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Day 4: Grenoble to Chambéry

We weren't in any particular rush this morning, as we didn't have to check out of our hotel in Grenoble until 12 and we knew we couldn't check into our new hotel in Chambéry until after 2.  After breakfast we went for a final stroll around Grenoble city centre, finding the cathedral again much more easily than we had last night, and then made our way to the train station, where we caught the 12.05 train to Chambéry.

It was a regional train, without much space to store luggage, but we were really lucky because it didn't seem to be a terribly popular route, and so we almost had the top deck of a carriage to ourselves :) That gave us plenty of space to arrange our luggage and enjoy the journey to Chambéry, which took about an hour.

I think when we were originally discussing the itinerary for this holiday, we had intended Chambéry to be a day trip from Grenoble, and it is definitely close enough to get there and back in a day quite easily. We were then planning to stay for a couple of nights in Annecy. Accommodation in Annecy, however, turned out to be prohibitively expensive and so we had to rethink our plans, with Chambéry becoming an overnight destination and a base from which to make a day trip to Annecy tomorrow.

As seems to be a theme for this holiday, we arrived around lunch time and set about finding a restaurant where we could stop with our cases.  We found one without too much difficulty and had an amazing view of Chambéry's town hall as we sat and ate our lunch.


After lunch we checked into our new aparthotel, where we found we had a much more spacious room than the one in Grenoble, although unfortunately there is no air-conditioning, so it's a bit warm.

Not as warm as it is outside, though; it was a blazing hot day as we set off to explore Chambéry. 


The first thing we found was the town's theatre, which is a really grand building.


From there we strolled along some of the main shopping streets...


...until we came to out into a pretty square with a clock tower.


From there we walked down one of the side streets.


...until we found Chambéry's cathedral. It actually looked more impressive than the one in Grenoble!


From there we made our way past the town hall again...


...alongside the very impressive courthouse...


...and towards Chambéry's most famous monument: the Elephant Fountain.


Yes, bizarrely,  this is the most famous landmark in Chambéry. It was constructed in 1838 to commemorate the achievements of a local adventurer, Count Benoît de Boigne, who made his fortune as a mercenary in India and used some of his money for the benefit of the town.

It's quite an unusual fountain, but it's rather cool how the water comes out of the elephants' trunks :)


As we turned away from the fountain, we got our first glimpse of the Château de Chambéry.


A castle was first built here in the thirteenth century and was an important stronghold until 1563, up to which point Chambéry was the capital of Savoy. After 1563, the capital was moved to Turin and both the castle and Chambéry itself declined in importance.


Today the castle has been restored and is used by the local government.


That means you can't go inside it, but we did have fun walking around outside and viewing it from different angles :)


 Chambéry is quite a bit smaller than Grenoble, so by this point we had managed to locate all the main sights that were listed in the guidebook. It's impossible to tell from the brief description in the guidebook just what a pleasant place it is to walk around though :)


Despite being early evening, it was still unbelievably hot and sunny so eventually we decided to make our way back to the hotel to try and cool off. Tomorrow we will be going on a day trip to Annecy, possibly with a detour to Aix-les-Bains

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