Savoie (Arpitan : Savouè d’Avâl) is a French department located in the Rhone-Alpes region in the French Alps.. It is bounded to the East by Switzerland and Italy, to the South by Provence-Alpes-Cote-d’Azur, to the West by Auvergne and to the North by Burgundy and Franche-Comte.
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Town Property Guides
Savoie is part of the Rhone-Alpes region. It borders the departments of Haute-Savoie, Ain, Isere and Hautes-Alpes in addition to Italy.
Much of Savoie is covered by mountains: Chartreuse Massif, Bauges Massif, Vanoise Massif and Beaufortin Massif.
The department is crossed by the Isere river, which has its source in the Iseran pass. Its two main lakes are Lake Bourget (the largest and deepest lake entirely in France) and Lake Aiguebelette, one of the least polluted in France due to a law forbidding any use of motorboats on the lake.
It is a sub continental climate and the bulk of the department, mountain, cold and snowy winter, mild and thunderstorms in the summer. The intersaisons (April and October) are on average more dry, but the rainfall is generally one of the highest in France.
This area generally enjoy long warm summers (with average temperature of 23°C), which are colder in the higher Alps.
Spring and autumn are usually best for sightseeing.
Chambery is a city of art and history, managed to preserve the character of its colourful old town, with its pedestrianised streets and trompe-l’oeil painted façades. Dotted with elegant town houses and narrow alleyways, some of which date from the Middle Ages, the town is dominated by the imposing castle of the Dukes of Savoy. This important symbol stands as a reminder that Chambéry was the capital of Savoy until 1860.
Aix-Les-Bains, the second most important spa town in France, has all the amenities of a lakeside resort, with the added bonus of the mountains on its doorstep. Just a few hundred yards from the town centre, Lac du Bourget, the largest natural lake in France, offers a range of water sports, as well as swimming in water with an average temperature of 26°C.
Situated on the road to the Val d’Arly, Beaufortain and Tarentaise, Albertville is both an Olympic town and a medieval city (Conflans). The Beaufortain and Val d’Arly offer similar landscapes, with Mont-Blanc as a backdrop, flower-filled villages clinging to the hillsides, deep blue reservoirs, and green mountain pastures dotted with grazing Abondance and Tarine cattle. It will come as no surprise to learn that the famous Beaufort and Reblochon cheeses are made in this mountain region.
Obviously the most popular attractions are the winter sports such as skiing, snowboarding, Nordic skiing, touring skiing and ice climbing. Savoie is a home to the largest number of ski hills in France, including for example: Les Arcs, Courcheval, Val-d’Isere, La Plagne,Tignes, Meribel and Les Menuires.
Other mountains activities are hiking, walking, snowshoeing, sledging, dos-sleddingg and mountain climbing.
There are also 4 hydrotherapic locations: Aix-les-Bains, Challes-les-Eaux, Brides-les-Bains and La Lechere.
The possible water activities on the Savoie lakes and rivers are: yachting, sailing, rafting, windsurfing, canoeing, kayaking, hydro speeding, hot-dogging, fishing and water skiing.
The Savoie also has a variety o golf courses and offer to paragliding, hang-gliding and helicopter and hot air balloon flights.
Of all Savoie Mont Blanc’s local products, cheeses are without a doubt at the top of the hit parade. The area has no fewer than 5 AOC cheeses: Reblochon, Beaufort, Tome des Bauges, Abondance and Chevrotin. In addition, Emmental and Tomme de Savoie are governed by an IGP guaranteeing their provenance and production conditions.
Savoie’s vineyards produce an amazing variety of wines, covering 4 AOCs (appellation d’origine contrôlee), 22 vintages and 23 grape varieties. With this diversity comes a multiplicity of flavours and bouquets that will delight even the most demanding palettes. For example Pinot red wine and Altesse white wine.
Pork is one of the pillars of Savoie cuisine. As well as being essential ingredients in many Savoyard dishes, pork offal, bacon, streaky bacon, cheeks and filets form the basis of a wide range of hams and sausages.
Savoie Mont Blanc’s rivers are full of trout and its lakes are home to many species of fish, including members of the salmon family, such as lavaret and arctic char, and coarse fish, such as pike or perch.
Savoie’s frequently harsh climate and rugged terrain are best suited to hardy vegetables, such as potatoes which is the main ingredient of Tartiflette (potato loaf with bacon, dried fruit and spices). Green cabbage used to be a staple food in Savoie. As well as being the main ingredient of “potée savoyarde”, it is also used for making the pork-based dish farcement. Cardoon is definitely the most Savoyard of vegetables: a member of the artichoke family, it is completely unknown in many other areas.
For the dessert there is gateau de Savoie-sponge cake, brioche de St Genix- with pink pralines, rissoles- fruit turnover, chocolate truffles de Chambery, eponge aux pralines-sweets cakes and many more.
Tourism office in Rhone Alps
Travel from the UK
By air: Easyjet flies from London Stansted to Lyon, and from Bristol, London Luton and London Gatwick to Lyon.
Easyjet flies from every airport in the UK to Geneva.
Ryanair flies from London Stansted to Grenoble.
Ski season flights from the UK: Jet2 flies from Manchester and Leeds to Chambéry (on December 2005)
BMI flies from London Heathrow to Lyon (from December 3rd to April 21 st)
British Airways flies from London Gatwick to Grenoble (from Dec 10 th)
Flybe flies to Chambéry from Southampton (from Dec 15 th) and from Birmingham (from Dec. 18th).
Our team of sale advisers at Sextant Properties will be happy to help you to find a property in Savoie. We have a large network of estate agents in Savoie. All of them are registered French real estate agents and speak both French and English. Whatever kind of property you are looking for: farmhouse, barn, gite, B&B, country house, chalet, we will do our best to find a ski property in Savoie matching your requirements. To find out more about our properties for sale in French Alps do not hesitate to contact us.