Chambery - Crossroads to the Alps

It was going to be at least a two hour drive from Bourg-en-Bresse, the city where I lived in France to Chambery, so on that July morning we left home around 8, stopping only briefly at Aix-les-Bains another beautiful spa town at the foot of the Alps. The reason we didn't stay long at Aix-les-Bains was because I had been there before, but not to Chambery, which I was told is just as attractive as Aix-les-Bains, both towns situated near the shores of Lac du Bourget (Bourget Lake) the largest natural lake in France.

We arrived in Chambery around 10:30 am on a fine summer's day The town center was already packed with people enjoying the warm weather, and we strolled along taking a few photos here and there. This part of the city is known as the 'old town' and includes a big chateau or castle, where the Dukes of Savoie used to reside in the past. There is also a 13th century cathedral called Saint Francois de Sales, and a fine arts museum. I was a little amused at the Fontaine des Elephants or Elephants fountain built in honor of the Comte de Boigne or Count of Boigne. I was told that this Chambery born French general gained a lot of personal riches when he went to India, and when he returned to France, bestowed upon the city a large portion of his wealth. I think the elephants are symbols of his achievements in India

Next we visited the castle and the cathedral nearby, where we had some refreshments at an outdoor cafe. The best thing I like about Europe during the summer months are these open air restaurants and bars, where one can order a full meal, a snack or just a drink. From these vantage points one can watch people passing by, or just sit down and relax with a cup of coffee, tea or whatever. Needless to say, they are all packed in summer time.

Chambery is located in the heart of the French Alps, and can be visited in all seasons. For winter holidays there are a number of ski resorts within easy driving distance. In fact, it is considered as the gateway to many of the skiing resorts in the Alps. When the seasons change these same ski trails become hiking grounds and campsites.

Like so many other towns in France, Chambery is not only delightful, it is also small enough to be walk around comfortably. For lazy folks (like myself, sometimes) and/or senior citizens, I believe there is a tourist ‘train’ that will take you through the downtown area, and let you do some sightseeing, with as little walking as possible, but when we were there I didn't see this train. However, I was very pleased with my visit to charming Chambery and I hope that if any of Ipernity members plan to travel to France in the near future, do put this part of France on your itinerary. You won't be disappointed!