Chambery is a historic town that has been in existence since the 13th century. It is located between the Chartreuse and Massif des Bauges Mountains. The city made its name during the reign of Amadeus V Count of Savoy. He made it his seat of power and became the capital of the Savoie region.
Apart from it being a capital, the land has a lot to offer. Did you know that Chambery has the deepest and the largest lake in France? Well, this is some of the discoveries that you will discover when visiting. Apart from that, here is a comprehensive list of things to do when in town.
See Also: Things to do in Dinan, France
1. Musée des beaux-arts de Chambéry
For art enthusiasts, this is the place to begin your tour. The museum showcases various artworks from Italy, which occupy a huge percentage. This shows that Chambery has been part of Italy way back before France took over. There is also French art displayed in the facility, which shows the cultural integration that exists in the town.
The art on display dates back in between the 1300s and 1700s. The fascinating thing about the museum is the artworks go way back to the start of the primitives. The facility displays 14th-century altarpieces, which are breathtaking.
They resemble the Trinity by the Sienese artist Bartolo di Fredi. This is one of the amazing artworks that you should start with. On the other hand, there is a space that has been set aside for temporary shows. Therefore each year, you are bound to find something new on display. A visit to the museum is a historical journey that you cannot miss out on.
2. Rotonde Ferroviaive
It is home to many retired locomotives and also part of the railway. The facility was built between 1906 and 1910 and had a diameter of more than 100 meters. Therefore it is easy to notice it from afar. The architectural design is impressive as well and shows the craftsmanship that was used to build it was perfect. The facility was constructed to hold up to 72 locomotives, which were written off.
However, during the war, the structure was damaged and later restored. There are usually guided tours being offered. To explore the facility, you need to book an appointment with the tour agency. This is the only chance you get to explore the building.
3. Museum of Charmettes
This is the house that the famous Jean-Jacques Rousseau lived in. He was a political philosopher who had a major influence in Europe and France. Today the house has become a major tourist attraction site.
The house is small found at the edge of Chambery and has a beautiful garden. Inside the house, the things that belonged to him are arranged just the way they were in the past. You will see how he lived a simple life and peace.
4. Eglise Saint-Pierre de lemenc
It is the oldest church in town and dates back to 1,500 years. Fun fact about the church is that it was built over the remains of the Roman temple. The exterior was renovated in the 16th and 18th centuries. You may think the building was constructed a few years back. There is a lot to learn about church history. Make a spot at the building and get to explore more about its architectural works and designs.
5. Galerie Eureka
This is a Museum that will be ideal for you and your family. If you have kids and wondering where to take them when in town, then this is the best spot. At the museum, there are collections of artworks that are technical, industrial, and scientific culture.
Here, the children will have a fun time observing the permanent exhibitions that are have been themed as mountains. Apart from that, there is a section that has been set aside for scientific news. The facility is the best place to bring the children to learn and enjoy themselves.
6. Place Saint-Leger
The best way to explore a new place is by walking. This helps you to discover new spots, and the thrilling of doing so is overwhelming. Taking a walk along the Place Saint-Leger is perfect. If you are a couple, I suggest you partake in this.
While walking along the streets, you will not fail to notice the buildings have been painted with pastel colors. More so, in the evening during sunset, the colors become vibrant and make you feel warm. Once you feel tired from walking, there are restaurants alongside where you can dine and watch the day fading away.
7. Château des Ducs de Savoie
It is an old castle that was built in the 11th century. It was known as the first residence of the house of Savoy from 1295 to 1563. The building is an architectural medley that will take your breath away. The fragments that you see today are almost 1,000 years old.
The castle was a part of the Sovay State until France acquired it. Though it has undergone various changes in the centuries, it still has an administrative function. Hence it is hard for one to access the building unless in summer when there are organized tours. Therefore if you are lucky to visit the town in summer then do not miss out on the tour.
8. Fontaine des Elephants
This is one of the famous landmarks that the town is known for. It is a monument that has four elephants on each side. The fascinating thing about the elephants is one can only see the front part. For this reason, it has earned the nickname from the locals who refer to it as “Les quatre sans culs.”
The fountain came to be in 1838. It was built as a commemoration for Benoit de Boigne. He was a general who earned his reputation in India; hence, the elephant was constructed in remembrance of him.
His statue is built on top of the 17-meter fountain. Visit the fountain and pay your respect to the general. Plus, ensure you have a good lensed camera to capture the art in detail.
9. Old town
Just as the name suggests, it is old has a lot of history for you to see. The old town is a maze of streets and private mansions that makes it outstanding. Though it is not very large, it has a lot to offer you. One of the things that you will find outstanding is strolling down the streets and heading to the secret courtyards is refreshing. Wandering through the paths is an adventure that makes your explorations worthwhile. You must make time for this and take a relaxing walk along the streets.
10. Rue Basse du Château
Apart from the old town, this is also one of the oldest streets in Chambery. The streets are narrow and intersect with various pathways. Hence, it is not easy for you to get lost. While walking along such streets, you will notice the wooden walkways traversing the street.
The wooden structures were dismantled in the past, and only a few are left. This is because they block light from illuminating the streets and posing fire hazards. The stone stalls which are situated in front of several shops are known as “branches” by the locals.
The branches were used to do business in the past. Walking along the path is a trip down memory lane. This shows you how rich and vibrant streets were at the time. Plus, the architectural design is something that blows your mind away.
Do you want to experience the taste of royalty and how the elite lived in the mid-19th century? Then this is the place to visit. The resort is located on the eastern shore of the largest freshwater lake. The building was visited by the elite, such as the world royalty and aristocracy. This includes the kings, queens, counts, maharajas, and dukes.
This was their favorite spot up to the Second World War. Today it has become a major tourist attraction. There are various activities that you and your family can undertake, which includes skiing during winter, mountain hikes, and even watersport. Head to the resort and have firsthand experience. The environment is welcoming and fleshing as well; therefore, book a day and have a fun time at the resort.
12. Chambery Cathedral
You can as well admire the Chambery Cathedral. Though the church is small, it is worth your time. What attracts many to this particular church is a massive Italian painting. It is the largest to have been composed in the 1800s. This is an interior décor that attracts masses and covers 6000 square meters.
However, the church was attached to a Franciscan monastery, and it was also home to the famous Shroud of Turin in the 1400s. This is before it was changed to become a cathedral.
The building previously had a treasure room before being converted into a cathedral. Nonetheless, the room now holds a Byzantine ivory altarpiece paintings. The pieces date back to the 1100s and 1400. Hence it is ideal for art lovers to visit the cathedral and explore.
13. Lac du Bourget
This is the best spot to head to and relax in the evening. Though it is 10 kilometers north of the town, you will enjoy every moment. It is the largest freshwater lake in the country and presents a fabulous scenery. The locals refer to it as “Lac Gris.”
The lake was made famous and known to the world on the romantic poems by Alphonse de Lamartine. There are also other artists who talked about the lake, such as Alexandre Dumas, Honore de Balzac, and Xavier de Maistre.
The water is surrounded by Mont du Chat and the Chaine de L’Epine on the west and Bauges Mountains on the east. The peaks make the lake to have amazing beauty. The western shoreline is accessible only by boats, which presents a perfect opportunity for a boat ride.
You can as well engage in watersports with your family. However, ensure you have your life jacket on always when going in the water. Safety is important.
There are hotels and restaurants around where you can dine and rest after a long day full of activities and adventures. Hence you and your family can explore the lake without thing about going back to town to check into a hotel.
14. Mont Granier
The mountain has a titanic cliff which covers 900 meters. It was formed in 1248 when there was a massive landslide that forced tons of limestone down the valley. This led to the wiping out of several villages that were located down the valley. According to research, 1,000 people lost their lives during the landslide.
However, people visit the mountain to pay their respects and also hike. The rocky mountain presents a hiker with an opportunity to climb up the mountain. It is an adventure that any hiker would not want to miss out on.
Therefore ensure you come with your gear and make sure it is in the right shape. Test it before packing it. There are also adventure Sports companies that will guide you with the activities one can engage in.
The land is rich in culture, which explains why there are different cuisines for you to taste. The foods being prepared by the locals are amazing, and your taste buds can attest to this. There are Italians who have their dishes. This includes Crozets and ravioli, small square pasta pieces which are made from buckwheat flour.
On the other hand, there are local sausages which can be taken in different ways. You can have your sausages cooked in stew or with boiled potatoes and Dijon mustard. This is a delicacy you have to taste. For the cheese lovers, you are not left out. The Beaufort Cheese is something you need to taste. Plus, the wine is perfect since it is produced locally.
Chambery is one of the places that you should visit in France. Though the town is small, it has a lot to offer, which ensures you enjoy your vacation. There are plenty of activities and sites for you to visit and explore. Come and have an experience of a lifetime. If you are thinking of the ideal place to bring your family, friends, or colleagues, this is the place.