Visit Chambery (Rhone-Alpes, France)
Chambery is in the Rhone Alps, in the Savoie department about 50 kilometres north of Grenoble. Bourget Lake, the largest natural lake in France, is just north of the town.
The city has a long history linked with that of nearby Italy and the Dukes of Savoy and Chambery became a permanent part of France only in 1861- see history of Chambery for details. There is still much to see from the 'Savoyard glory days' of the town, which is now a modern and bustling regional centre with plenty of cafes, bars and restaurants where you can enjoy a rest from exploring the many streets, fountains, buildings and statues of Chambery - from the artistic angle, Chambery is a tourist stop of unquestionable value.
In recent years Chambery has had something of a revival and has been tidied up and important institutions such as the Musée des Beaux-Artes re-opened. Wandering around today it is certainly hard to see what had given it its reputation as a rather dull town that was past its best. Now it is bright, colourful and a really pleasant place to spent some time. Add to that a student population of about 11000 students and it has a nice lively atmosphere. It is also one of the most inhabited town centre in France.
The highlight of your visit has got to be the wonderful Place Saint-Leger lined with tall houses all painted in different colours and lots of outdoor restaurants allowing you to sit down and really savour the atmosphere - and the food!
Chambery castle is an important building (the 'Castle of the Dukes of Savoy') and was sold by its owner (Berlion, Lord of Chambéry) to the Counts of Savoy in 1232. It remained the residence of the Savoy until 1562.
The castle is now home to the council offices but you can join a guided visit to see inside. Its chapel, the Ste Chapelle used to house the 'Holy Shroud', brought to Europe at the time of the Crusades and entrusted to the Savoy in 1452 ( who moved it to Turin in 1578, where it gained the popular name 'the Turin Shroud' - there is a copy of the shroud in the cathedral). Visitors here can also see the 70 famous bells of the so-called 'Great Carillon
The gothic style 13th century Cathedral Church of the Franciscan Friars of "Saint Francois de Sales" is home to the largest collection of trompe-l'oeil paintings in Europe. It also has a treasury with a 12th century Byzantine diptych. There is a copy of the Turin shroud on display in the cathedral.
The City Museum (the "Musée de Beaux-Arts") contains some fine paintings including a beautiful painting representing the 'Adoration of the Magi' by Jean de Bruges and a copy of a remarkable 'San Gerolamo' by Correggio executed by local painter Gian Francesco Berengier in the eighteenth century. A large part of the museum is dedicated to paintings by Italian Renaissance artists, in particular 'Portrait of a Young Man' by Paolo Uccello and 'Trinity' by Bartolo di Fredi, and many others. French painters are represented by George de la Tour and Fragonard..
The 'Savoy Museum' is also interesting an contains various ethnographic material and pictures as well as numerous other collections, such as Roman coins.
Historic Centre and the Fountain of the Elephants
The historic centre of Chambery dates from the 15th and 16th centuries. One curiosity you will see is the so-called Fountain of the Elephants - built around 1838 in honor of Benoit Leborgne, Earl of Boigne (1751 -1830) on his return from India, after a wandering life in the service of an Indian prince. The fountain is structured such that the four elephants make a sort of cross which represents the coat of arms of the House of Savoy.
The city has a wider range of squares and streets of interest to tourists. One of these is also named after Boigne and contains many elegant shops. The Place St. Leger is attractive and includes a 19th century sun-dial. From this square you can explore the many alleys that radiate in all directions, eventually reaching the elegant Rue Croix d'or, where you can admire some ancient aristocratic houses, some of which date back to the sixteenth century.
Places to visit near Chambery
At Les Charmettes a couple of miles outside of Chambéry is the house where Jean Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778) lived with the Baroness de Warens (1700-1762), a beautiful building dating from the seventeenth century. They also had a home on the Place St Leger.
For naturalists, the surroundings of Chambéry include the Parc Naturel Regional de Chartreuse which includes Bauges, Chambéry, Grenoble and Voiron, and is known for its forests and the small villages it contains.
Chambery region food and drink
Nearby you can taste the famous drink, chartreuse, invented by the Carthusian monk, now produced in a distillery near Voiron, and some local sweet dishes including Chambéryzette, as well as some local cheeses and wines. Among the local dishes, try the tartiflette and raclette (melted cheese). Among the drinks we recommend the chambérifraise, a vermouth made with strawberries in the Alps. Among the local wines, try the Savoy wines such as Apremont, Chignin, Abymes or Cruet.
Photos of Chambery
Click any picture to start the gallery
Tourist classifications for Chambery
Chambery has received the following tourist classifications: historical protected town centre' (secteur sauvegardé); listed town of Art and History
Address: Chambéry, Savoie, Rhone-Alpes, 73000 || GPS: latitude 45.57, longitude 5.93
Map of Chambery & places nearby
Highlights close by
Suggested tourist attractions to visit near Chambery, France
- Les jardins du Prieuré - remarkable garden (10km)
- Nances - ville fleurie 4* (11km)
- Aix-les-Bains - ville fleurie 4* (13km)
- Aquarium du Lac du Bourget - aquarium (14km)
- Massif des Bauges - regional natural parc (20km)
- Chartreuse - regional natural parc (23km)
- Parc du château du Touvet - remarkable garden (24km)
- Walibi Rhone Alpes - theme park (30km)
- Roc de Chere - site of natural beauty (37km)
- Morestel - ville fleurie 4* (37km)
Market days in Chambery: Regular market(s) are held in Chambery each Tuesday & Thursday & Sunday & Saturday. (Markets are held in the morning unless stated.)
The French version of this page is at Chambery (Francais)