Chambery and Annecy

After another visit to Les Halles de Lyon Paul Bocuse for some last-minute provisions we left Lyon and head towards the mountains that since antiquity lend their name to the word that define not just everything that mountains are about but even more, the Alps.

First stop in Chambery, the historical capital of the Savoy region since the 13th century, when Amadeus V, Count of Savoy, made the city his seat of power.

Fontaine des Elephants, Chambery

The Fontaine des Éléphants ("Elephants Fountain") is the most famous landmark in Chambéry. It was built in 1838 to honour Benoît de Boigne's feats when he was in India. The monumental fountain has strikingly realistic sculptures of the head and forelimbs of four life-size elephants truncated into the base of a tall column in the shape of the savoyan (savoyarde) cross, topped by a statue of de Boigne. Local jesters nicknamed the statue Les quatre sans culs, ("the four without arses", which sounds in French similar to the title of the best-known movie by nouvelle vague director François Truffaut: Les quatre cents coups, "The 400 Blows"), and the name stuck.

From Chambery we head to another alpine town better known as the "Pearl of French Alps" and the Venice of the Alps, Annecy. The picturesque city lies on the northern tip of Lake Annecy, where the lake feeds into the Thiou River, some 35 kilometers south of Geneva. The court of the counts of Geneva or Genevois from the 10th century, the city passed to the counts of Savoy in 1401 and it became Savoy's capital in 1434.


We strolled through the cobbled streets of Vieille Ville (Old Town), along the winding canals admiring the old pastel-colored houses.

Overlooking the city, the medieval Château d’Annecy, once home to the Counts of Geneva and the Dukes of Genevois-Nemours, contains a museum with regional artifacts such as Alpine furniture and religious art, plus a natural history exhibit.


Palais de l'Isle: Picturesque medieval castle & prison in the middle of the Thiou Canal, now an art & history museum. Address: 3 Passage de l'Île, 74000 Annecy, France

The epic epicureanism experience continues …

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