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Chambery: the historical capital of Savoy

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Chambery is a city of sixty thousand inhabitants of Savoie, in the French region of Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes. The city is located in a valley at the confluence of the Leysse and Albanne rivers, about 270 meters high. Chambery is surrounded on the east side by the Bauges mountain range, to the south by Mount Granier, to the west by the Épine range and to the north by Lake Bourget.

The city is today an important tourist center, rich in monuments, especially from the Baroque period. Chambery has been the historical capital of Savoy since the thirteenth century, since then it was part of the Savoy Kingdom until 1860, when it was ceded to France.

Chambery became a Savoy property in 1232 and a few decades later, in 1295, it became the capital of Savoie County. Only in 1562 the city lost the status of capital, in that year in fact the Savoy moved the capital of their state to Turin. However Chambéry traditionally remained the historical capital of Savoy and together with it it passed under French control in 1860.


The old town (Vieille Ville) of Chambery is made up of a large number of historic buildings – called hôtels – of the Savoy nobility, many of which date back to the 15th and 16th centuries. The oldest building in Chambery is the Saint-Pierre de Lémenc Church which dates back to the 15th century, but which houses an older crypt inside, whose dating is uncertain but which probably dates back to the 9th-11th century.

One of the most interesting historical buildings is certainly the Castle of the Dukes of Savoy. A building in various styles and with additions from various eras made up of three towers built in the 14th and 15th centuries, a series of medieval outbuildings and a large main building dating back to the 18th and 19th centuries.

Inside the castle walls is the Sainte-Chapelle (1408-1430), which hosted the Holy Shroud between 1453 and 1578. The facade of the chapel rebuilt in 1641 is the work of the architect Amedeo di Castellamonte. The Castle of Chambery (Château des ducs de Savoie), an ancient Savoy residence, is now the seat of the Savoie region.

The Chambery cathedral dedicated to Saint-François-de-Sales derives from an old Franciscan chapel from the 15th century. The church is known for hosting the largest collection of trompe-l’oeil paintings in Europe dating back to the 19th century. The city also has numerous palaces and houses from the Baroque period built by the nobility between the 17th and 18th centuries.

The site of the municipality of Chambery.

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