When deciding whether to spend our two full weeks in France or jump from country to country, it was the chance to explore this lovely area that sold us on staying within country and fully immersing ourselves in French culture. Chambery is located in the department of Savoie (or Savoy), which is in the Rhône-Alpes region of France. I’m sure you’re wondering what I meant by “department”. Don’t worry, you aren’t alone. We did not fully understand the history behind the Savoy area until spending a few days in the city and touring around the countryside. Savoy only became part of France in the late 1800’s, and after spending a few days at the beginning of the trip in Paris, you could start to see those subtle differences in the culture. The people in Chambery and in the surrounding areas are proud of their Savoy culture and don’t necessarily consider themselves to be all that French. I still don’t fully understand it all, so I won’t even try to explain it to you. All I can tell you is this area of France, Savoy, whathaveyou is beautiful.
The streets of Chambery are gorgeous. Cobblestone streets with the cutest row homes, hotels, restaurants, shops that you ever did see. The grand Pre-Alps stand stately in the background of the city, and when it’s clear, you can see all the way to Mont Blanc in the Alps. It’s also a college town, so the entire vibe of the city was very laid back. The ladies were of course extremely stylish in their ballet flats, skinny black jeans, blouses and leather jackets. Our favorite little watering hole in the evening was the Irish Pub that opened up into the courtyard of a Catholic Church. I loved how half of the congregation following an evening mass trickled right over into their designated outdoor seats at the Pub. That’s my kind of Religion.
The elephant statue or Fontaine des éléphants is the most famous landmark of the city. It was erected for a Chambery inhabitant who came back from the Indies fabulously rich and endowed with the title of General. As the locals told us, it used to be a great embarrassment to the city. The joke? The elephants have no butts! So the “unofficial” name of the statue is Les Quatre sans Culs (the four without arses). I found it quite lovely, but then, I love elephants. Butts or no butts.
Our few days in Chambery were spent touring the Pre-Alps and the wine region. You’ll have to check in next Friday for that, but I won’t be mean. I’ll leave you with a little preview. Tastings that involved 15 different wines…at one time. My dad’s French twin brother wine maker. Our wine touring furry friend Barto the Wine Pup. And some of the most amazing relics from the middle ages. You might not be jazzed about that last one. It’s really for me. I think history is cool and seeing shit that dates back to the 900’s…mind. blown. Happy Weekend!!