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Chambery is Savoy's charismatic capital, boasting a rich history that stretches back as far as the 13th century. This is a destination for those that prefer to escape from the busier cities in France and divide their time between historic landmarks and a scenic countryside, both of which can be explored with ease with a rental vehicle.
Who to Book With
The majority of Chambery car hire companies are located on Quai des Allobroges, one of the main streets in the town. This is where the offices of ADA, Car Go! and Sixt can all be found, with online bookings mostly accepted across the board. Europcar is also located in the town centre and on the Avenue Marechal Leclerc. Great savings can be had if you book online in advance of arrival.
Best Time to go
Summer is generally regarded as the best time for tourists to head to Chambery, as this is when the most festivals are held and the town enjoys its most pleasant climate. Reservations on both accommodation and rental vehicles should be made in advance, however, as things naturally get booked up quickly during this time.
Need to Know Essentials
To collect a rental car, the driver must have the following documents:
- A valid UK driving license/International Driving Permit
- An extra form of photo ID other than the driving license
- The credit or debit card used for confirming the booking
- Printed rental confirmation
As with most old European cities, the centre of Chambery can sometimes be difficult to navigate by car, and parking spaces are also often scarce. It goes without saying, however, that the suburbs are far easier for car hire users to drive around and the town is well-connected to its counterparts elsewhere in France.
While Chambery centre is small enough to be navigated on foot or even by rented bicycle, most daytrips, especially those to the heart of the countryside, require visitors to arrange car rental, as trains and other forms of transport do not always reach so far. A reliable bus network can be used by tourists to get around the city and its metropolitan area, however, as can taxis.
Chambery is without its own rail or metro system but has an incredibly popular train station that both domestic and international services pass through. The Eurostar from London St Pancreas to Chambery is convenient and only takes around six hours, door-to-door. There are also other Eurostar trains from Brussels, Amsterdam and a string of other European destinations. TGV Trains regularly run to Chambery from the French capital Paris and other French cities.
Several taxi companies operate in Chambery, transporting residents and tourists alike around the city and to its suburbs. Acceuil Taxi is the main force here and has the most cabs active in the city, rivaled only by the increasingly popular Allo Taxi. Some companies have vehicles with meters, while others require fares to be agreed upon before travelling.
Buses in and around Chambery or to other French destinations are provided by STAC. Those that need to travel either to or from Geneva Airport can make use of the Aerobus, which runs most hours of the day.
Most attractions in Chambery are built around its wonderful castle, the Chateua de Chambery. Just as popular is Elephant's Fountain, which was first constructed in 1838. After a day of sightseeing, visitors usually enjoy shopping at the many unique boutique and handicraft stores that lie along the Place Saint Leger.
Aix-les-Bains - A wonderful spa resort within easy reach of Chambery for those with their own vehicles. Even if tourists don't wish to stay at the resort, the captivating views of the Bourget Lake still make the journey worthwhile for a daytrip.
Parc des Bauges - This is the attraction that most tourists use Chambery as a base from which to visit. This is where the fine French countryside can be enjoyed in all its glory. There are few places in the world as unspoilt as the Alpine areas here.
La Flecaz - This is undoubtedly the most popular of all the ski resorts in the area. It can be reached by driving around 30 minutes (20kms) north of Chambery and through the western side of the Parc Naturel Regional du Massif des Bauages.