all rooms and is free of charge. Children and extra beds: Maximum capacity of extra beds in a room is 1. All rooms are non-smoking. €90.
- La Feclaz