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Le Bourget-du-Lac (Municipality, Savoie, France)

Last modified: 2018-01-13 by ivan sache
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Flag of Le Bourget-du-Lac - Image by Ivan Sache, 29 March 2016

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Presentation of Le Bourget-du-Lac

The municipality of Le Bourget-du-Lac (4,533 inhabitants in 2013; 2,005 ha; municipal website) is located on the south-western shore of Lake Bourget, 15 km north-west of Chambéry.

Lake Bourget (4,450 ha; 18 km x 1.6-3.5 km) is the biggest natural lake completely located on the French territory. Its water volume, 3,620,300,000 cubic meter, could fulfil the yearly household consumption of the whole country. A local tradition says that angels ordered by God to leave the North Alps shed so much tears that Lake Geneva, Annecy and Bourget were formed. More prosaically, Lake Bourget was formed after the glacier's withdrawal at the end of the Wrm period, c. 19,000 years ago. The lake shores were already settled 6,000 years ago. Since the Roman times, Lake Bourget has been a significant way of communication to the town of Lyon; the lake is indeed connected to river Rhône by the Savières Canal. The lake was known in the Middle Ages as Lake Châtillon, for the name of a fortress that watched traffic on the lake. The name of Lake Bourget was coined in the 13th century.
The scenic environment of Lake Bourget, surrounded by high mountains, was immortalized by the Alphonse de Lamartine (1790-1869) in the poem Le Lac (The Lake). In October 1816, the poet met Julie Charles, the wife of the physician Jacques Charles, who stayed in Aix-les-Bains to heal tuberculosis, and fell in love with her. Julie's death prevented him to meet her again, and he came back, alone, to Aix-les-Bains. Le Lac was published in 1820, as part of the Méditations poétiques. The poem includes the famous verse Ô temps, suspends ton vol (Pause in your trek O Time!) and ends with Tout dise : Ils ont aimé ! (Say only "they did love").
In the 1950-1970s, Lake Bourget became a busy spot of summer tourism, with 11 beaches scattered all around the lake and water temperature reaching 26 C, while the towns of Aix-les-Bains and Chambéry experienced an unprecedented demographic boom. The resulting pollution caused the eutrophication of the lake, which was stopped in the last decades of the 20th century. Accordingly, the western shore of the lake (aka the Wild Coast) was preserved from urbanization and road access; the reed beds located at the southern tip of the lake form a bird sanctuary.
[Aix-les-Bains municipal website]

Le Bourget-du-Lac was a wealthy river port. Odilon, 5th abbot of Cluny, let build here a priory c. 1030. The legend says that Odilon had to overnight in Le Bourget because of fever; during the night, the Count of Savoy and St. Maurice appeared to him, erecting a cross. The next night, the saint touched him and healed him. As a reward for the miracle, Odilon founded a monastery. The priory was inhabited by seven monks, and, from time to time, by the Count of Savoy until the building of the castle. The Cluniac monks were succeeded in 1532 by Jesuits and in 1773 by Franciscans. The Duchess of Choisel eventually purchased the priory, where she would live until 1939, and transformed the monk's vegetable garden into a French formal garden. The priory was acquired in 1952 by the municipality of Le Bourget-du-Lac, while the garden was restored in the 1990s by the landscape designer Alain Claude Debombourg.
In 1248, Thomas II, Count of Savoy (1244-1259), purchased a plot form the Cluniac priory to build a hunting lodge. Little is known on the history and use of the castle. Count Amadeus V (1285-1323), born in the castle in 1249, revamped it in the late 13th - early 14th century. Transferred to the lords of Seyssel in 1438, the castle was burned down in 1456 and probably never rebuilt. Sold in 1842, the ruins were used a stone quarry until 1849. The remains of the castle were eventually acquired by the municipality of Le Bourget-du-Lac in 1983.

Ivan Sache, 27 March 2016

Flag of Le Bourget-du-Lac

The flag of Le Bourget-du-Lac (photo, 2007), is vertically divided yellow-white with the municipal coat of arms in the middle. The arms of Le Bourget-du-Lac are "Azure three bezants or".

Pascal Vagnat & Ivan Sache, 27 March 2016

Club Nautique Chambéry Le Bourget-du-Lac


Burgee of the CNCB - Image by Ivan Sache, 17 December 2005

The CNCB (website), a rowing club based in Le Bourget-du-Lac, was founded in 1898. Its burgee is made of five blue-white-blue-white-blue stripes converging to the point of the flag and the traditional cross of Savoy (white cross on red) in canton.

Ivan Sache, 17 December 2005