On my very last day in Grenoble last weekend, I did a day trip to Chambéry, a ski town located in the Savoie region of France. As it was my last day before I had to leave to head back to my city, I wanted to squeeze in a final trip before then.
That said, I booked my train tickets and headed over in the early morning. I’d said goodbye to my Couchsurfing host beforehand, as it would be more convenient for me to take all of my belongings and not waste time when it came to catching my ride back to my city from Grenoble that afternoon.
I booked my train to Chambéry for the early morning, as means of maximizing time for the visit. After a 50-minute ride, I arrived in Chambéry, and I subsequently booked it all the way to Jacob-Bellecombette, which is actually a nearby village that has an eponymous cascade– essentially, it was a hike over for nature, and although the cascade was on the small side, it was peaceful being somewhat in the middle of nowhere.
It was then another long hike to Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s house, located in les Charmettes which isn’t too far from Chambéry, either. However, from the cascades, it was a 40-minute walk through the countryside, which I didn’t expect. But I was pleasantly taken back by the stunning, sweeping landscapes of the farmland and looming Alps in the distance– the views were so sublime that I stopped several times on the hike just for photos!
*also* I have to acknowledge my surprise at how there were so many cows on one of the farms: never have I seen so many cows all at once. Guess that’s a city girl to you!
I reached Rousseau’s house soon enough, but I didn’t spend too long there, as I wouldn’t have the time to visit the museum inside (after all, I was on a time budget). But the small vineyard was charming, and the house rather majestic in its old-fashioned state– pretty cool to have checked out a notable figure from the French Revolution!
It was then a matter of heading back to Chambéry. I reached the old town in about half-an-hour, and took a quick stroll along the vibrant Place Saint-Léger and a brief pop-in to the château des Ducs de Savoie before grabbing lunch at one of the few restaurants opened that day (it was Sunday, which meant that many businesses were closed for rest). Being that I was in the Savoie region, I knew that I had to have my tartiflette. Instead, however, I chose the alternative croziflette, which is similar, but the difference is that it’s prepared from small, squared pasta, rather than potatoes. I admit that it came out lukewarm, which didn’t settle very well, but it was still fairly tasty– after all, you can’t go wrong with Savoyard cheese and bacon together!
Following lunch, I strolled by the cathedral (unfortunately, it was closed and it wouldn’t reopen until 15:00, after I had to leave) and then ended my visit at the famed fontaine des Éléphants, an fountain that contains four elephant statues as an homage to a French general who’d visited India back in the 18th century. Definitely a distinctive monument of Chambéry, so it was necessary to take a photo of it!
I soon headed back to the train station, where I took in back to Grenoble and made my connecting bus back to my city, thereby ending my four-day weekend of travel. Chambéry pleasantly surprised me for its beauty: I’d been told by a few travelers that there wasn’t so much to do there, but after visiting, I’d have to disagree. There are plenty of hikes in and around town (with the gorgeous countryside to boot), and the old town is striking with its Savoy flags with the backdrop of the Alps in the distance. Definitely worth visiting if in the region!
That concludes my adventures from late September. I hope to continue doing short, but notable trips in France this year, so I’ll keep you updated! 🙂
— The Finicky Cynic
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