A few minutes by bike from home is the former « countryside property » (as it was considered at the time) of Madame de Warens.
She was the rich ‘protector’ of the young Jean-Jacques freshly arrived from Genève, in the nearby Switzerland. While he had an official occupation in the Chambéry city administrative services, he spent a lot of time in contemplating the exceptional nature surrounding the city and in which you are totally immersed into, as far as you walk a few paces out of any street…
This naturalist’s approach which was new at the time led him to jump to his reflections about human nature, then the human society and it grounded most of his future work.
Note that JJ Rousseau is buried in a stone grave placed on a small islet of Château d’Ermenonville park, far from the alpine foothills where he discovered the principles that made famous through the past two centuries, read around the whole world and inspirational guide for many modern democratic societies.
People come in number from ALL OVER THE WORLD just to visit this house, which is symbolic of the philosopher’s inspiration.
The mansion of Madame de Warens is also visible in Chambéry downtown.
The small mansion above the city, called « Les Charmettes », is kept by the Municipality as an open museum where exhibitions themed around Chambéry and Savoie are often organized.
Everyone can visit after downloading a thematic guiding app that will drive you through the different rooms and the gardens. Tablets are also lended free of charge for those who dislike smartphone use. Google Play and Apple Store provide « Charmettes », « Rousseau à Turin », « Guidigo » (for kids) for download.
Bio of the writer-philosopher and vdo 360° are available on the Muni official website: http://musees.chambery.fr/416-les-charmettes-maison-de-jean-jacques-rousseau.htm
After reading, you will learn that young Jean-Jacques was tought about other matters than just litterature and sciences by Madame de Warens… Kind of Natural Sciences for sure. Think about it when you will visit the bedroom and its alcova fitted with a small escape door…
Here is just an overview, with pictures shot outside the busy touristic season (summer), which allows for deserted rooms picturing.
Enjoy the tour and try to arrange a real visit the next time you are about to be in Chambéry.