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was attached to an hospital that existed here in the 9th century, and, probably, under some other denomination, even in the time of the Romans.

The road at present used from the summit of the Col d'Aiguebellette to Chambéry is the best, though only practicable for pedestrians or cattle it might easily be rendered fit for the passage of chars; but, as there is little intercourse across it, there is no sufficient motive for its improvement.

The first village reached after an hour's descent is Vimine, ingeniously conjectured by Beaumont to be derived from Via Minima, because it lay on the shortest route from Lemincum (Chambéry) to Vienna, Allobrogum (Vienne, on the Rhône). In going to or from Chambery by this route, instead of that by Les Echelles, the pedestrian will gain two hours; the whole distance from Pont de Beauvoisin requiring about eight hours.

From the village of Vimine to the hamlet of Cognin is a short hour's walk over a bad road, but through beautiful scenes: thence, in half an honr, the traveller will reach Chambery.

ROUTE 127. *


Postes 37 3/4, about 180 English miles.
Diligences go three times a week.

Pont de Beauvoisin (Inn: la Poste) is the last village in France: it lies on the bank of the Guiers Vif; here crossed by a bridge, at one end of which are stationed French, and at the other Sardinian, custom-house officers, ready to scrutinise the passports and the baggage of travellers arriving from either side.

After passing for a mile or two across the plain, the road begins to ascend, to a height from which a fine view is attained over the fertile fields of France, and then, bending round the shoulder of the hill, enters the grand gorge of La Chaille. The highway is here formed either by blasting a passage through the solid rock, or by supporting it upon terraces of solid masonry along the edge of the abyss. On the opposite side rises a bare escarpment of limestone, forming cliffs several hundred feet high; and in the depths of the gorge below rushes the white foaming river. The spot has been described by Rousseau in a passage which deserves quotation :"Non loin d'une montagne coupée, qu'on appelle le pas des Echelles, au-dessous du grand chemin taillé dans le roc, et à l'endroit appelé Chailles, court et bouillonne dans des gouffres affreux une petite rivière qui paraît avoir mis à les creuser des milliers de siècles; on a bordé le chemin d'un * Route 124 is incorporated with this route.


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parapet, pour prévenir les malheurs; cela faisait que je pouvais regarder le fond et gagner des vertiges tout à mon aise. Bien appuyé sur le parapet, j'avançais le nez et je restais là des heures entières, entrevoyant de temps en temps cette écume et cette eau bleue, dont j'entendais les mugissements à travers les cris des corbeaux et des oiseaux de proie qui volaient de roche en roche et de broussailles en broussailles, à cent toises au-dessous de moi. Dans les endroits où la pente était assez unie et les broussailles assez claires pour laisser passer des cailloux, j'en allais chercher d'aussi gros que je pouvais les porter; je les rassemblais sur le parapet en piles, puis, les lançant l'un après l'autre, je me délectais à les voir rouler, bondir, et voler en mille' éclats avant que d'atteindre le fond du précipice."

2 Les Echelles. (Inn: Poste.) A village also situated on the Guiers, which here descends from the mountains of the Grande Chartreuse, to which a road leads from Les Echelles.

The valley beyond this village is a complete cul-de-sac a wall of limestone 800 feet high stretches directly across it; and from les Echelles the eye in vain seeks at first for the means of exit. At length a little hole, like the entrance to a beehive, may be discerned in the face of the precipices halfway up, towards which the road winds. On a nearer approach, this is discovered to be the entrance to a tunnel of large dimensions, pierced directly through the mountain. It is 25 feet high and wide, and nearly 1000 long, excavated in the limestone rock. This noble work was commenced by Napoleon, and finished by the king of Sardinia in 1817. There exist two older roads; the most ancient of these, however, by no means deserved that name-it was a mere path, of the most rugged and difficult kind, partly conducted through a cavern by means of ladders placed one above the other. This was called the Chemin de la Grotte, or les Echelles, from which the neighbouring village derived its name. The difficulty of the passage was increased at times by the mountain torrent, which, when swollen, took its course through the cavern. It was utterly impassable for beasts, travellers were sometimes carried through it seated upon an arm chair, attached to the backs of stout Savoyard peasants, who performed the service of beasts of burden, as the South American Indians do at the present day, on some of the passes of the Andes.

The approach to the old road from the side of France was by a deep fissure low down in the corner of the valley, on the right hand of the Gallery.

An improved road was made in 1670, by Duke Charles Emanuel II, of Savoy, at considerable cost, by removing

vast masses of rock, so as to render it passable for carriages. Napoleon, however, with his usual originality and penetration, struck out a new line, and boldly pierced through the mountain, forming a carriage-way, along which two diligences fully loaded may pass abreast. On issuing out of the Gallery, the old road is seen on the right. By tracing it downwards about half a mile, the traveller may approach the old roads, on the side of Savoy, the most ancient is now blocked up and impassable. A pompous inscription, written by the Abbe St. Réal, commemorating the enterprise of Charles Emanuel in forming his road, — which, though steep and narrow, and very inconvenient, was a grand undertaking for the period, -may still be seen on the face of the rock.

Our route is now carried through a rocky and narrow ravine, which gradually expands into a pretty valley.

1 1/2 St. Thibault de Coux.

Not far from this a little waterfall descends from the cliff on the right, described by Rousseau, in his usual strain of exaggeration, as "La plus belle que je vis de ma vie.”

Another contracted ravine must be passed to reach

1 1/2 Chambéry (Italian Ciambéri). Inns : le Petit Paris; la Poste.

Chambéry, the capital of Savoy, is an archbishop's see. and contains about 10,000 inhabitants, and is situated within a circle of mountains..

Several towers and other fragments exist of the ancient Castle of the Dukes of Savoy. The Gothic chapel built within its enclosure (1415) survived the conflagration of 1798: it is passed on the left hand as you enter the town from Lyons. That valuable relic the Santo Sudario (holy napkin), now at Turin, was for a long time deposited in it. Francis I. of France made a pilgrimage on foot from Lyons to see it there is another of these holy impostures kept in St. Peter's at Rome, and shown to the populace on all great displays of the relics. The infallible popes should settle which is genuine in the meantime both are worshipped.

Before the French revolution, there were 20 convents in Chambéry: there are still seven, four of which are nunneries. Among the most conspicuous buildings at present are the Three Barracks.

There is a Public Library containing 16,000 volumes, an incipient museum, and a few pictures, none of them calculated to afford the stranger much gratification: there is also a Theatre.

The Royal College is placed under the control of the Jesuits, who fill the offices of teachers in the various branches of learning and science.

St. Réal, author of the "Conjuration Contre Venise," was

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born at Chambéry, 1639; and the Comte Xavier le Maistre, author of the Lépreux de la vallée d'Aoste," is also a native. This town also boasts among her citizens a counterpart of the Man of Ross in General de Boigne, who, having made an immense fortune in the British East Indian service, bestowed the greater portion of it, to the amount of 3,417,850 fr., in benefiting his native place He founded two hospitals, and set on foot many improvements. A new street has been named after him, and a monument has recently been erected to his memory. He died 1830.

Chambery is, on the whole, a dull town, with little to interest the traveller: it is celebrated for a peculiar manufacture of silk gauzes. From Chambéry to Grenoble 7 posts.

About 20 minutes' walk to the south of the town is Les Charmettes, the residence of Rousseau and of his friend Madame de Warrens. There is nothing in the place at present worth notice independently of its connection_with J. Jacques the house has the appearance of a poor farmhouse, and Rousseau's room was the one over the entrance.

Those who have time on their hands, and desire an agreeable two hours' walk, may visit the ravine called Le Bout du Monde. The road to it turns out of that to Turin at the end of the Faubourg de Montmeillan, follows the left bank of the Leysse by the side of the great dyke, as far as the village of Leysse, where it crosses the stream, and, passing on the right the picturesque castle of Chaffardon, enters the gorge of the Doriat, which is closed in on all sides by high cliffs, forming the base of the Dent de Nivolet, and has no outlet. Behind a paper mill, built by one of the Montgolfiers, the stream falls in a pretty cascade over the wall of rock here formed of remarkably regular and thin horizontal strata, through some of which the water forcing its way forms singular supplementary jets at a distance from the main fall. A pleasant excursion of a day or two may be made from this spot to the baths of Aix, and the Lac de Bourget (Route 120).

In the course of the next stage we pass, on the left, the castle of Bâtie, and farther on, close to the road, that of Chigneir, links of a line of forts extending through the country, on whose towers watch-fires were lighted to alarm the inhabitants, in time of war, in case of foreign inroads. For these rude means in the middle ages, telegraphs have been substituted. Up the valleys, of the Arc and Isère, the chain of old castles continues almost without an interruption. The mountain seen on the right is the Mont Grenier, 5700 feet high. The side facing Chambéry is a perpendicular escarpment, produced by an immense mass of the mountain having broken off in 1248: it overwhelmed the country at its base with ruin, and buried sixteen villages.

The marks of this catastrophe are still visible in the series of hillocks, now covered with vineyards, called Les Abymes de Myans. The Mont Grenier stands in the angle between the valley of Chambery and that of Gresivandan, which leads to Grenoble: it is traversed by the Isère. On the left bank of the river, a few miles down, stand the ruins of the Château Bayard, the cradle of the illustrious knight, "sans peur et sans reproche."

2 Montmellan. (Inn not good.) This little town stands on the right bank of the Isère, at the junction of four roads that of the Mont Cenis, issuing out of the valley of the Maurienne; that from the Tarentaise and Little St. Bernard (Route 122.); that from Grenoble down the fertile and beautiful valley of Gresivandan; and that from Chamebry. The Castle of Montmeillan was long the bulwark of Savoy against France. Henry IV. while besieging it in 1600, was nearly killed by a cannon shot from its walls, which covered him with dirt and made the king cross himself devoutly; upon which Sully remarked, that he was happy to see that his Majesty was so good a Catholic. It was bravely and skilfully defended for thirteen months against Louis XIII. by Count Geoffrey Bens de Cavour. The works were finally demolished by Louis XIV., who took the place in 1705. A few scanty fragments of wall, partly overgrown with briars and nettles, crowning the rock above the town, are the only remains of the former bulwark of Savoy, and the key of its Alps.

A good white wine is grown near Montmeillan.

The bridge over the Isère, crossed in proceeding towards the Mont Cenis, commands, in clear weather, a fine view of Mont Blanc, which is seen from no other point in our route. The road then pursues a course towards the Arc; then, taking that river for its guide, enters the valley of the Maurienne, which extends up to the Mont Cenis.

1 1/2 Maltaverne. A good inn.

1/2 Aiguebelle. The country hereabouts is dreary and unhealthy from marshes which produce malaria and its consequences, goitre (S 19.) The Castle above the town, called La Charbonnière, was the birthplace of several counts of Savoy.

2 3/4 La Grande Maison.

2 St. Jean de Maurienne. (Inn: Hôtel de l'Europe, clean and comfortable.) The chief town in the valley contains nothing remarkable.

The vineyards of St. Julien, grown on the débris and gravelbeds brought down by the Arc, produce a wine of some


2 St. Michel. Inn: Hôtel de Londres.

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