Main Births etc
—  Department  —
Prefecture building of the Savoie department, in Chambéry

Coat of arms
Official logo of Savoie
Location of Savoie in France
Coordinates: 45°35′N 6°20′E / 45.583, 6.333Coordinates: 45°35′N 6°20′E / 45.583, 6.333
Country France
Region Rhône-Alpes
Prefecture Chambéry
Subprefectures Albertville
 • President of the General Council Hervé Gaymard (UMP)
 • Total 6,028 km2 (2,327 sq mi)
Population (2007)
 • Total 405,535
 • Rank 61st
 • Density 67/km2 (170/sq mi)
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 • Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Department number 73
Arrondissements 3
Cantons 37
Communes 305
^1  French Land Register data, which exclude estuaries, and lakes, ponds, and glaciers larger than 1 km2

Savoie (pronounced: [sa.vwa]; Arpitan: Savouè d’Avâl, Italian: Savoia, pronounced [saˈvɔja], English: Savoy, play /səˈvɔɪ/) is a French department located in the Rhône-Alpes region in the French Alps.

Together with the Haute-Savoie, Savoie is one of the two departments of the historic region of Savoy that was annexed by France on June 14, 1860, following the signature of the Treaty of Turin on March 24, 1860. For history before 1860, details of the annexation, and modern regionalism, see Savoy.


It is widely accepted that Savoie takes its name from the Latin Sapaudia or Sabaudia, meaning land covered in fir trees.

Savoie was long part of the states of Savoy, though it was occupied many times by France starting in the 16th century. It was integrated into the Mont-Blanc department from 1792 to 1815 (and partially into the Léman department from 1798 to 1814). The province was annexed by France in 1860. The former Duchy of Savoy became the two departments of Savoie and Haute-Savoie.

Moûtiers, capital of the former province of Tarentaise Valley (French: Vallée de la Tarentaise) ceased to be the county seat after a law passed on September 10, 1926.

Savoie, along with Albertville, hosted the 1992 Winter Olympics, with ski events at Tarentaise and Beaufortain.


Relief map of Savoy.

Savoie is part of the Rhône-Alpes région. It borders the departments of Haute-Savoie, Ain, Isère and Hautes-Alpes in addition to Italy.

Much of Savoie is covered by mountains:

  • Bauges Massif
  • Chartreuse Massif
  • Vanoise Massif
  • Beaufortain Massif

The department is crossed by the Isère river, which has its source in the Iseran pass. Its two main lakes are Lac du Bourget (the largest and deepest lake entirely in France) and Lac d'Aiguebelette, one of the least polluted in France due to a 1976 law forbidding any use of motorboats on the lake.


According to the Chambéry chamber of commerce, close to 50% of the department's wealth comes from tourism. Each year, Savoie hosts over 30 million visitor-nights of tourists. Savoie also profits from its natural resources with particular strengths in ore processing and hydroelectric power.

Savoie had an exceptionally high export/import ratio of 214% in 2005. Its exports rose to €1.768 billion and €825 million in imports. Its leading exports were steel, aluminum, and electric and electronic components.


Savoie is famous for its cows, which produce numerous cheeses, some of them are:

  • Beaufort
  • Savoie Gruyère
  • Reblochon
  • Tamié
  • Tome des Bauges
  • Tomme de Savoie
  • Brie

Numerous wines are also grown in Savoie. The most famous are made of Gamay, Pinot Noir and Mondeuse grapes. Fruit production is the third largest component of agriculture in Savoie.

Apples and pears are also produced in the region and are well known for their qualities.


Residents of Savoie are known as Savoyards though they can also be called Savoisiens (the historical name) or Savoyens.

Main cities:

  • Chambéry: pop. 56 835 (209 535 agglomeration, of which 12 254 are in La Motte-Servolex)
  • Aix-les-Bains: pop. 27 095 (44 490 agglomeration)
  • Albertville: pop. 18 906 (43 225 agglomeration)
  • Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne: pop. 8 507 (11 889 agglomeration)

The average population density is not a good indication of actual population density, as valleys tend to be quite densely populated, whereas the mountains tend to be near-completely uninhabited.


The Catholic Church in Savoie is divided into three dioceses: Chambéry, Maurienne and Tarentaise. Together, they form an archdiocese, in which the bishop of Chambéry is the archbishop.


Tourism, which is quite important to Savoie, began to develop towards the end of the 19th century, mostly summer oriented. The increase in the popularity of skiing in the 20th century made Savoie home to the largest number of ski hills in France, including many famous ones:

  • Val-d'Isère
  • Tignes
  • Les Arcs
  • La Plagne
  • Courchevel
  • Méribel
  • Valmorel
  • Les Menuires
  • Val Thorens
  • Les Saisies
  • Savoie Grand Revard
  • Bramans
  • Bessans

Hydrotherapy, practised in the region since antiquity, is also quite developed. There are four locations that are still active:

  • Aix-les-Bains
  • Challes-les-Eaux
  • Brides-les-Bains
  • La Léchère

See also[]


  • Savoy - Historical region
  • House of Savoy - Ruling dynasty of Savoy from 1032 to 1860
  • Duchy of Savoy - Rulers of Savoy region from 1416 to 1720
  • Kingdom of Sardinia - 1720 to 1860.



  • Communes of the Savoie department
  • Arrondissements of the Savoie department
  • Cantons of the Savoie department
  • Chambéry - Capital
  • Aix-les-Bains
  • Lac du Bourget The largest lake in France.

Sign welcoming visitors to the department of Savoie.


  • French wine - AOC wine of Savoie
  • Savoy wine or Wine of Savoie Allobrogie

External links[]

This page uses content from the English language Wikipedia. The original content was at Savoie. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with this Familypedia wiki, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons License.