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.
Food and drink
Many of the Savoyard locals’ favourite dishes were designed to fill up the stomachs of shepherds and labourers who spent their days roaming the mountains. Think hot and hearty. Still today, you can expect food like tartiflette, a baked dish of potatoes, cream and bacon pieces.
For an haute-cuisine experience, seek out Chambéry restaurants that are part of the Les Tables de l’Alpe group, a collection of dining establishments dedicated to making traditional Savoyard recipes using only local ingredients.
Wine and dine
All of these hearty dishes should, of course, be accompanied by local wine. You may have spotted the vineyards that line Savoy’s valleys as you flew into the region – these controlled appellation regions produce popular wines, which you’ll be able to enjoy at all of the independent restaurants in Chambéry’s old town. Alternatively, head straight to the source and go for a wine tasting and tour in places such as Chignin.
If you’d rather self-cater, you’ll be well served by the markets that pop up in the town six days a week. Pick up a wedge of Beaufort cheese and freshly baked bread for a simple, rustic lunch to enjoy on the ski slopes, or load your basket if you’re planning a summer picnic in a meadow.