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.
Sleepy Chambéry is the perfect place to find a charming pub or wine bar and join the locals for a drink of regional wine or beer. Although it isn’t famed for its electric nightlife, every March, Chambéry welcomes partygoers to one big event – the Pharaonic – with a giant dance floor at the multipurpose Le Phare (The Lighthouse).
Much of the après-ski in the region involves settling down with a drink in a cosy lodge, so it’s easy to find a quiet village and relax by an open fire while the snow covers the mountains once more.
If you’re here to party, however, the resorts in the Rhône-Alpes region embrace the après-ski lifestyle. Part of the appeal of visiting The Three Valleys is joining in with the partying at Val Thorens. La Folie Douce, in particular, is famed for being one of the highest open-air clubs in Europe. Live DJs and free-flowing drinks make the resort almost as popular for its nightlife as for its dramatic landscape and challenging pistes.