Chambéry is a French town located in the Rhone-Alpes region and in the Savoie department. It is situated in the Prealps, between the Bauges and Grande-Chartreuse massifs. With 59,188 inhabitants, called the Chambériens, the town is the administrative centre of the department (Préfecture), and thus houses a court of appeal, an archdiocese, and the consulate of Italy.
Chambery is also a very dynamic and cosmopolitan town. Called the Carrefour naturel européen (natural European crossroads), Chambery is close to Italy and Switzerland. It has been awarded the label of Ville d’Art et d’Histoire (Art and History Town), thanks to its preserved area in the medieval part of the town. You will love strolling in the old streets, among listed historical buildings. Moreover, Chambery owes its dynamism to the universities it houses. Public transports, rental area, night clubs, restaurants, pubs, laundries, etc. have been created for this specific market.
Despite its small size, Chambery was a very important city until the 16th century, as the capital city of the Savoy Duchy. The whole area around the town boasts impressive castles, and inside the town itself we can see the vestige of town houses, easily recognizable thanks to their turret which houses a spiral stair. The religion has also a great influence at those times, which explains the presence of numerous churches and religious monuments. In 1860, the Savoy Duchy was annexed to the French territory. From this date onwards, Chambery has developed and expanded: in 1960, two villages, Bissy and Chambery le Vieux were merged with Chambery. This new area became the industrial area of the town.
Close to Italy and Switzerland and thanks to universities, Chambéry is a charming cosmopolitan town; from where you can also easily go skiing, and do water sports (in the Bourget Lake). Chambery is said to be an “average town”, however it has all the assets to be considered as a “big” one! It has all the infrastructures needed (motorways, cultural centres, etc.), while it offers great quality of life thanks to its natural environment.
Chambéry and its suburbs welcome every year some 1,300 new inhabitants. Out of the 54,433 accommodations in the town, 14.5% are detached-houses and 82.1% are apartments; moreover, 36.8% are landlords and 59.8% are tenants, which means that the town offers great rental opportunities. Furthermore, if you take into account all the assets it boats, it is surprising to see that Chambery is a very affordable area. While the French average for house prices in 2009 is €3,197 /sq m, house prices in Chambery, scarcely reach €2,550 /sq m! As far as accommodation is concerned, Chambery is a very dynamic town. In thirty years, accommodations have doubled in the town, from 26,636 to 54,433 dwellings; and between 2005 and 2006 there was a positive growth of 25%.
Culture, art and historical heritage: Chambéry was awarded the Art and History Town label in 1985 for its policy of preservation and development of its historical, cultural and architectural heritage. At the heart of the Savoie department, Chambery offers to its visitors a significant preserved sector, from its traditional housing in medieval streets to its listed monuments. All these assets, especially the Château des Ducs de Savoie looking down upon the town, make Chambery one of the most amazing ancient quarters in France. Chambery is also considered as an important cultural town; it houses the Charles Dullin theatre, 5 museums, one of the biggest Europe’s set of bells, and as far as contemporary architecture is concerned, the national cultural centre Espace Malraux, the Jean Jacques Rousseau multimedia library, and the Manège conference centre.
Tranquillity and scenery: Chambéry is a full of flowers town which has been awarded three flowers by the National committee of flowered towns and villages ( le Conseil national des villes et villages fleuris de France). By walking around the town you will see various public squares with beautiful flowers, like the Vaugelas, P. Vidal, and A. Tercinet public squares. Just to mention three out of twelve; public gardens: the Verney garden, the older green area of Chambery, the botanical garden, the Museum Garden located down the Castle of Ducs de Savoie, and the Le Mas-Barral Garden that houses some hundred trees with 50 different tree species.
Outdoor activities: Chambery is a great place if you enjoy outdoor activities. Ski lovers will be delighted by the biggest ski resorts located at only some 10km from the town. If you go skiing with all your family you might prefer smaller ski resorts, which are located at few minutes from the town centre (La Feclaz between others). Chambery is also very well located if you like water sports. It is close by the biggest natural lake in France, the Bourget Lake, and by the Aiguebelette Lake. This explains why one of the best rowing clubs is situated in Chambery! Moreover, Chambery is the ville-porte (town door) of regional natural Parks of Chartreuse, Bauges, and of the national Park of Vanoise.
Location – transport links: Chambéry is called the “European natural crossroads” thanks to its location. Indeed, it is 537km from Paris (motorway A6), 661km from Bordeaux, 354km from Marseille (motorway A7), 217km from Turin, 114km from Lyon (motorway A43), and 92km from Geneva (motorway A41). From Paris you can take the direct daily train (it takes 3 hours). From England, you can take the plane until the Aéroport Chambéry/Savoie, which has regular flights to London, Norwich, Bristol, and Manchester between others. Chambery is also a nice town if you enjoy biking. By the end of 2007 it had in total 60km of cycle tracks, which link the town centre to the universities and to the lakeside. If you do not own a bike do not worry! You can easily rent one at the Velostation, a public agency that hires bikes.
Property Styles and Architecture in Chambery
The architecture of the old centre has been modified after the air raid during WWII which destroyed the Saint-Antoine medieval quarter. The reconstruction took place during the 50’s, and the creation of the Biollay quarter enabled to welcome new inhabitants.
Apartments: in the town centre you will be likely to find this kind of dwelling, as they represent 82% of the total. From the studio flat, to the 5 room apartments, all kind of dwellings are available. They are an excellent investment for a buy-to-let, as demand from students is very high.
Chalets: when you go out of the centre of Chambery you will find the traditional Alpine chalet. These wood chalets are usually very big housing, and can be the perfect place to spend summer or winter holidays in family! As Chambery is located close to ski resorts, and is also attractive in summer, you will not find difficulties in renting it all year long.