Savoie Travel Guide, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, France

The department of Savoie is a French department in the region Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, whose capital is the city of Chambery. The Savoie department is the second most mountainous in France, after the Hautes-Alpes department, with nearly 90% of its territory located in mountain areas. The Savoy tourism country has the tourism industry on the Savoyard territory, including the French departments of Savoie and Haute-Savoie. It is represented by the Savoie Mont Blanc brand.

Appeared from the 18th century, tourism has developed around the lure of hot springs and mountain and landscapes. Since the 1970s, the winter season has dominated with 60% of French tourism, in the hundred winter sports resorts. However, the region has other assets linked to a rich past, traces of which can be found in both towns and remote valleys, numerous lakes (Annecy; Bourget; Léman; Aiguebelette) or even various sports (nautical, mountains, aerial). The tourism represents today Savoie a very important sector, developed steadily from the end of the xix th century and more strongly in the second half of the xx th century. As such, the department of Savoie is the leading French department in terms of tourism with the greatest tourist wealth produced, which represents 14 % of the total wealth of the department.

Apart from tourism, the service sector is also the one that contributes the most to the Savoyard GDP. Agriculture and industry are therefore of less importance, but nevertheless have certain activities contributing to the notoriety of Savoy and its production: in particular through viticulture, cheeses and cold meats for agriculture (taking part in the all Savoyard gastronomy), and metallurgy, hydroelectricity or the manufacture of foodstuffs, such as crozets, for industry.

Finally, the Savoie department has an important architectural and cultural heritage, due to the diversity of civilizations that have occupied it. AtDecember 31, 2018, Savoy has 214 protections for historical monuments, including 90 classifications and 124 inscriptions. These monuments covering all eras: the stone circle of Séez Neolithic, the arch of Campanus of Aix-les-Bains Roman design, feudal column Aigueblanche (Middle Ages), or the old entry the Fréjus railway tunnel (19th century). With its 25 protections, the city of Chambéry, the historic capital of Savoy, alone accommodates 12%.

Tourism represents today in Savoie a very important sector, developed regularly from the end of the XIX century and more strongly in the second half of the XX century. The development of skiing in the Tarentaise has led Savoie to become the leading department in France due to its number of winter sports resorts and the wealth of tourism produced. In this regard, the turnover of the tourism sector is estimated at about 50% of the annual gross domestic product of the department.

However, all tourism in Savoy does not only focus on the activity of winter sports, tourism is also developed around other activities such as hiking, cycle tourism, hydrotherapy or water and air sports, In addition, there is gastronomic tourism or tourism linked to cultural heritage.

According to data from Savoie Mont-Blanc Tourisme, the tourist accommodation capacity in Savoie amounts for accommodation to 658,000 beds in summer and 530,000 beds in winter, 95% of which are located in mountain resorts. The number of overnight stays during the winter of 2010-2011 amounted to 21.5 million, of which 71% for the Tarentaise region alone, 21% for Maurienne and 8% for Beaufortain – Val d’Arly.

The summer season also records significant tourist attendance statistics, with 9.3 million overnight stays for the summer of 2010.

According to the Prefecture, the Savoy hotel portfolio in 2010 was 500 hotels, including 236 2-star hotels, 129 3-star hotels, 33 4-star hotels, 2 4-star luxury hotels, and 18 5-star hotels. For the summer of 2009, out of 9.2 million overnight stays, hotels recorded 800,000, compared to nearly 650,000 for campsites, and 79% of these concerned high mountains. The municipality with the largest number of beds in 2009 was the municipality of Saint-Martin-de-Belleville, in the Trois Vallées ski area.

In Savoy, in addition to the 63 stations winter sports, the department also has 38 operators of ski lifts and 3 governed the slopes. These operators are broken down by ski area size into: 7 small, 12 medium, 11 large and 8 very large. The ski lifts of Savoie generate the most important revenues in France, approaching 500 million euros each winter, globally increasing since 2006 (+ 10% over 5 years). Global revenues are estimated for their part, according to the General Council, at 2 billion euros.

The Savoyard ski area covers 45,000 hectares, includes 900 km of ski lifts (37.5% of the national park) and 1,000 km of cross-country ski trails. The major domains of the department are the Three Valleys, Paradiski, the Sybelles, the Espace Killy, the Espace Diamant, Galibier-Thabor, the Grand Domaine, the Espace San Bernardo and Val Cenis Vanoise.

The Savoie department also recorded 170,803 museum visits in 2009, the most visited being the Opinel Museum in Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne with 30,235 annual visitors (around 300,000 paid visits to 80 tourist sites in 2007). The department also has 70 tourist offices and tourist information centers, 4 casinos and 6 congress centers.

For outdoor activities, Savoie has 1,672 km of marked hiking trails, 2,426 km of cycle tourism routes, 188 km of cycle routes, 155 refuges and stopover lodges, or even 27 supervised beaches and 40 indoor swimming pools. The city of Aix-les-Bains is also labeled Nautical Station.

Finally, hydrotherapy is also developed in Savoy, with the four thermal spas still in activity which are Aix-les-Bains, Challes-les-Eaux, Brides-les-Bains and La Léchère (six including the Chevalley thermal baths in Aix -les-Bains and the Léchère spa). Aix-les-Bains remains in this regard the 2 spa in France after that of Dax in the Landes. Each year, Savoie welcomes around 50,000 curists, or 10% of the total in France, making it the leading spa destination nationally.

Savoyard hydrotherapy is the heir to Romanization. Some cities have managed to reactivate from the xviii th century their thermal potential as Aix-les-Bains near the Lac du Bourget (whose name comes from the Latin Aquae Gratianae, meaning “water of Emperor Gratian”), or a few more sites in Tarentaise (La Léchère, Brides-les-Bains).

The phenomenon of cure benefits from the medicalization of the end of the 20th century, and allows Savoy to develop its potential 6. The spa towns offer a range of activities combining rest and discovery of the mountain environment to the European elite. Attendance at the Aix-les-Bains thermal baths increased from 1876, with the rail connection with France (1858) and especially the opening of the Fréjus rail tunnel in 1871 which linked it with Italy. An estimated 100,000 tourists in 1895 took advantage of the waters. Initially, the spa towns of the Pre – Alps benefit from the first stays.

The promotion of the various sites is mainly due to the presence of the European aristocracy. Aix-les-Bains receives Queen Victoria, Emperor Pedro II of Brazil Alcantara (1888), Georges I of Greece (1889 to 1912), Wihelmine Netherlands (1896) or Leopold of Belgium. Évian-les-Bains was authorized to take the name “les Bains” in 1865, formalizing a practice that appeared a few decades earlier in connection with the development of transport. Thonon-les-Bains is also benefiting from this movement, as is the small station of Challes-les-Eaux on the outskirts of Chambéry. Then the curists become less reticent by venturing in the cities more inland of the Alps, closer to the mountain. The first to benefit from these tourists is Saint-Gervais-les-Bains on the road leading to Chamonix and Mont Blanc. The latter has been developing since 1806 with the discovery of sources by the notary Joseph-Marie Gontard. The Tarentaise Valley also has several sites in Brides-les-Bains, Salins-les-Thermes, or La Léchère.

These cities quickly equipped themselves with theaters and casinos in order to attract the European elite to them. Thus that of Évian-les-Bains, built by the architect Ernest Hébrard, makes J.-M. Marquis say that it looks like an “astonishing replica of Hagia Sophia of Constantinople … the sumptuous dilated volume of its dome with its ribs underlined with garlands of foliage evokes the splendor of Byzantium acclimatized to the freshness of Lake Geneva”.

White tourism
White tourism is very present in Savoie. According to the 2011 collection of indicators and analyzes by Domaines skiables de France, the Alps are the world’s leading destination with 45% of skier-days. Over the past 5 years, France has recorded 54.32 million, between the United States (57.64 million) and Austria (51.51 million). 25% of them were carried out by foreign skiers, which attests to the importance of French resorts for the French population. These foreign tourists were mainly British in 2011 (29% of overnight stays), followed by the Dutch (13%) and Belgians (12%).

In Savoy, in addition to the 63 winter sports resorts, the department also has 38 ski lift operators and 3 piste boards. These operators are broken down by ski area size into: 7 small, 12 medium, 11 large and 8 very large. The territory of the Southern Alps and the department of Haute-Savoiehave 11 and 10 large ski areas respectively, but no other area has more than 2 very large ski areas. The ski lifts of Savoie generate the most important revenues in France, approaching 500 million euros each winter, globally increasing since 2006 (+ 10% over 5 years). Over this same period, the department also represented 39.6% of the French market, followed by Haute-Savoie with 22.1% (and around € 250 million in current revenue). Global revenues are estimated for their part, according to the General Council, at 2 billion euros.

Finally, the Savoyard ski area covers 45,000 hectares. It includes 900 km of ski lifts (37.5% of the national park) and 1,000 km of cross-country ski trails. The major domains of the department are the Three Valleys, Paradiski, the Sybelles, the Espace Killy, the Espace Diamant, Galibier-Thabor, the Grand Domaine, the Espace San Bernardo and Val Cenis Vanoise.

Cultural tourism
Alongside winter sports, the Savoie department recorded 170,803 museum visits in 2009, the most visited being the Opinel Museum in Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne with 30,235 annual visitors, just behind the Eurêka Gallery in Chambéry (45,114 visitors) and the Abbey of Hautecombe on the west shore of Lac du Bourget (102,320 admissions in 2009). For the 2007 season, approximately 300,000 paid visits to 80 tourist sites were recorded. The department also has 70 tourist offices and tourist offices, 4 casinos and 6 convention centers. There are 5 thematic routes: Baroque trail, Dukes of Savoy, Cheeses from Savoy, Traversée Grandes Alpes, Wines of Savoy.

Tourist places
The tourist places in Savoy respond to practices that began from the second half of the xix th century. They are at the origin of natural orders – the attraction of summits, landscapes, lakes – but also artificial or cultural – places of history, heritage, local folklore. They are also linked to the practice of a sport which is available in the Savoy region in nautical, mountain (walking, skiing) or even aerial (hang-gliding, paragliding).

Environmental heritage
The natural heritage is based mainly on the attraction of the Alps, the mountain landscapes, including Mont Blanc, the flora and fauna, the lakes (Lake Annecy, Lake Geneva, Lake Bourget, Lake Aiguebelette), the gorges and waterfalls.

As early as the 1960s, Savoy and the French State safeguarded its heritage by creating the Vanoise National Park. The establishment of the regions also made it possible to create regional natural parks (Regional Natural Park of the Massif des Bauges, Regional Natural Park of Chartreuse).

The Bauges massif natural park received the Geopark label in 2011. In 2015, the Bauges gets new label, “UNESCO World Geopark” (UNESCO Global Geopark) and the Chablais, awarded by UNESCO.

Tourist towns and resorts
Towns in Savoy have obtained the ” tourist town ” label , or even that of “classified tourist resort”, from official labels. The city of Aix-les-Bains (Savoie), on the edge of the largest natural lake in France (Lac du Bourget) and the Bauges massif, has been directly classified as a tourist resort inSeptember 2013, without having obtained the common tourist label. The city of Chambéry, capital of the department and former capital of the Dukes of Savoy, also received this label.

Among the various classified municipalities of the Savoie department, there are many winter sports resorts. Thus the municipalities belonging to the area of Grande Plagne (La Plagne resort) – Aime, Bellentre, Champagny-en-Vanoise and Macôt-La Plagne – are, as are the municipalities of the area of Trois Vallées – Les Allues (Méribel), Brides-les-Bains (also spa resort), Saint-Martin-de-Belleville (Val Thorens, Les Menuires), La Perrière (La Tania) – or even Villarembert (Le Corbier).

Haute-Savoie has 48 classified municipalities, including Annecy, as well as towns or lakeside villages such as Duingt, Menthon-Saint-Bernard, Sévrier, Thonon-les-Bains or Yvoire, but also mountain resorts. such as Arâches-la-Frasse, La Clusaz, Le Grand-Bornand, Les Houches, Megeve, Morzine, Praz-sur-Arly, Samoëns, Taninges, Thônes.

Four towns and two Savoyard provinces have received the “Cities and Countries of Art and History” label. Savoie remains the best endowed with the cities of Aix-les-Bains, Albertville – Conflans (2003) and Chambéry (1985), as well as the Pays des Hautes vallées de Savoie (1991), grouping together the high valleys of Maurienne and Tarentaise. In Haute-Savoie, only Annecy and Val d’Abondance with the Pays de la Vallée d’Abondance appellation, in the province of Chablais received this label.

The region also has three villages classified among the Most Beautiful Villages of France: with Bonneval-sur-Arc in Savoie and Sixt-Fer-à-Cheval and Yvoire in Haute-Savoie.

The Savoie and Haute-Savoie hold “National Trophy bloom Departments” which only affects 20 departments in France. In 2006, 53 municipalities were labeled (3 Four Flowers / Grand Prize, 13 Three Flowers, 17 Two Flowers). In Savoie, there are 33 (1 grand prize, 2 Four flowers, 5 Three flowers, 9 Two flowers). Thus, 5 Savoyard communes out of 197 French communes were able to obtain Four Flowers and a Grand Prize (Annecy, Évian-les-Bains, Yvoire, Aix-les-Bains), while the village of Nances (330 inhabitants) has just obtained its fourth flower. We can specify that the city of Aix-les-Bainsobtained the Fleur d’Or (highest distinction in terms of flowering) in 2012.

Spa resorts
The region has eight spa towns with Aix-les-Bains / Aix Marlioz; Challes-les-Eaux; Brides-les-Bains; La Léchère; Salins-les-Thermes in Savoy and Évian-les-Bains; Thonon-les-Bains; Saint-Gervais-les-Bains in Haute-Savoie.

Historical heritage
Today, the Savoie department has a rich and diverse heritage. On the architectural heritage side, as of December 31, 2018, the Ministry of Culture listed 214 protections in its Mérimée base, divided into 90 classifications and 124 inscriptions. The municipality with the most listed and registered historical monuments is Chambéry with 25 protections, or 12% of the total. Then follow Aix-les-Bains with 15 protections, Bonneval-sur-Arc with 12 protections and Albertville with 10 protectionsbut few are the communes to have them since about 200 communes of the approximately 300 (70%) do not have any historical monument in 2018. The first protections to have been stopped in Savoy took place in 1875 and concerned the Saint-Martin d ‘ Aime basilica, the temple of Diane in Aix-les-Bains and the Hautecombe abbey in Saint-Pierre-de-Curtille.

The oldest protected historical monuments in the Savoie department date from Protohistory and in particular from the Neolithic period, such as the stone circle of Séez. The number of monuments then increases from the Middle Ages with the many fortifications formed by the towers and castles of Savoy, particularly in Conflans above Albertville and already with certain religious monuments such as the Church of Sainte-Marie-de- Cuines (XI century). The latter are still very numerous during the Renaissance and then begin to add landmarks such as bridges, fountains or cross (granite fountain Modane the XVI century Morens bridge over the Isère of XVII century cross wrought iron and granite base Saint-Martin-de-Belleville of the XVII century).

The 17th century to be marked by many religious buildings plus some specific monuments such as the Baths of Aix-les-Bains, and the XIX century opens the protection to more modern and sometimes industrial architectures such as the hydraulic tunnel of Gelon and Pont Royal in Chamousset or the rail tunnels of Fréjus and Brison. At last the XX century also has protected monuments, such as cottages Joliot-Curie and the Petit Navire in Courchevel, old hotels Royal and Excelsior of Aix-les-Bains or railway roundhouse Chambery.

Since 2011, the Savoy has five sites in the World Heritage of Unesco under the prehistoric pile dwellings around the Alps. These are Brison-Saint-Innocent – Baie de Grésine, Baie de Châtillon, Saint-Pierre-de-Curtille – Hautecombe and the Tresserve coast for the palafittic sites of Lac du Bourget, and Lac d’Aiguebelette (southern zone) for the Aiguebelette lake.

Finally, the department has 24 natural sites classified. It is an official French label testifying to an exceptional landscape, artistic, historical, scientific, legendary or picturesque interest of natural or artificial sites justifying the need for authorizations in order to carry out work likely modify the state or appearance of the protected territory. In addition, the commune of Bonneval-sur-Arc adheres to the most beautiful villages in France and Chambéry, Albertville and Aix-les-Bains hold the ” Cities of art and history ” label.

Cultural heritage
Culture in Savoy is found in very large and numerous areas. The department has a certain “Savoy” or “Savoyard” culture in the broad sense, covering the Haute-Savoie department in the same way, but has specificities ranging from the arts to heritage and bringing together various cultural events and festivities. clean.

Architecture, sculpture, painting
The Savoyard department offers a very diverse architecture. Although the use of wood and stone taken directly from the mountains is visible throughout the department, the different Savoyard territories each have their own characteristics, due to the climatic, cultural and economic differences that exist between them. As regards, more particularly, the roofing, slate, the tile and sometimes the jail are traditionally used. The houses were designed to accommodate animals (stables, stables, barns) and allow storage (attics, cellars, etc.), even if the cohabitation between cattle and individuals has never been generalized in Savoy (or at least limited to the winter period). However, knowledge of the ancient Savoyard architecture is quite limited, as some architectural rules were imposed on the population from the XIX century.

From this century of expansion of Savoy, the art of sculpture has particularly developed, with the erection, throughout the territory of the department, of a number of statues (commemorative or in homage to natives who have become illustrious), particularly in Chambéry (which alone has several dozen). Among the most famous, the Elephant Fountain (1838 in honor of Benoît de Boigne), Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Antoine Favre, the brothers Joseph and Xavier de Maistre, Saint-Bernard de Menthon at the Petit-Saint-Bernard pass,François-Emmanuel Fodéré in Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne, the bust of Germain Sommeiller in Modane station, or even, in addition to the various war memorials, La Sasson (1892, in honor of the attachment of Savoy to France of 1792) and the stele of the Route Royale aux Échelles.

The painting in Savoy, inspiration Italian and Piedmontese, revolved around descriptions of landscapes, but also portraits. The Museum of Fine Arts of Chambéry has in this respect many of the paintings in Savoy between the XIV and XIX centuries. Similarly, until the beginning of XX century, a “School Savoyard” has existed through the painting School of Chambéry. The department is also endowed with numerous contemporary art galleries (“Espace Malraux” in Chambéry, “Dôme” in Albertville.or “La Conciergerie” of La Motte-Servolex, in particular), or even of a Maison de l’Architecture de Savoie and a Council of Architecture, Town Planning and the Environment of Savoie.

Music, literature, theater
As for the development of music in Savoy, for example, the department had, in 2011-2012, 26 music schools training nearly 8,000 students, in addition to the Conservatoire with regional influence of the Pays de Savoie, created in 2004 and counting in 2013, 2,700 students. Note also the existence of an Orchestra of the Pays de Savoie, created in 1984. For traditional, popular and folklore Savoyard music, the emblematic instrument remains the alphorn, although family or village celebrations in Savoy have always been punctuated by songs accompanied by the violin and percussionstraditional, and later to the harmonica and the accordion, and finally by the battery-fanfare orchestras (the “music”) that have flourished in the Savoie throughout the XX century.

Historically, Savoy was the source of several melodies or songs, including Les Allobroges by Joseph Dessaix from 1856, also called La Liberté and considered to be the Savoyard hymn. The song Étoile des neiges, based on an Austrian melody from 1944, was written in 1948 by Jacques Plante with the theme of Savoy.

The fifth art, that is to say literature (including poetry), has also often been present in Savoy. Even if Savoy is not famous for its famous writers and poets, many are on the other hand those to have mentioned Savoy in their writings, like Goethe, Chateaubriand, Alexandre Dumas, Honoré de Balzac, André Gide, Stendhal or Victor Hugo. The obligatory passage through the Mont-Cenis passand the position of “Alpine crossroads” of Chambéry made that Savoy has long been a territory very frequented by travelers, who took advantage of it to describe it.

The Lac du Bourget is also one of those most often described by visitors, the most famous of them undoubtedly being Alphonse de Lamartine, who in 1860 through his poem entitled The Lake from his Poetic Meditations, s’ address directly to the lake, exclaiming in particular “O lake.” »From the second quatrain. The writer and philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau, who stayed from 1731 to 1742 in Chambéry (including at the house of Charmettes from 1736) with Madame de Warens, also wrote a lot about the people and places that surrounded her.

To end with the sixth art of theater and more generally the ” performing arts ” (dance, circus …), Savoy acquired a first large Italian theater in 1824 in Chambéry. Today known as the Charles Dullin theater, this new building, replacing two old theaters of the XVIII century become insufficient, then had a seating capacity of 1800 spectators and its inauguration took place in the presence of King Charles-Félix of Savoy. It housed in particular lyrical shows, but sometimes also parties or banquets. After the fire of 1864, only the “curtain of Orpheus” could be spared, a painted stage curtain representing the myth of Orpheus’ descent into hell.

In 2008, Savoie counted 18 amateur companies and 22 professional theater companies. In addition, within the department acts the association “Theater in Savoie” whose primary role is to “support and promote theatrical action in Savoie and Haute-Savoie in all its forms (training, creation, distribution, education, animation …) “.

The seventh art, that is to say the cinema, is relatively present in Savoy. The department had 55 cinemas in 2008, for a total of 90 screens and 1.46 million admissions. For 2010, the National Center for Cinema and Animated Image (CNC) and the Department of Foresight Studies and Statistics (DEPS) specified the presence of 17,448 seats, and also advanced the figure of 1.548 million admissions., an increase of 6% in 2 years, for total revenues of EUR 10.784 million and attendance index quite high, 3.84 admissions per capita, placing the Savoy in 12 rank of French departments on this criterion. Already in 1999, a file of the Ministry of Culture evoked that the departments best equipped with cinemas did not concern only the only major poles of activity of the French population (Paris, Rhône, North …), but also, between others, those of the Alpine massifs, citing in this respect Savoie and Haute-Savoie.

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The theater moved for the first time in Savoy at the beginning of XX century. The Modern-Palace cinema opened in Chambéry in 1911, with a metallic structure and a gallery. It will be destroyed and replaced in 1957 by Le Régent, itself replaced later by the current Jean Renoir room. Both then only had one screening room. The oldest Savoy cinema still in service is L’Astrée in Chambéry. Opened in 1940, it also only had one screening room, then increasing to three in 1975 and four rooms in 1984. Finally, since summer 2012, Chambéry owns the most modern cinematographic multiplex in France. Operated by Pathé, it is located on the Les Halles site in the city center, has 10 rooms and 1,700 seats.

Traditionally, the Savoyards wear a woolen cloth dress, shirt, shawl, hat and apron, while the Savoyards are content with trousers, a blouse, a woolen cloth jacket and ‘a black felt hat. However, each village of Savoy also sought to distinguish itself according to its headdress or its embroidery, which is why all the costumes could not be entirely similar, not only from one valley to another, but also from one village to another. other. In addition, each territory also has more or less a common set of outfits. The costume therefore served both to reveal the geographical origin as well as the social status of its owner, particularly through the quality of the fabrics (silks, embroidery, etc.). In addition, these outfits were more or less modified according to the season (in particular the temperatures) as well as the type of activity carried out during the day (cutting wood, working in the fields, etc.).

In addition to costumes, it might also be customary to wear various accessories. Among them are jewelry, especially with the advent of the Savoy cross at the end of the XVIII centuryand then more rapidly after 1860, and found themselves thecross pendantsin the Beaufort, thecross of the Shrewin the valley d’Arly, theradiant crossofValloire, theCroix à l’OsinHaute-Maurienne, plus various other crosses such as thechaincrossor thetrefoil crossof Saint Maurice, it seems the oldestand the most authentically Savoyard, the counts of Savoy having indeed taken Saint Maurice as patron (first model spotted in Peisey-Nancroix). Gold hearts, brooches and necklaces were also worn. Then came the “creole” earrings, imported from the Second Empire after the annexation to France and quickly became popular with women tarines in particular. In the absence of gold, the money was used, offered to women by the future spouses, each aspiring to hold “her cross and her heart”. Then these jewels were often bequeathed by direct inheritance.

Today, few costumes remain in everyday life, but very often they are worn again as part of cultural events with a folkloric vocation in Savoy.

The gastronomy Savoy is located at the crossroads between tradition and cultural heritage, in the image of the French gastronomy recorded in Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity under ” gastronomic meal of the French ” including the same food and the traditional Savoyard cuisine.

Traditionally, Savoyard cuisine consists of a very wide variety of dishes and different recipes from one valley to another in the department. This cuisine is found both in all meal services (starter, main course, cheese and dessert), but is also often used in Savoyard recipes, and meat, game or not, is often used in charcuterie. aperitifs, digestives and in terms of drinks. Historically, it is mostly made from cereals (such as wheat and corn), meat and dairy products, including many cheeses. The potato, in the form of sausages, such as diots, and sausages in particular. The torrents and especially the large lakes of the department are relatively full of fish, so the fish presented on the markets are local wild fish. They are most often lavarets, trout, char or catfish. As regards game, traditionally found in Savoyard dishes most mountain animals such as thechamois or marmot, to which are added wild boar and deer (deer, roe deer, hinds…), often cooked and marinated in wine.

The white wine is also frequently used in original recipes Savoy, including the diots white wine, the fondue, the cheese crust, the mountain fried or even rissoles (“r’jeûle” in Savoyard). Other recipes such as polente, tartiflette or croziflette (crozets cooked with reblochon) can also, depending on habits, be accompanied.

The cheeses produced today in Savoy include the squeegee, the Beaufort, the volume of the Bauges, the Tomme de Savoie, the blue of Termignon, the blue Mont Cenis the Emmental de Savoie, the Reblochon cheese, the parsley Tignes, the parsley of Mont-Cenis, the buckshot, the abbey of Tamié and the softness of Revard. As for pastries, Savoy is notably the source of the Saint-Genix cake and the Savoy biscuit (or Savoy cake).

Finally, the department is one of the 10 departments with the most stars awarded by the Michelin Guide in 2012, along with that of Haute-Savoie. The commune of Courchevel alone has 8 starred restaurantsout of a total of 19. While none has 3 stars, 8 have 2 and 11 have 1. In addition, two restaurants are honored with the “Big Gourmand” (full menu with good value for money).

Events and festivities
The main events taking place on the territory of Savoy are, by their attendance, the Musilac music festival in Aix-les-Bains and the Estivales in Savoy, some of which take place at the castle of the Dukes of Savoy in Chambéry.

Musilac is a music festival organized every year since 2002 during the month of July on the Aix-les-Bains esplanadenear Lake Bourget. Among the artists who have recently performed there, we can cite Bénabar, Jean-Louis Aubert or Franz Ferdinand in 2012, or Carlos Santana, Bernard Lavilliers and Ben Harper in 2011.

Shortly afterwards, the Estivales en Savoie succeeded Musilac as a music festival during most of July: it took place at different sites in the department. The peak in attendance was recorded in 2010 with 49,000 spectators, 80% of Savoyards. These shows and concerts are also free to the public.

In literature, the city of Chambéry organizes every year since 1987 the festival of the First novel during which readings are organized and at the end of which the authors are rewarded, including Amélie Nothomb. In this respect, it is “the first collaborative festival of readers in France”.

In addition, Chambéry has also hosted the Chambéry International Comics Festival every year since 1975, during which authors, publishers and readers come to discuss comics. Each year, the festival honors certain guests.

Also, some popular arts and traditions events have been taking place all over the department, such as the Chambéry World Cultures of the World Festival in July for nearly 50 years. But other municipalities also have their manifestations of local popular arts and traditions, as well as their groups of local popular arts and traditions, including the Berres in Arêches-Beaufort, the folk group of Conflans in Albertville, the Traina Patin in Orelle, the Biau Zizé in Flumet or the Pasturelle du Val d’Arly in Ugine.

Natural heritage

Savoy is part of the region Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes. Its territory covers a total area of 6 028.25 km, or 602,825 hectares, 14% of the region. It borders the departments of Haute-Savoie to the north, Ain and Isère to the west, and Hautes-Alpes to the south. The east of Savoy borders on the valleys of Susa and Aosta in Italy.

The department comprises 554,100 hectares located in mountain areas, i.e. 88.4% of its area, making it the second most mountainous department in France after the Hautes-Alpes, whose territory is entirely located in mountain area. Its lowest point is at Saint-Genix-sur-Guiers (208 meters) and its highest point at 3,855 meters for the Grande Casse en Vanoise, i.e. a drop of over 3,600 meters and an average altitude of 1,500 meters.

The vast majority of the Savoy massifs are alpine massifs, including the Bauges, Chartreuse, Beaufortain, Mont-Blanc (southwest), Lauzière, Vanoise, Cerces, Mont massifs -Cenis, des Arves, and part of the Belledonne chain. To these massifs is also added the southernmost part of the Jura, located to the west of the department in the Savoyard hinterland and formed mainly by the Mont du Chat, the chain of the Épine and themassif of Chambotte.

Moreover, its geographical division most often follows mountain ranges. This is the case in the east with Italy, separated from France by the needles and the great passes such as Mont-Cenis and the Petit Saint-Bernard, but also with the Hautes-Alpes in the south, reachable by the Col du Galibier, and the north-eastern part of Haute-Savoie where the limit runs along the Aravis range (limit at the Col des Aravis) and certain summits of the Bauges. Finally, this is also the case with Isère, separated by the Belledonne chain. On the Ain side, the Rhônemarks the limit for nearly 50 kilometers, from the confluence with the Fier near Seyssel to the surroundings of Saint-Genix-sur-Guiers. For the plain limits, these can be inspired by the historical limits of Savoy (for example that with the province of Dauphiné, at the level of Mount Granier) or most often other rivers (such as the Guiers from the Savoyard Avant-Pays to the Chartreuse).

With regard to hydrography, the department is crossed from east to west by the Isère (286.1 km to the Rhône) and the Arc (127.5 km), which originate near the col de Iseran. The Isère descends the Tarentaise valley and the Arc that of the Maurienne after which it joins the Isère at the level of the valley of Savoy. These are the only two rivers of more than 100 km in Savoie, but the total length of the rivers in the department is 2,200 km. Its two main areas ofLac du Bourget (44.5 km, the largest and deepest natural lake of French glacial origin located exclusively in France) and Lac d’Aiguebelette (5.45 km), one of the least polluted of France due to a prefectural decree of 1976 prohibiting the use of thermal engine boats (except for emergency services) on the lake. The water represents a total of 12,569 hectares, of which 8,000 are lakes.

Forests and agricultural land represent 193,500 and 190,000 hectares, respectively, or one third of the department for every, followed by glaciers and rocks with 22.75%.

The lowest administrative center is that of Saint-Genix-sur-Guiers (210 m) and the highest that of Tignes (2,600 m).

With regard to soil quality, in 2012, Savoie identified 82 polluted sites and soils that were the subject of public action. Among them, 38 are awaiting diagnosis, 37 have been treated and subjected to restriction of use or monitored and 7 have been treated and free of any restriction.

The air quality, measured by 5 reference stations gives in 2009 a downward trend in the sulfur dioxide content and an upward trend in airborne dust particles, although below the quality objectives. The nitrogen dioxide, resulting in particular from traffic, has yet stable annual average there in compliance with regulatory limits. The case of ozone is less favorable, particularly at altitude where high concentrations are observed. Finally, the ATMO index for 2009 gives the air quality as “good” or “very good” between 60 and 70% of the time, the level “very bad” having never been reached.

For water quality, in 2003, a “population served by non-compliant water for the micro-biology parameter” was identified of 35,441 out of a total of 365,986, ie a little less than 10% of the population. For its part, the regional health agency noted on the bacteriological quality of the water consumed between 2007 and 2009, 383 distribution units (IDU) of good quality (51%) and 231 of satisfactory quality (31%), against 113 IDUs of insufficient quality and poor quality. However, distributed among the population, good quality IDUs affect 70% of the population and 132 IDUs of poor or insufficient quality only affect 7% of the population.

In 2013, the French pollutant emissions register recorded around thirty sources of waste and pollutant discharges into the aquatic environment, but none deemed dangerous. The sanitation Savoie is performed late 2009 by 163 treatment plants representing 1,083,600 population equivalent (pe), an improvement from 2005. Improvements to continue until reach 1,176,500 PE in 2015 by the creation of 11 new stations including 6 equipped with macrophyte filters. As for rivers, Savoie has an agriculture oriented towards dairy farming, it finds itself confronted with certain organic and bacteriological pollution, especially in the mountains, and the diversity of productions (example with viticulture) can also be affected. origin of pollution by phytosanitary products. However, nitrate pollution is not significant in department.

A study of the waters of the Arc en Maurienne watershed concludes that “the water quality has improved overall in the Arc watershed compared to the 2004 monitoring”.

Fauna and flora
The Savoy Biodiversity Observatory is responsible for identifying and listing the various species, animal and plant, contributing to the biodiversity of the department. In the state of its knowledge for 2013, the Observatory lists 4,744 species. Among the most represented are 2370 flowering plants and 1229 of Lepidoptera (butterflies). In addition, there are 289 species of birds, 79 species of mammals and 25 species of fish. The largest numbers of species recorded are mainly located in a large “eastern” third of Savoy, in Vanoise and in the high valleys ofTarentaise and Maurienne. But the west also knows a few areas rich in species, especially around Lake Bourget.

The department of Savoie has a large number of so-called “mountain” species, both for fauna and flora. The mountain fauna is characterized by chamois, ibex, marmots or golden eagles. While most species living in Europe are found in Savoy, some freshwater fish such as white whitefish (called lavarets) are present in most alpine lakes and almost limited to the Rhône-Alpes region and the Swiss Alps.

Savoie also has a rich mountain flora, with many species such as edelweiss, yellow gentian, snow gentian, cyclamen, white genepi and wormwood. A little less than 200 plants are subject to protection, in particular regulating their collection.

Savoy also has 2,000 km of forests, ie a third of the territory. At an average altitude of 1,600 m, these forests are made up of 55% conifers (fir, spruce and larch for more currents) and 45% of hardwoods (including beech, oak, chestnut and poplar in particular). Shared between the state forests, the department, 271 municipalities, 5 public establishments and 58,000 private owners, these forests benefit from a high rainfall and are easily regenerated. 90% of territorial forests and 100% of state forests are eco-certified. The oldest trees in the department are found in the Orgère forest in the town of Villarodin-Bourget in Haute-Maurienne. This 70-hectare forest in fact lists several larches that are about 1,000 years old. Another special feature: with its 59 km area, the poplar grove of Chautagne, located between the Rhône and Lake Bourget, is the largest poplar grove in Europe.

The Savoyard forests allow the exploitation of around 3,000 m of timber each year.

Finally, Savoie has about fifty municipalities labeled city or village in bloom. Since October 2013, it even has the Department Fleuri label.

Natural parks
The Savoie department has 3 natural parks: a national park two regional natural parks (PNR):
Vanoise National Park: first national park created in France, in 1963. With a total area of 2,000 km distributed within a “Heart” area of 535 km and an “Optimal membership area” of 1,465 km, the park is located entirely on the territory of Savoie, in the mountainous areas of the east of the department with an altitude varying between 1,280 and 3,855 m (the Grande Casse, roof of Savoy). It is the natural habitat of around 4,000 chamois, 1,600 ibexand 120 nesting birds (the Vanoise being in this respect one of the 3 major sites in the Alps for the nesting of vultures), and also sees some 1,200 species of flowers growing on its soil, including 200 considered remarkable. The heart of the Vanoise park is also made up of 60% alpine pastures, 29% rocks, 10% glaciers and only 1% forests due to the relatively high average altitude. Finally, the park includes 5 nature reserves, 8 prefectural biotope protection orders (APPB) and4 zones of protection by Natura 2000.
Bauges Regional Natural Park: created in 1995 with the aim of revitalizing the Bauges massif and protecting and enhancing its remarkable natural and cultural heritage, the park located straddling the departments of Savoie and Haute-Savoie, totals an area of 856 km. Beginning at the foot of the massif at an altitude of 270 m, its highest point is at 2,217 m. It lists 1,600 plant species, 150 species of nesting birds and 9 species of amphibians, and the Bauges National Hunting and Wildlife Reserve notably protects chamois, mouflons and black grouse on 5,200 ha of forests and mountain pastures. The PNR of the Bauges massif includes 7 Natura 2000 sites and in September 2011 obtained the geopark label, supported by UNESCO.
Chartreuse Regional Natural Park: also created in 1995, the park extends over the departments of Savoie and Isère, but most of its 76,700 ha are located in Isère. The park stretches over a vertical drop of 200 m to 2,082 m above sea level. In terms of biodiversity, the park is home to more than 2,000 plant species, ie one third of the species existing in France present in Chartreuse, and the same for half of the mammals and birds of France. In this regard, the park has observed the return, by reintegration, of the ibex to its territory, Disappeared during the XIX century. Finally, since 2001, the park has been responsible for the management of the Hauts de Chartreuse Nature Reserve (which in Savoie includes Mont Granier in particular) and also monitors 3 sites classified Natura 2000.

In the summer of 2012, a feasibility study began on the creation of a regional natural park “Belledonne” which would concern the chain of Belledonne on the departments of Isère and Savoie.

Other protected and managed areas
In total, Savoie has 22 prefectural biotope protection decrees (APPB), 4 state biological reserves, 6 national nature reserves, 6 land acquired by the Coastal Space Conservatory and 1 wetland relating to the Ramsar Convention on wetlands. As regards more specifically Natura 2000 sites, Savoie has 18 sites of Community interest (Habitat) and 7 special protection sites (Birds).

Finally, there is the presence in Savoie of 19 protection forests, 29 classified sites (the last being the Clou valley, classified March 25, 2013) and 101 registered sites.

The Savoie department, like its neighbor Haute-Savoie, is a department where a multitude of sports activities are practiced, including many winter sports, especially since the advent of skiing and then “white tourism. “linked to snow during the second half of the XX century. In this regard, Savoie is the first department in France for winter sports with a total of 63 stations, followed by Haute-Savoie and its 50 stations (a total of 113 stations in Pays de Savoie). These 63 stationsSki Department will also share a ski area of 36 100 ha, or 35% of French ski area, and also own 27% of the total lifts of the country. In addition, the Savoie Grand Revard site, present in the Bauges massif, is France’s leading Nordic skiing site. Moreover, it is the 4 French department for the number of top-level athletes it has.

Winter sports:
the Savoie Ski Committee had in 2011 in the department 81 clubs and 32 000 members in the disciplines of alpine skiing, Nordic skiing, freestyle skiing, snowboarding and telemark. All ski disciplines and all levels combined, the Savoie department trains some 80 athletes each year, and 20 athletes from the France A team (including 15 in alpine skiing) have been trained there.

Mountain sports:
the department has 4 clubs and 1 approved canoe-kayak structure, practiced on 18 rivers of all types of size and flow and climbing – mountaineering has 22 clubs. The paragliding is also much activity practiced in Savoy, which has a total of 38 sites and as many clubs and schools. The Canyoning is also practiced in Savoie, including Grenan canyon in the foreland Savoyard. Finally, raftingis an activity also popular on the Savoyard territory, especially down the Isère in the Tarentaise valley and the Doron de Bozel en Vanoise.

Water sports:
the practice of rowing is allowed by 4 clubs in Savoie which have nearly 1,300 license, in particular on the Bourget and Aiguebelette lakes, where water skiing can also be practiced. The sport of swimming is provided by 9 clubs with 1,500 licensees. Lastly add 2 clubs veil (1242 licensees) and 1 team of water polo, the Circle of swimmers Aix-les-Bains. Aix-les-Bains also holds the label ” France nautical station »Because of the important nautical offer on the lake of Bourget.

Infrastructure and sports competitions
The 60 winter sports resorts in the department are spread over vast ski areas and have a variety of sports facilities. Thus, the Paradiski area offers bobsleigh and ice climbing infrastructures. Numerous snowparks are present in a very large number of resorts, and Courchevel has a ski jumping hill, the Praz springboard, resulting from the 1992 Olympic Games. Various competitions are organized each year, such as the Pierra Menta in Arêches-Beaufortin March, or other one-off international events, such as the 2001 Ski World Cup in Bourg-Saint-Maurice, more recently the 2009 Alpine Skiing World Championships in Val d’Isère or the 2010 Winter X Games in Tignes. In addition, La Plagne will organize the World Telemark Championships in 2017.

The mountain is also a favorite place for other activities such as cycling. Each year since 1971 (with the exception of 2014), the Tour de France has offered one or two stages in the department, most often the opportunity to cross its many passes. In 2015, the Tour notably crossed the passes of the Col du Glandon, the Croix-de-Fer and the laces of Montvernier, in 2013 again the Glandon as well as the Madeleine, in 2012 the Madeleine and the Croix-de- Fer, in 2011 the Galibier and in 2010 Chambérywas the city of departure. More regional in scope, Savoie also sees the cyclists of the Critérium du Dauphiné pass each year.

But the mountain is also the field of action of the Tour de la Grande Casse, a trail organized every summer in Pralognan-la-Vanoise and where dozens of participants travel 65 km and climb a cumulative drop of more than 3,855 m during a 5 day average. In addition, the Grande Odyssée Savoie Mont-Blanc, an international dog sled race taking place in January and considered one of the most difficult due to its unevenness, starts in Haute-Savoie and ends in Val Cenis in Savoie after 1000 km race.

On the water various competitions also take place in Savoie. Each year in May, the European sailing championship on Lake Bourget takes place for a week in Aix-les-Bains, and the 2015 World Rowing Championships were held on Lake Aiguebelette, which is also the site of various triathlons. Some rivers in the department are signposted so as to allow the practice of sporting activities, such as the Isère at the level of the international white water base of Bourg-Saint-Maurice in Tarentaise. It is in this slalom basin that the French canoe-kayak championships very often take place (as in 2007), and it served as a benchmark during the world championships of 1969, 1987 and 2002. The municipality also has an international competition basin, 350 m long, 20-25 m wide and whose flow can be regulated up to 30 m / s.

Finally, the Aix-les-Bains racecourse is the only racetrack in the Alps, and the Aix-les-Bains golf course is the oldest in the region.

In terms of hiking, the Savoie department hosts portions of 4 long-distance hiking trails on its territory:
the GR 5 (from the North Sea to the Mediterranean Sea) crossing Beaufortain, Haute- Tarentaise and Haute-Maurienne;
the GR 9 (from Jura to the Mediterranean) passing through the chain of Épine and the Chartreuse;
the GR 65 (“Via Gebennensis” from Geneva to Puy-en-Velay) crossing the Chautagne and the Savoyard foreland;
the GR 96 (from Samoëns to Entremont-le-Vieux) stretching from the Bauges massif to Entremont in Chartreuse.

To these are also added the trails and circuits of Walks and Hikes (PR). In total, the Savoie Departmental Hiking Committee is responsible for maintaining the markup of nearly 2,000 km of marked trails every year, on the approximately 6,000 km of trails in the department.

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