Montjay hill was chosen to build a castle for the Lords of Chambery, and with the drying of the plains at the bottom of the hill a new village developed Chambery-le-Jeune. La Place Saint Léger was a part of this new village, and as it is today, it was Main St …
The Main square was located in front of the church Saint Léger – “Places des Marchands” Merchants
They don’t really know when the Church was really built – “une époque indéterminée”. Some think it was some time in the 7th century with the Bishop Léger d’Autun, others think it was built at the same time as the village in the 11th century – still really old right.
The church was oriented as many of the day towards the setting sun. The bell tower helped survey the village for any type of danger. All round the church were these “cabornes” – merchant huts.
In 1569, the Senat decided to cover the Albanne canal which helped expand the village center and build some what proper boutiques with roofs “Rue Couverte”; ).
The church was to be demolished many times over the centuries but it finally had to be in 1760 – too dangerous for public use.
In the early 1800’s, some said of La Place Saint Léger, with it’s many shops and its merchant huts especially Rue Couverte, looked like the window gallery of Le Palais Royale in Paris. “A place for the inactive”. A very busy place, with people, carts and merchants.
Between 1824 and 1830, the Rue de Boigne was financed and built by Benoît de Boigne. It went across the main area of the “carbornes” the merchant huts, the construction helped open up space and it brought the demolishing of the run down huts. The particularity of this new artery was the presence of a two sided road with arched walkways where noble families, luxury and tea shops found shelter. A far cry from the galleries of Paris but it made strolling in bad weather easier.
There was a big fire in 1897, lots was destroyed which helped to open another road off of the square. The clock tower Place de l’Horloge was refurbished in 1902.
There are three “Hotels particuliers” on the Place that are protected by the National Architecture Historical distinction the “Hotels particuliers” Dieulefils, Montjoie, Chollet du Bourget. There are a few others but don’t have any distinction and other important monuments like La Porte de Celse Morin.
The Chambery train station was hit really hard during the May 26th 1944 bombings but thanks to the distance between Downtown Chambery the Place Saint Leger was pretty much saved.
The last remodeling of La Place was in 1975 when the downtown became pedestrian and many building were painted and enhanced.
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