Chambery Historic Landmarks

Chambery Historic Landmarks, Chambery, France (A)

A walking tour of the main historic, cultural landmarks in the Old Town area of the city of Chambery. Chambery is located in the Savoy (Savoie) area of the French Alps in Eastern France. The main sights include the Beaux Arts Museum; Elephants Fountain; Italian Arcades; the oldest street in Chambery; Dukes of Savoy Castle; Place Saint Leger; Chambery Cathedral; Savoie Museum; Charles Dullin Theatre; and Carre Curial.
How it works: The full article is featured in the app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" on Apple App Store and Google Play Store. Download the app to your mobile device to read the article offline and create a self-guided walking tour to visit the sights featured in this article. The app's navigation functions guide you from one sight to the next. The app works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Sights Featured in This Article

Guide Name: Chambery Historic Landmarks
Guide Location: France » Chambery
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Article (A))
# of Attractions: 10
Tour Duration: 2.0 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.9 Km or 1.2 Miles
Author: cynthia caughey
Author Bio: Cynthia Caughey lives half-time in the French Alps and half-time in Florida. She is a non-profit agency fundraiser and grant writer, former Executive Director, a blogger, videographer, photographer, French Alps cookbook author, and owns a French Alps Tour Company with her partner. She is an avid motor biker and loves spicy food and full-bodied wine. She loves animals and her passion is travel. She has spent much of her life advocating for the underdog.
Author Website:
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • The Fine Arts Museum of Chambery
  • The Elephants Fountain
  • Rue de Boigne
  • Rue Basse du Chateau
  • Dukes of Savoy Castle
  • Place Saint Leger
  • Chambery Cathedral
  • Savoy Museum
  • Charles Dullin Theatre
  • Carre Curial
The Fine Arts Museum of Chambery

1) The Fine Arts Museum of Chambery

The Fine Arts Museum of Chambery is owned by the city of Chambery. It reopens in November of 2011 after a major 3 year renovation. The building was the city’s granary until 1889 when it was converted into a museum. It contains the second largest collection of Italian paintings in France, after the Lourve Museum in Paris. Works from the Quattrocentro and the Renaissance periods are among those represented. Sculptures, ivory, and Chinese pieces are also displayed, as are works from the French and Northern Schools. The majority of the art resulted from bequests from private collectors. The museum also features traveling exhibits in addition to its permanent collection.
Image Courtesy of Florian P. Floflo.
The Elephants Fountain

2) The Elephants Fountain

The Elephants Fountain was built to honor Benoit de Boigne's feats as a general for the Prince of India in the 1700's. Boigne left his fortunes to the city of Chambery. The fountain has realistic sculptures of four elephants, showing only their front limbs, with a statue of Boigne on the top of the monument. The elephants are in the shape of a Savoie cross. At first the landmark was mocked by the local residents who did not understand the symbolism of the foreign land of India. The statue was nicknamed "the four without asses" by the town residents. It still carries this nickname but now it is an affectionate term. The Fountain has become the accepted symbol of Chambery.
Rue de Boigne

3) Rue de Boigne

The Rue de Boigne was constructed between 1824- 1830, thanks to the generosity of General Count Boigne. It connects three of the major sites in Chambery: the Elephants Fountain, the Place Saint Leger, and the Dukes of Savoy Castle. Its architecture, complete with high arched porticos or Arcades, was inspired by Turin Italy. Today it is lined with upscale stores and hotels.
Rue Basse du Chateau

4) Rue Basse du Chateau

The Rue Basse du Chateau dates back to the 1200’s and was one of the main thoroughfares in the city in the Middle Ages. The most famous site is the overhanging bridge between the streets’ buildings called the Bridge of Sighs (nicknamed after the famous bridge in Venice Italy). There were several similar bridges on the street but they were taken down since they were a fire risk, due to the fact that the bridges were made of wood and connected the buildings on each side of the street. Today the street is known for its cute and characteristic shops.
Dukes of Savoy Castle

5) Dukes of Savoy Castle

The foundations of the Dukes of Savoy Castle dates back to 1285 when the first Savoy counts occupied the old fortress followed by the reconstruction of the fort to serve as a administrative residence and as a stronghold for the House of Savoy. As a result of numerous hostilities on the chateau from French, Duke Emmanuel Philibert has relocated his capital to Turin in 1593. Today the building houses the Savoie region’s governmental offices.

The Dukes of Savoy Castle burned down twice in the 1700’s and again in the 1800’s. In 1786, Victor Amadeus III extended it, adding a Royal Wing. Under Napoleon Bonaparte, the South Wing was rebuilt and redecorated to house the imperial prefecture (or regional government offices).

The Chateau Chapel, located next to the Castle, was built in the1400’s and contains 70 bells in its Bell Tower. The original 37 bells were made to represent Savoie at the World Fair in 1937. The bell tower is the 4th in the world and 1st in France for the number of bells in a Bell Tower. The biggest bell weighs 5 tons. The Chapel held the Shroud of Turin from 1502 to 1541 and 1561 to 1578, the year it was moved to Turin.
Place Saint Leger

6) Place Saint Leger

The Place Saint Leger is the main square and sits in the center of town. A small apartment in the square, which is no longer standing, was the birthplace of the town’s hero and benefactor, General de Boigne in 1751. It is lined by middle age to 18th century buildings, decorated with intricate iron balconies. The square features outdoor restaurants and expensive stores.
Chambery Cathedral

7) Chambery Cathedral

The Chambéry Cathedral or Cathédrale Saint-François-de-Sales de Chambéry is Roman Catholic and dedicated to Saint François de Sales. It was built in the 15th century and consecrated in 1488.

The site is very swampy and the building sits on 30,000 poles. During the French Revolution the building was severely damaged, but extensively restored at the beginning of the 19th century. The massive wooden door dates to 1506, and the organ from 1844.

The Cathedral contains the largest ensemble of trompe l'œil painting in Europe (almost 6,000 square meters) by the artist Vicario, which dates from 1809 to 1834. Trompe L’oeil art is a three dimensional form of painting intended to trick the eye into thinking it is the real thing.

The building of an old Franciscan Monastery, where the Savoie History Museum is now settled is linked to the cathedral by cloisters.
Savoy Museum

8) Savoy Museum

The Savoie Museum is located in a 13th century Franciscan convent. The museum contains rare examples of Savoie’s archaeological, historic, ethnographical and artistic past. The museum displays artifacts dating back to prehistoric times and telling the stories about tribes living in Lac du Bourget area about 3,000 years ago. Artifacts also include a rare mural from the 13th century, a World War II memorial, and primitive artifacts of the Savoy area. Guided tours are available in several languages.
Charles Dullin Theatre

9) Charles Dullin Theatre

Charles Dullin Theatre was built in 1824 by Rene Samuel Revel and rebuilt in 1866 after a bad fire, which destroyed most of the theatre. Fortunately, the original Italian painted curtain survived the fire and is still featured at special events. The theatre was named after the famous Savoyard actor/director, Charles Dullin. The theatre is Italian with the typically characteristic slanted-forward stage.
Carre Curial

10) Carre Curial

The Carre Curial was built in 1802 by order of Napoleon to house his soldiers. Prior to that, a convent sat on the site which was confiscated during the Revolution. The barracks could hold 3,000 soldiers and during World War II it was used as a prison by the Germans. Architecturally, the building is a square with the buildings on the outside with a large interior courtyard. Today it is owned by the City of Chambery and houses two theatres, shops and outdoor restaurants.