Best Things to do in Chambéry France

Best Things to do in Chambéry France

Chambéry France is a part of the Savoie Mont Blanc region and definitely a place that pleasantly surprised me in all the right ways. It had everything that I look for in a weekend break, great local food and wine, rich history, friendly people and accessibility in getting there.

Chambery old town buildings

The Old Town – Chambéry France

It is a place you should definitely add to your list, especially if you appreciate history and Savoie wines. With so many interesting things to do, see and places to eat, I can understand why it is popular amongst travellers for a European weekend break away.



Here is a list of some recommendations of best things to do in Chambéry France, to help you get the most out of your time in this charming beautiful city.

Poached egg and bacon

The perfect poached egg – Chambéry France

Start your morning at the Fontaine des Éléphants

Fountaine de Elephants is one of most famous landmarks in Chambéry and definitely not to be missed while in the city. Built in 1838 at a height of 17.65 meters, the fountain has four elephants, one on each side which all lack their hindquarters (you can only see the two front legs and the head) 

Elephant fountain in Chambery

Photo Provided by Chambéy Tourism – éléphants chateau © Chambery – G Garofolin

It was constructed to pay tribute to General de Boigne (known as Count Benoît de Boigne) an important figure that helped shape Chambéry history, which if you look closely is his statue on the very top of the fountain. 

Tip

  • It gets really busy, so if you want to take great photos go here early in the morning or late afternoon.
Looking up to the top of the Elephant fountain

The Elephant Fountain – Chambéry France

Marvel at the Château des Ducs de Savoie

A 5-10 minute walk just up from the Fontaine des Elephants is one of the most impressive buildings in Chambéry, Château des Ducs de Savoie. Built during the 11th to the 15th century, it is a great place to explore and learn about the history, especially about the Savoie region and how it was annexed to France.

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Once home to the counts and dukes of Savoy, the stately stronghold has housed the Préfecture and Conseil Général of the Savoie département since 1860. You can visit a large part, like the La Sainte Chapelle Chateau de Chambery (Also known as the Holy Church), where the Turin Shroud was held between 1502 and 1578. The Tour Trésorerie (Tower), the semi-circular tower with the great staircase and various other areas. 

white stone facade of La Sainte-Chapelle inside Château des ducs de Savoie

The Holy Chapel – Chambéry France

The gardens and Cour d’Honneur (courtyard) are open free-of-charge but if you are interested in visiting the Holy Chapel and other parts of the castle, you can choose a guided visit with the entrance fee.

Tip

  • You can visit the exhibition rooms from Tuesday to Sunday for free.
  • Regular guided tours available and held in different languages, so I would advise checking beforehand.
Stained glass windows and ornate ceiling of La Sainte-Chapelle

Inside the Holy Chapel – Chambéry France

Le Musée des Charmettes

Another major historical attraction of Chambéry is Le Musée de Charmettes, the home that belonged to Jean-Jacques Rousseau, who was a famous French philosopher. It is a charming, little house with a surrounding 18th-century garden that is situated on the edge of Chambery city. 

You can see some of Rousseau’s possessions inside the house including a stunning handmade palanquin used by Madame de Warens.

Detailed carvings on the frame of the palanquin

Le Musée de Charmettes – Chambéry France

 

Even though it is just outside of town, around 2kms away, you still feel like you are in the middle of the forest. The mountains and the views of the mountains from the house are splendid and would make the trip up to Les Charmettes worthwhile.

Additional Information

  • Open – Tuesday to Sunday between 10 am and 6 pm.
  • Closed – Mondays and Bank holidays.
  • Free Entry
View across the gardens to Le Musée des Charmettes

The Gardens Le Musée de Charmettes – Chambéry France

Tip

  • For 1 euro, you can get an audio guide which is worth it (Available in several languages).
  • There is a car park for only 5 or 6 cars, so best to go early in the morning or late in the afternoon.
Bed chamber in Le Musée des Charmettes

Inside Le Musée de Charmettes – Chambéry France

Wander Around Le Musée des Beaux Arts

Situated near the centre of town and across the road from the tourism office is the art museum Musée des Beaux-Arts Chambéy. The art museum houses a large collection of Italian artworks from between the 1300s and 1700s. As well as works that help us to understand the history of art in the Savoy region.

Other than the permanent collection the Musée des Beaux-Arts also holds temporary exhibitions.

Outside of Le Musée des Beaux Arts

Musée des Beaux-Arts – Chambéry France

Additional Information

  • Open – Tuesday to Sunday between 10am and 6pm.
  • Closed – Mondays and Bank holidays.
  • Open –  Until 8pm the first Thursday of the month.
  • During temporary exhibitions –  5,50 € Per Person or 2,50 € Concession
  •  Without temporary exhibition – 3 € Per Person or 1,50 € Concession
  • Free for all the first Sunday of the month.

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Tip

  • There is a great coffee shop when you enter the museum, definitely worth a stop if you need a break.
Harpsichord set up ready for a performance inside Le Musée des Beaux Arts

Inside the Musée des Beaux-Arts – Chambéry France

Take a stroll through the Old Town and visit the Local Shops

No one can resist the charm of a city’s Old Town and the one in Chambéry France is no different. A maze of colourful buildings with alleys scattered through and under buildings, local shops line the streets and colourful private mansions are what make the Old Town a great place for wandering around. 

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Every corner you turn you find a delightful surprise, it was so pleasant strolling through the Old Town and checking out the shops. You can even do a guided tour, dans le centre Historique de Chambery taking all the historical building and sites of the Old Town. 

Link between buildings above Chambery's famous alleyways

Walking around the Old Town –  – Chambéry France

Tip

  • If you love cheese then you have to visit La Fromagerie, one of the best local cheese shops in Chambéry and test some of the cheeses. 


A bite to Eat

Central Chambéry – La Forge Des Halles

La Forge Des Halles Chambéry is not just a restaurant but also a shop that sells products produced and created by locals. You really feel like you are walking into someones home, especially as the owner is super friendly and chats with you like she has known you for years.

Front facade of La Forge Des Halles

La Forge Des Halles Chambéry France

The menu is simple, homemade and really good, I find that sometimes when there is too much on the menu I start to get confused and not sure what to have. You don’t have that problem here, it is what seasonal vegetables are available and what can be made. 

This is a great spot if you want to stop for lunch or even a break in between your exploring of the city.

Baked tart and salad form La Forge Des Halles

Yummy Homemade lunch – La Forge Des Halles Chambéry France

Just out of Chambéry – Chateau de Candie

I love great food and Chateaus, so when the two are combined it is really going to be the perfect setting for a great day. Château de Candie is a historic restored 14th-century chateau set in a 6 hectare, forest-lined estate overlooking the town of Chambéry. 

If it is warm then you can have your lunch outside on the shaded terrace, which looked stunning.

Hors d'oeuvre at l'Orangerie restaurant

L’Orangerie Château de Candie – Chambéry France

The château features a gastronomic restaurant L’Orangerie which was featured in the Michelin guide 2017 and is where I had an unforgettable mouthwatering lunch complete with matching wine made on the premises. You can choose from a selection of three set menus, with inventive dishes expertly curated by the chefs or mix and match à la carte to create your own journey of unique tastes and flavours.

Hotel Château de Candie Chambery FranceYou can also stay at the stunning Château de Candie

The best bit is that if you don’t want to leave this stunning place, you can stay here. As the Chateau de Candie has guest rooms inspired by historical characters and an outdoor swimming pool if you feel like relaxing in the sun.

Colourful desert from l'Orangerie restaurant

Desert L’Orangerie Château de Candie – Chambéry France

Accommodation

Hotel Le Cinq Chambery

We stayed at the Hotel Le Cinq Chambery for the two nights, located in the centre and within walking distance to most of the tourist attractions.  The main train station was 2 minutes walk and it was super easy to get to and from the hotel and I was carrying my bags and skis.

Hotel Le Cinq signage

The entrance Hotel Le Cinq – Chambéry France

The hotel had a heated indoor swimming pool as well as a restaurant and bar area. They also had good WiFi in all areas, as well as in the rooms. Their service was really great too and they were always happy to help whenever I needed something.

Tip

  • The indoor pool is a great way to relax after a day of exploring and before dinner.
Hotel Le Cinq indoor swimming pool

The Indoor swimming pool Hotel Le Cinq – Chambéry France

Hotel Petit Chambery FranceAlternatively, the Petit Hotel Confidential is another great option for accomdation. 

Location and How to get there

Chambéry France is part of the historical Savory region within the Rhone-Alpes and near both Switzerland and Italian borders.

There are several International airports that you can fly into to get to Chambéry France making it very accessible. These are Lyon, Geneva and Grenoble, it really depends on where you are flying from and what is available.

Aerial view of Chambery

Photo Provided By Chambéry Tourism – Aerienne Chambery Bourget Bauges © Chambery-G Garofolin

Chambéry France does have its own airport  Chambéry Savoie Airport where you can get direct flights from Paris, which is only 10kms away. However, flights from the UK only operate here during the ski season (December to April). 

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Car Hire

Chambéry is easily reached by motorway and most of the roads are highways with tolls and signs. If you do not have a car, I would suggest hiring one at the airport.

Then you can use it to get around the amazing wineries just outside Chambéry city and explore some of the beautiful Chateau’s in the area, like Château de Candie for lunch.

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Train

Alternatively, you can catch a train (TGV services) which is what I did as I was in Chambery for a weekend break between ski trips in Les Gets Ski Resort and Les Arc France. The train is super easy, not too expensive and the station is in the centre of town.

Vineyards surrounding Chambery

Vineyards- Chambéry France

If you are coming internationally from Europe like UK, Belgium, Netherland then all you need to do is get a train to Paris then it is roughly around a 3 hour journey. A change in Lyon can also be a good alternative.



Tip

  • The new TGV line service from Lyon-Turin TGV will cut the journey time from Chambéry to Milan (Italy) to under 3 hours and Chambéry to Paris to 2½ hours. You will need to check with the station when this will be opened. 
Statue d'Antoine Favre

Statue d’Antoine Favre – Chambéry France

Top Tips

  • There are almost 80 kms of cycle routes throughout the Chambéry region, so hire a bike and go exploring. Not only will you have fun but you can keep fit too.
  • Use the public transport where you can get 24-hour or 7-day tickets providing unlimited travel.
  • Office de Tourisme in the city centre, next to the Palais de Justice and the  STAC’s sales office in the Boulevard du Musée.
  • If you have the time, head to Lake Bourget Frances largest natural Lake. It is only a kilometre out of Chambéry
Clear waters of Lac Bourget

Photo Provided by Chambery Tourism – Lac Bourget © Chambery – G Garofolin

Discover more of France And Europe

If you are interested in discovering more of France or other places in Europe, feel free to read my following articles. All are great options for groups of friends or family.

The rood Inside the Church walls Chambery France

The ceiling inside the Church – Chambéry France

Thank you for reading this article ‘Best Things to do in Chambery France’, I hope it helped you to decide what to do while in Chambéry France or the surrounding area

It is truly a beautiful place to explore especially for a weekend.

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Have you been to Chambéry France before? Please feel free to share your experience in the comments below or if you know any other places to see while in Chambéry or the surrounding area.

Here are some other interesting fun things you can book while in Chambéry France

 

Disclaimer: Even though I was guest of the Chambery Tourism and Savoie Mont Blanc. All views are my own and based on my own experience. 

Video Highlights – Chambéry, Savoie Mont Blanc, France



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37 Comments

  1. Mel what a lovely place! Those elephants powering through stone look tremendous. Some kind of illusion, really eye-popping. Looks like a good walking town too which is big for me.

    Thanks for sharing 🙂

    Ryan

  2. I love France! Chambery looks beautiful, just the kind of place we love for a long weekend, enjoying the historical architecture, the local food markets, and all the great food and wine. Plus I adore elephants so now you’ve shown us the elephant fountain, I NEED to see it!!

    1. I highly recommend Chambery it is such a lovely city to explore. You will definitely love it there if you like elephants. Let me know if you go, as I am always happy to help

  3. Oh my god this makes me want to GOOO!! We’ve only been to Paris in France and I am itching to get to other destinations and see what is going on and this is a great introduction! Do you need to know a lot of French to get around or will you find people will speak English? Thank you for the recommendations!

    1. Yes, most people speak very good English there and Italian and it is a super easy place to get around. The local restaurants and wine was definitely amazing. Let me know if you have anymore questions.

  4. That poached egg looks absolutely divine! And I love that you got to experience a different side of France, less crowded than Paris but definitely still very charming!

    1. I just loved the food there and they called that item the perfect egg which was pretty correct. You are right it is definitely not busy like Paris and very charming.

  5. What a charming city, pretty city. I have to admit l had never heard of this place before but definitely keen to check it out when in France. That food looks amazing!!!

  6. I really need to get out to France again and explore more than just Paris! The food here looks amazing – that poached egg looks cooked to perfection. I’d love to see the elephant statue too since I love elephants! Any idea what the significance of the elephants is or what the connection of elephants to the person that statue is meant to commemorate?

    1. Even though I do love Paris there is definitely is so much more when you do get outside there. Yes the elephants are to do with someone is used his money to give to the city and how he spent time in India.

  7. What a cracking post and one so close to home. I live in Lindon and always on the look out for destination in France. This is perfect. Art food and culture. Thanks for sharing. Beautifully written with great visuals that compliment the post. A must visit I say.

    1. Thank you very much, I appreciate your kind words. This is definitely a great spot for a couple of nights stay. I loved the food and the wine so much there

  8. What a lovely place. The Fontaine des Éléphants, Le Musée des Charmettes and the local restaurant, the pictures of these places really mesmerized me. The weekend getaways like this every once in a while keeps heart pumping. Great pictures.

  9. I feel there’s so much of France to discover, I’ve only been to a couple of places, and each time I read an article I want to go to a new region. The colorful houses of Chambery reminded me of Italy. I’d like to take a walk in Rousseau’s garden!

  10. This looks like a lovely town to just walk around and relax while slowly taking in the sights. That elephant fountain looks lovely and I loved the Chapel for its architecture. I could spend time absorbing the various corners of this place for there seems to be so much to see. Also, the museum will occupy a lot of my time too. Lovely read

  11. Looks absolutely beautiful! As a European living in the U.S. I have started to miss these towns full of old historical buildings. France is definitely Europe as its best, and there is so much to see. Even this place which was not familiar to me before reading this.

  12. Oh my! I don’t know whether to start with the architecture, the history, or the food! You have described such a lovely backdrop for a long weekend stopover. France is always such a draw as a destination, but I love that you have shared this wonderful city-a place to visit that is a little more off the beaten path, and so beautiful in so many ways.

  13. Chambery looks like a perfect place for romantic gateway! I love that view from the top! I really need to visit more of France to discover such a gems like this one! I am such a cheese lover so I would definetly check out that La Fromagerie place you recommend! And the hotel looks great as well., love that pool!

  14. Chambery looks perfect weekend destination with many attractions. It has majestic buildings, collections of Art, colorful houses along narrow streets to wander around, beautiful hillsides. Rousseau’s possessions looks precious and well preserved.

  15. Chambery looks like a place really worth visiting. I especially like the Elephant Fountain. You also really enticed me with your description of Chateau de Candie. We will definitely stay there if we go to visit Chambery.

  16. I’m not a big fan of Paris. I really feel all the smaller towns of France are so much more beautiful than Paris.
    Quite amusing to see Elephant fountain in a country where there are no elephants!
    The old town looks incredibly beautiful. I’d easily set aside half a day to stroll here.

  17. We’ Been to Savoie several times but never stopped in Chambery. Now reading this post of yours makes us want to go there eight away! Thanks for inspiring us to visit this lovely town!

  18. Chambery looks amazing and oh so charming. I totally would like to visit the Fountain de Elephants first thing in the morning to avoid the crowds of tourists. I totally would love to visit the art museum and check out the collection of works. Would be such a wonderful way to learn about the history of the Savoy Region!

  19. This place looks gorgeous! Such a beautiful landscape as well as the architecture. I would love to see the Château des Ducs de Savoie. I think it’s great when you get an area that offers incredible history & architecture but also a place to unwind and take in nature, like Lake Bourget which doesn’t sound far away at all. And I’m all for lots of cycle trails too! Gorgeous.

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