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Chambéry - a philosophy for a sweet life

The city of Chambéry (or Chambery) is situated in the French Alps in the Savoie department of eastern France. It was the home of the philosopher Rousseau. He liked the town so much he famously said: "If there is in the world a little town where one tastes the sweetness of life in pleasant and certain commerce, it is Chambéry." The city may have grown and developed since Rousseau's time, but the quality of life he praised is still very much in evidence in this, the capital of the Savoie.

Chambéry's Italian influences

Much of the architecture of Chambéry is Italianate, which is not surprising when you consider that the city is placed on a major route to Italy. It is even said that Hannibal passed this way with his famous herd of elephants! Despite the Italian influences on the buildings and cuisine, however, you will find that there is a very strong national and cultural identity in Chambéry.

Fountain of the Elephants

One thing you cannot miss when in Chambéry is the stunning Fountain of the Elephants. This fountain has life sized statues of elephants appearing to emerge from within it... it is both beautiful and amazing to see. Other sights worth seeing in Chambéry include the cathedral, with its flamboyant façade and fabulous trompe l'oeil interior, the Musée Savoisien, which tells the history of the Savoie and has many fascinating artefacts, and the Musée Jean Jacques Rousseau, which allows you to see the way the great philosopher's house and garden would have been during his life time.

Where to find the café society in Chambéry

If you are looking for a great place to eat you should head for the Rue de la Croix d'Or, where you will find a veritable cluster of excellent little restaurants and bistros near the lovely Italianate theatre. Another place to enjoy the café society is the Place St Léger. In the summer time, this is alive with street musicians and other entertainers, and has a wonderfully vibrant atmosphere.

Dining in Chambéry

The gastronomy of the Savoie is world famous, and rightly so. On a typical menu you can find the delicious cheeses of the region, of which there is a bewildering choice. These are made from the milk of the cows, sheep and goats which graze the lush mountain meadows and often have a distinctive creamy character... enjoy! Salads are popular, and often laced with aromatic mountain herbs. There is, of course, the ever popular fondue usually available, although purists argue that this is not actually a Savoyard dish at all!

Sports and leisure

It goes without saying that in an Alpine town such as this there are going to be some amazing sporting opportunities. The ski resorts are just a whisker away, and you have access to some of the very best slopes and snow parks in Europe. In the summer time the choice is just as good, with walking, mountain biking, fishing, swimming, rafting and kayaking among the sports available.

How to get there

The airport at Chambéry itself is served by flybe and Jet2, who operate flights from the UK. There are several other airports you may wish to consider if you need a wider choice of airline or departure point than is offered by these two, and these include Lyon, St Etienne, Geneva and Grenoble. Lyon is served by Air France, British Airways, bmibaby, easyJet and bmi; St Etienne by Ryanair; Geneva by British Airways, easyJet, flybe, Jet2 and Aer Lingus; and Grenoble by Ryanair and easyJet. Rail travel is another very good option, as there is a station in Chambéry. So you could travel by TGV to Lyon and connect with a local train. An even better option is probably to catch the ski special (winter season only) which allows you to travel direct from London to Bourg St Maurice or Moutiers on Eurostar! If you are driving, the A41 is the auto route to look out for.

Property prices and availability in and around Chambéry

Property in Chambéry is not the cheapest in France... but it is less expensive than that in some of the swish ski resorts, so if you are determined upon a home in the French Alps, Chambéry could be a great choice. The city has all the amenities you could hope for as well as access to excellent skiing... and to Italy... making it a very good place to invest in property. Rental potential is good here too, with holiday makers in both winter and summer.

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Chambéry AT A GLANCE

WHERE IS Chambéry?

Chambéry is located in the east of France, in the Alps. It lies in the north-west of the Savoie department.

Chambéry Property Map


Rhône-Alpes Guide

Rhône-Alpes Property Map


Savoie Guide

  Savoie Map

Population: 60,900

Access: By air: Chambéry has its own airport. Other airports in the region include Geneva, Grenoble, Lyon and St. Etienne. By rail: There is a SNCF station in the city. By road: Take the A41 to Chambéry.

Economy: Varied and thriving city economy.

Interesting fact: Chambéry was an important resting place on the route of Hannibal and his elephants!

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