Friday, 8 July 2011

Dukes of Savoy Castle, Chambery, France

The route for the 12th day of the Tour de France 2010 was from Chambery to Gap. This was a 179 km (111 miles) long medium mountain stage with three major climbs. The first of these was a severely testing Category 1 climb, 7 km long with a 9% gradient. After the third climb the descent is very winding and tricky. In 2003 it was here that Joseba Beloki fell and to avoid hitting him Lance Armstrong was forced to make an even steeper off-the-road detour and went on to win the Tour that year for the 5th time.

This time the stage was won by Sergio Paulinho. and the only change in leadership was in the mountain classification in which Jerome Pineau regained the polka jersey. Andy Schleck retained leadership in the overall classification (yellow jersey) and the best young rider classification (white jersey), while Thor Hushovd continued to lead the points classification (green jersey).

Chambery has existed as a town from the middle ages when it used to be called Lemencum. The name underwent several changes over the centuries and in the 17th century it came to be known as Chamberi. Since the town was very strategically located at the crossroads of ancient routes it was politically very active from the 13th century to the 19th century.

The Savoy family moved into an existing castle in Chamberium, as it was then known in the 13th century, and then made many changes and additions to it. Chateau Chambery or the Dukes of Savoy Castle, as it was called, served as the seat of power of the House of Savoy until the 16th century, when it was shifted to Turin because it was felt that this castle was difficult to fortify. However the castle stayed with the Savoy family until the 19th century.

Today the Dukes of Savoy Castle is owned by the state and serves as an administrative centre.

Incidentally Chambery is the French town devoting the most funds to facilitate public reading. The town even hires people to read to blind people and interestingly, a baby reader card is awarded to every child born in Chambery. As a result of such initiatives the number of books borrowed from libraries in Chambery is three times the national average.

My sketch of the Dukes of Savoy Castle is approximately 12 cm x 9.5 cm.


  1. stunning sketch! love the perspective. and really interesting write-up.

  2. Thank you...In terms of perspective I found this a tricky one. My main reference picture was small and fuzzy. I therefore had to look at photographs from more than one angle to figure it out.