Nestled at the gateway of regional natural parks of the Bauges Massif and of the Chartreuse, at the crossroads of the city of Chambery and vineyards of the Combe de Savoie, Challes-les- Eaux welcomes visitors in its green setting, which promotes good health. The discovery of the source "the Sulphur Queen" in the 19th century changed the destiny of this small rural town named Triviers, which flourished considerably in the golden age of hydrotherapy. In the early 20th century, an affluent clientele came to take the waters and have fun, you could meet, Louis Jouvet, André Gide or Michele Morgan ...
1. The Casino
The Casino of Challes-les-Eaux was built in 1883, shortly after the Spa.
This beautiful empire style building has undergone many activities.
One can notice the plaque affixed by the U.S. army in 1918 in memory of its troops who stayed in Challes-les- Eaux. The Casino was also used, over a period of time, as a reception centre for Polish refugees, then it was requisitioned as a care centre for German troops at the end of the war in 1944.
2.The Park of « Triviers »
The bridle path connects the park of the casino to Triviers park, a place to stroll in tranquility. Old trees including huge redwoods surround a building built in 1550. Converted into apartments in 1995, the Castle of Triviers was transformed over time as a fortified house, as a pension, as a furnished house, as a holiday camp and as a hotel.
3. The spa
Dr. Domenget, walking in his property, discovered by chance on April 11, 1841 a source to be called "The Queen of Sulphur." Its outstanding water is the most sulphurized in Europe. In 1874, the construction of a thermal centre
began. The Spa received, two years after the beginning of construction, the first "Bathers", the patients at the time. A new source discovered in 1992, also very sulphurous, is used in ENT and gynecological spa treatments.
(Feel free to enter the hall of the baths)
4. The Castle of the Challes’ Counts
Ancient castle of the powerful family of the Counts of Challes, this monument was built in 1450. During the revolution, the castle was sold as National
property and it was purchased by a lawyer named Balmain. Following his
marriage with one of the Balmain daughters, Dr. Domenget, physician of the King and of the royal family in Savoie, became the new owner.
It was he who discovered in 1841 the sulphur spring that led to the spa.
In 1860, when Savoie was annexed to France, the castle of the Counts of Challes was converted into a hotel. In 2002, the family Trier took over the destiny of this haven of peace, with the will and the enthusiasm needed to save this wonderful castle.
(You can enter the courtyard from which a panoramic view of the city is offered)
5. View of the aerodrome from the castle’s courtyard
The Gliding Alpine Centre, dating from 1913, is located in the most favorable regions of France for gliders. Each year, the best pilots fly over 1000 km. The Gliding Alpine Centre is ranked among the most active French clubs of Gliding. Introductory lessons, accessible to all, give a chance to discover the pleasure of gliding.
6. Post Office : coat of arms and ancient hotel
With the rise of spas, many hotels have opened in the early 20th century.
Challes-les-Eaux has counted up to 23 institutions with "Le Parc”, which currently houses the post office. Challes’ coat of arms can be admired on the front of the post office.
7. Street of the ancient City Hall Washing basin
This street is typical of the old town, gathered on the hill, with its storefront’s shutters dating from the 19th century. Its covered wash basin was built on the site of the old oven. In 1887, 8 washing basins were
distributed among the hamlets and the town.
8. The Church
Starting in 12th century, a chapel was built in Triviers (former name of the city Challes) but it did not become a parish in its own right until 1670. In spite of the expansion, the chapel remained in a state close to decay over the centuries, mainly due to the poverty of the community. The present church was completed in 1837 with the old bell dating from the 16th century and listed as a historical monument.
The « Mont St-Michel »
Coming down to the Tourist Office, you have the Mount St. Michael in the background. From its 895m height, it offers visitors a network of walking and hiking paths, which are rewarded by an extraordinary view from the summit. A wide gently sloping path allows one to reach the site of dry grassland made of special biotope, which is classified as "Natura 2000". Continuing the hike, you can reach the peak in about 2 hours.
The chapel, whose first construction dates from the Middle Ages, and is dedicated to St. Michael, the Archangel and stands at the culmination point of this viewpoint, which allows for an outstanding view of the gorge of Chambery and the Chartreuse Mountains. The Bauges natural park has built a nature trail on the slopes of Mont St. Michel (Booklet and complementary Hiking guide are available at the tourist office).