Chambéry is both the gateway to some of the finest skiing in the French Alps and an irresistibly charming destination in its own right.
Stroll around the narrow Medieval streets of its immaculate old town, and you’ll be treated to a stunning castle, impressive art galleries and family-run restaurants overflowing with character.
Arriving at Chambéry Airport
Chambéry Airport sits between the city of Chambéry and Aix-les-Bains, on the shores of Lac du Bourget. Grab a window seat on your flight for impressive views as you come in to touch down. The breath-taking peaks and ridges of the Rhône-Alpes region soar above the resorts, cities and lakes below.
Once you’ve landed, this friendly airport offers a bureau de change and a cashpoint for last-minute money, as well as a restaurant for your first meal in the region.
Flights from London City to Chambéry run during the ski season, and the airport admirably greets hordes of skiers and snowboarders arriving between December and April on their way to destinations like Courchevel and Val d’Isère. If you’re here for the snow, hop on a one of the shuttles buses, operated by Altibus and Trans’Neige, which run directly from the airport to most of the nearby ski resorts.
Alternatively, hire a car at the airport from one of the major European brands with outlets here and head in to the city. Chambéry’s centre isn’t far away – about seven miles (11km) – and accommodation options are plentiful. Taxis are also available for swift door-to-door service.
Castle of the Dukes of Savoy
Book a guided tour of this elegant 18th-century castle to learn about the history of the Savoyard nobility and to see the inner workings of the regional council, who still meet here. Even if you’re not going inside, bring your camera for snaps of the stunning building.
Musée des Beaux Arts
Set aside a good chunk of time to explore this marvellous museum. It’s particularly well known for its Italian collection, with masterpieces from the Renaissance such as Paolo Uccello’s ‘Portrait of a Young Man’. Keep an eye out, too, for another treasure – ‘Adoration of the Magi’ by Jean de Bruges.
Lac du Bourget
Chambéry Airport is on the edge France’s largest lake. Forests and beaches skirt the lake’s shore, while snow-capped peaks form the dramatic backdrop. Even if you’re flying here in winter – when water sports activities such as kayaking have slowed down – Lac du Bourget is an essential stop.
The philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau lived in this picturesque village just outside of Chambéry, in the early 1700s. Visit his house to see the places that featured in his Confessions and explore a museum dedicated to the writer. Don’t miss the Botanical Garden while you’re here.
Chambéry is the historic heart of the Savoy, and this museum explores that history. It begins by telling the story of the land in the Roman era and follows it through to the present day.