Friday, December 31, 2010

VOIRON & beyond: Chambéry

Fontaine des Éléphants Fontaine des Éléphants

Fontaine des Éléphants

Chambéry, capital of the Savoie department, is the last visit on our brief trip to Voiron and the Chartreuse massif. We had a nice evening strolling around the town, but it would be foolish to ignore the elephant in the room: the four elephants which make up the landmark fountain in the centre. Not complete elephants, although the visible portions are extremely lifelike. They are nicknamed les quatre sans culs (the four without arses), which puns on the famous film title Les quatre-cent coups (The 400 blows).

If you think you’ve seen something similar before – there’s the Sicilian Fontana dell’Elefante in Catania, which precedes this one by a century, although there’s only one elephant, and it definitely has an arse.

Pachyderms aside, what was most remarkable for me in this modestly-sized city of 60000, is the number of chocolatiers who ply their trade. The French love their chocolate and are prepared to pay for it.

We hunted around for a cafe for hot chocolate. I stepped up to one called The Faithful Sheepdog, but it had a big “no dogs” sign on the door. Sacre bleu! Settling into a bar, I ordered a greencho, only to be told a few minutes later that they were out of Chartreuse – and less than an hour from the source! Incroyable!

Château de Chambéry more ******* elephants

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