Early doors, on my return to the Alps, I have been given a sucker punch. Chambery has failed to impress but that is because I had not given it a chance. Most of my passes have been on the Autoroute, which frankly is unlikely to give you a fair indication of the place. I did briefly skirt through last year, but little more than past the railway station.
This year is different though as I am not on my own, so I have been pushed into looking deeper. On the quest for a restaurant we took the wonderful underground spiral car park at the Palais de Justice before striking out into the town.
What we found was typical French al fresco dining, which in June is extremely pleasant. It was good watching life go by. I gave my mum the box seat, she looked out in to the main square, whereas I had our fellow diners and the medieval backdrop to look over.
Lets focus on the people first and I was surprised by the number of single people, especially women, who came out to eat with a book in hand. Good on them I say as back in the UK most single people fear going out to eat alone, whereas in this corner of France at the very least, they are out and having a fine meal. As a devoted singleton this has given me a lot of heart and confidence.
Then there is the backdrop. Having shunned Chambery to date I was amazed at the patches of beauty it had to show. Okay it is not like central Paris with its wide boulevards and grand facades, Chambery is more 1600’s to 1800’s in architecture.
It was fascinating to wander down the alleyways, one of which claims to be the oldest in the town, dating from the 14th century. The buildings were close knit and the wooden doors and frames smelt old. Pictures would not do it justice as the age came through primarily as a smell combined with a dampness that you could taste. This sounds unpleasant but it was far from it as it was truly wonderful to experience.
So it has been an eye opening evening and one which I have been grateful for. I have learnt that in France being single is no barrier to socialising and going out and about. It has been invaluable.