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Coordinates: 45°35′N 6°20′E / 45.583°N 6.333°E / 45.583; 6.333
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Savouè (Arpitan)
Coat of arms of Savoie
Location of Savoie in France
Location of Savoie in France
Coordinates: 45°35′N 6°20′E / 45.583°N 6.333°E / 45.583; 6.333
 • President of the Departmental CouncilHervé Gaymard[1] (LR)
 • Total6,028 km2 (2,327 sq mi)
1,595 m (5,233 ft)
Highest elevation
3,855 m (12,648 ft)
Lowest elevation
208 m (682 ft)
 • Total442,468
 • Rank57th
 • Density73/km2 (190/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+2 (CEST)
Department number73
^1 French Land Register data, which exclude estuaries and lakes, ponds and glaciers larger than 1 km2

Savoie (pronounced [savwa]; Arpitan: Savouè or Savouè-d'Avâl; English: Savoy /səˈvɔɪ/) is a department in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region, Southeastern France. Located in the French Alps, its prefecture is Chambéry. In 2019, Savoie had a population of 436,434.[3]

Together with Haute-Savoie, it is one of the two departments of the historical region of Savoy; the Duchy of Savoy was annexed by France in 1860, following the signature of the Treaty of Turin. The area is known for its numerous ski resorts and contribution to French cuisine, with culinary specialities such as fondue savoyarde, tartiflette, génépi, as well as various sorts of saucisson.


It is widely accepted[citation needed] 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 beginning in the 16th century, it was occupied by France several times. 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 a subprefecture following a law that took effect on 10 September 1926.

Savoie hosted the 1992 Winter Olympics, based in Albertville with ski events at Tarentaise and Beaufortain. The coat of arms for Savoie was used as a pattern for the flames in the official emblem of the games.[4]

The other main alpine valley is the Maurienne, connected to the Tarentaise valley by two passes, the col de la Madeleine and the highest pass in Europe, the col de l'Iseran. The Maurienne valley was through the col du Mont Cenis, the major commercial route between France and Italy. It is one of the longest intra-alpine valleys in the Alps.


Savoie is part of the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region established on 1 January 2016. It was previously part of Rhône-Alpes. It borders the departments of Haute-Savoie, Ain, Isère and Hautes-Alpes in addition to the Aosta Valley and the Metropolitan City of Turin in Italy.

Much of Savoie is covered by mountains:

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.


Most of the department features an alpine climate or a subalpine climate. At lower altitudes and in the valleys, the climate is humid continental (Köppen: Dfb) or even oceanic in the frontcounrty and lake Bourget area (Köppen: Cfb), using the 0 °C (32 °F) isotherm.


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:

Numerous wine grapes are also grown in Savoie. The most famous wines 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.


Historical population
YearPop.±% p.a.
YearPop.±% p.a.

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

Principal towns[edit]

The most populous commune is Chambéry, the prefecture. As of 2019, there are 8 communes with more than 7,000 inhabitants:[3]

Commune Population (2019)
Chambéry 58,917
Aix-les-Bains 30,463
Albertville 19,502
La Motte-Servolex 12,120
La Ravoire 8,530
Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne 7,621
Bourg-Saint-Maurice 7,195
Ugine 7,096
† part of Chambéry agglomeration

The "average" (see arithmetic mean) population density is not a good indicator: the valleys tend to be much more 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.


Departmental Council of Savoie[edit]

The Departmental Council of Savoie has 38 seats. 30 councillors are part of the J'aime la Savoie ("I love Savoie") right-wing group; 8 councillors are part of the Savoie pour Tous ("Savoie for All") left-wing group. Hervé Gaymard (The Republicans) has been President of the Departmental Council since 2008. Thierry Repentin (Socialist Party) has been Opposition Leader since 1998.

Members of the National Assembly[edit]

Savoie elected the following members of the National Assembly during the 2017 legislative election:

Constituency Member[7] Party
Savoie's 1st constituency Typhanie Degois La République En Marche!
Savoie's 2nd constituency Vincent Rolland The Republicans
Savoie's 3rd constituency Émilie Bonnivard The Republicans
Savoie's 4th constituency Patrick Mignola MoDem


Savoie is represented by two Senators in Parliament. Jean-Pierre Vial and Martine Berthet have served since 1995 and 2017 respectively. Both are members of The Republicans (LR).


Tourism, which is quite important to Savoie, began to develop towards the end of the 19th century, mostly summer oriented.[citation needed] 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:

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

See also[edit]






  1. ^ "Répertoire national des élus: les conseillers départementaux". data.gouv.fr, Plateforme ouverte des données publiques françaises (in French). 4 May 2022.
  2. ^ "Téléchargement du fichier d'ensemble des populations légales en 2021" (in French). The National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies. 28 December 2023.
  3. ^ a b Populations légales 2019: 73 Savoie, INSEE
  4. ^ "Albertville 1992 Winter Olympics - Emblem". Olympic Games. International Olympic Committee. 3 October 2018. Archived from the original on 4 December 2018. Retrieved 11 December 2018.
  5. ^ "Historique de la Savoie". Le SPLAF.
  6. ^ "Évolution et structure de la population en 2016". INSEE.
  7. ^ Nationale, Assemblée. "Assemblée nationale ~ Les députés, le vote de la loi, le Parlement français". Assemblée nationale.

External links[edit]