Parc Naturel Régional de Chartreuse


Limestone promontories, dense forests and a powerful liqueur are the signature features of this 767-sq-km regional park. The 1300km of marked walking trails are a major incentive to visit, but the namesake liqueur is an even bigger draw. The Caves de la Chartreuse introduce the history of monk-made Chartreuse liqueur (including tastings); 24km east is the Musée de la Grande Chartreuse, delving into the monks' secretive lives.

It’s simplest to have private transport to reach and explore the park.

Otherwise, Transisère ( runs irregular buses between Grenoble and St-Pierre-de-Chartreuse (line 7000, €5.60, 1¼ hours) and between Chambéry to Voiron (line 7010, €5.60, 1½ hours).

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Savoie attractions

1. Musée de la Grande Chartreuse

3.76 MILES

Encircled by forest-draped cliffs, this intriguing museum explores the millennia-long history of the Grande Chartreuse monastery, 2km north. Thirty-odd…

2. Caves de la Chartreuse

11.35 MILES

Comprising a museum, cellars, bar/tasting room and gift shop, the Chartreuse Cellars lead visitors through centuries of liqueur history. The distillation…

3. Musée des Charmettes

11.79 MILES

Geneva-born philosopher, composer and writer Jean-Jacques Rousseau, a key figure of the Enlightenment and the French Revolution, lived the happiest years…

4. Château des Ducs de Savoie

12.34 MILES

Medieval walls, Gothic tracery, trompe l'oeil detailing…Chambéry's château has acquired a wealth of styles since its founding in the 11th century. Once…

5. Cathédrale St-François de Sales

12.43 MILES

All is not as it seems inside Chambéry's 15th-century Franciscan cathedral, decorated with 6000 sq metres of trompe l’œil painting. The largest such…

6. Musée Savoisien

12.45 MILES

Due for a grand reopening in 2020, this museum housed in a Franciscan monastery was closed to undergo a massive renovation when we passed through. When it…

7. Hôtel de Cordon

12.46 MILES

This former hôtel particulier (historic private mansion) has interactive displays on local culture on its upper floor. It's also the starting point for…

8. Fontaine des Éléphants

12.54 MILES

With its four carved elephants, this 17.6m-high fountain looks like the model for an old Indian postage stamp. It was sculpted in 1838 in honour of…