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Chambéry is home to the 13th Battalion of the Chasseurs Alpins.
The city was founded at crossroads of ancient routes among Burgundy, Switzerland and Italy, and is still a major railroad hub, at the center of the Lyon-Turin rail link in the hands of the Franco-Italian "Lyon Turin Ferroviaire." It lies at the heart of a municipal agglomeration of more than 100,000 inhabitants, in a valley between the Bauges and the Chartreuse, extending towards the vineyard slopes of the Combe de Savoie to the south and almost to the shores of the Lake of Bourget — the largest natural lake in France— to the north.
The history of Chambéry is closely linked to the House of Savoy, the Savoy capital from 1295 to 1563. When Duke Emmanuel Philibert moved their main seat to Turin in 1563, Chambéry declined. When Savoy was returned to the House of Savoy in 1815, a need for some urban revitalization was met by the establishment in 1820 of the Société Académique de Savoie devoted to material and ethical progress, now housed in an apartment of the ducal Chateau.
Chateau de Chambéry
The Count of Savoy settled in this already fortified place in 1285 and extended it in the early 14th century to serve as residence, as seat of power and administration and as stronghold for the House of Savoy. As a serious fortification genuinely capable of resisting a siege, it was quickly obsolete, part of Duke Emmanuel Philibert's decision, face with constant French hostility, to remove his seat to Turin. The chateau remained purely an administrative center, until Christine of France, Duchess of Savoy, returned to hold court in 1640. In 1786 Victor Amadeus III added a Royal Wing. Under Napoleon, the Aile du Midi ("South Wing") was rebuilt and redecorated to house the imperial prefecture of Mont-Blanc, housed here. Elaborate rearrangements were made after Savoy was joined to France in 1860.
Archbishop of Chambéry
Chambéry is also an archdiocese that does not precisely conform to the modern arrondissement. It comprises some communes in the arrondissement of Annecy (Haute-Savoie), and in the arrondissement of Albertville (Savoie).
Amadeus IX, duke of Savoy and his Duchess Yolande of France built a ducal chapel for their prized relic, the Santo Sudario, the Holy Shroud (now in Turin). In 1467 Pope Paul II erected a chapter directly subject to the Holy See. In 1515 Leo X would have made the deanery an archbishopric and published a bull to that effect, but Francis I, King of France objected; it was only in 1775 that this deanery was separated from the Diocese of Grenoble by Pius VI, who, in 1779, created it a bishopric with the see at Chambéry, a fourth bishop for Savoia. After the Revolution, with Chambéry returned to the Kingdom of Sardinia, it became the seat of an archbishop (1817).
The Cistercian Abbey of Hautecombe, founded in 1135, is one of the burial places of the House of Savoy. At Notre-Dame de Myans (established before the 12th century), St Francis de Sales officiated. Francis I of France went to Notre-Dame de l'Aumone at Romilly (13th century) as a pilgrim. The Sisters of St Joseph, an order founded at Chambéry in 1812 and devoted to teaching and charitable work, are now widespread.
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