"Chambery" Chambéry by EasyMalc
Chambéry Travel Guide: 16 reviews and 69 photos
Separating the Chartreuse Massif and the Bauges Mountains, Chambery is strategically positioned at the entrance to the Alpine valleys and passes into Italy.
Historically, before being annexed to France, it was the capital of Savoy and today it is still the capital of the Savoie department of the Rhone-Alpes region and retains a strong regional identity.
It’s a smallish provincial town of around 60,000 people with a mixture of old and new and a compact old centre which is easily walkable.
Although it’s not a renowned tourist destination as such, it’s a pleasant place to visit with old alleyways that lead to various points of interest and would suit anyone who likes an easy day out without any hassle.
The history of Chambery is inextricably linked with the House of Savoy.
Savoy was an area that covered part of modern day France and Italy, and back in the Middle Ages was a county of the Holy Roman Empire. In 1295 the Counts made Chambery its capital.
In 1416, Sigismund, the incumbent Holy Roman Emperor awarded Count Amadeus VIII the title of Duke thus elevating Savoy to a Duchy. No doubt during this period the town would have been at its apogee, the Duchy being administered from the Dukes’ castle here in Chambery.
In 1453 the Duchy became the recipient of the Holy Shroud and it was kept here in the Castle’s Sainte Chapelle.
It wasn’t a quiet life for the Dukes during this period though because the French decided to take Savoy for themselves on several occasions - but somehow or another the Dukes always seemed to manage to wrestle it back.
In 1563 they decided to transfer the capital to Turin and Chambery’s importance began to decline. Even the Holy Shroud was transferred to Turin in 1578 - and has been known as the Turin Shroud ever since.
Eventually, Savoy was permanently annexed to France in 1860 under the Treaty of Turin, and consequently Chambery's importance diminished even further, even though it is still capital of the Savoie department.
Its power may have gone but the Dukes’ castle is still here, and although the Prefecture and General Council is housed within it, it’s still possible to visit parts of the castle by guided tour.
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