Mountain town with French and Italian heritage
www.chambery-tourisme.com. A strategic site in the broad valley between the Massif de Chartreuse and the Bauges mountains, Chambéry was the capital of the ancient Duchy of Savoie, and now rules as préfecture of the region. Successive periods of French and Italian rule have left their stamp on the attractive Old Town, and added to the impressive collection of aquiline Roman noses on view in the Musée des Beaux-Arts, place du Palais de Justice. Also recommended is the Musée Savoisien, square Lannoy de Bissy, which makes an excellent introduction to Savoyard folk culture.
Vieux Chambéry is bisected by the elegant arcades of rue de Boigne. At the top end, on boulevard de la Colonne, the Count de Boigne stares down from the daft but entertaining Fontaine des Elephants with its pachyderms and war-like arrangement of spears and standards. At the far end, the ducal Château and its Gothic chapel are open for guided tours (daily Jun-Sep, check off-season schedules with the tourist office. Walking tours of the old town depart from place du Château, or explore the winding alleys and covered passages at your own pace. Broad place Saint-Léger is lined with shops, cafés and fine shuttered buildings, while the Cathédrale de Saint-Fran√ç¬µcois conceals a remarkable trompe l’oeil frescoed interior behind the remains of its Flamboyant fa√ç¬µcade.