Just outside of Albertville, at the edge of the Tarentaise and Savoy regions of France, you will find the beautiful little city of Conflans. Steeped in history, this medieval gem is a rabbit warren of cobbled streets and 14th century charm. All of the original hand painted shop signs hang outside the buildings and the surrounding wall of the city seemingly shuts out the modern world. As you enter through one of the two ancient archways at either end of the main street, you feel as though you have stepped back in time.
Records of the city date back to 1014 when Conflans was originally built to protect the entrance of the Tarentaise region, hence the two ‘doors’ to the city – the Porte du Savoie and the Porte Tarine. In 1600 the city was taken by French troops during the Franco-Savoyard war, and was renamed Roc-free. However in 1836 King Charles Albert united Conflans with the neighbouring town of L’Hopital to form what we now know as Albertville.
There are an impressive array of historical monuments in the town itself. The Saracen tower, originally the city dungeon, remains as a fortified house beside the tower. The Red House, which is now a museum, was built around 1937 and has belonged to various local nobles, including the families Voisin, Tondu and Bernardine. The beautiful and ornate San Grato church in the heart of the town is also known as the ‘Notre-Dame of Assumption’ and dates back to the 15th century. Although the most recent of all of the historical monuments in Conflans, it is certainly one of the most inspiring. The beautiful interior, complete with its delicately carved pulpit and spectacular altar, is a must-see during any visit.
We currently run a half day excursion from Belle Plange and there is plenty else to keep you entertained including a historical museum, art gallery, several independent shops, restaurants, cafes and park areas with panoramic views of Albertville below.
There are also several walking trails on the outskirts of the main city, all well signposted and these take anywhere from 30 minutes to two and a half hours to complete, although can be quite steep and sensible shoes are recommended. These lead you to breath-taking views of the mountainous scenery; a perfect photo opportunity so as not to forget all your lovely holiday memories.
At lunch-time you are welcome to sit and relax with your picnic in one of the many seating areas or parks whilst you enjoy your quaint and calming surroundings. Alternatively pop into one of the welcoming restaurants in the city centre and indulge in a delicious traditional meal as you soak up the atmosphere.
This lovely, sedate city is well worth a visit for anyone visiting the Tarentaise region and I would recommend accounting for at least two or three hours absorbing the remarkable history and wonderfully preserved charm of the area. It is a lovely trip for people all ages and a perfect addition to your Inghams holiday.
Words and images by Lizzie Merrit, Resort Representative in Belle Plagne.