Sunday, 13 March 2011

A trip on the lake ...... to the Château de Chillon

Évian les Bains and Lac Léman is about 15 minutes drive down the mountain from Thollon, so boat transport to places along the French or Swiss side of the lake was a regular outing.

One of our favourite trips is to Lausanne, which takes about 35 minutes. The port is lovely and the Olympic Museum is about 5 minutes walk away. Shopping is above the port and there is a regular train service up the hill.

Sometimes if I had driven out to Thollon alone, Tim would fly out to Geneva. Mostly I picked him up at the airport, but sometimes he would get the train from the airport to Lausanne and then the boat to Évian.

The boats are very comfortable and the views spectacular.

The Château de Chillon sits on the lakeside near Vevey, just along the lake from Lausanne and Montreux. We visited one summer along with Tom, and his friend Ben.

The site has been occupied since the Bronze Age.
The Château is the result of several centuries of constant building, adaptations, renovations and restorations. The rocky island, on which the château is built, was both a natural protection and a strategic location to control the passage between northern and southern Europe.


The history of the château was influenced by three major periods:

The Savoy period (12th century to 1536)

The oldest written document mentioning the château dates from 1150; it says that the House of Savoy already controlled the route along the shores of
Lac Léman.

During the 13th century, the Counts of Savoy conquered most of the territory of Vaud. This marked the beginning of Savoy domination over approximately two-thirds of the territory which makes up today’s French-speaking Switzerland.
This land lay both to the north and to the south of the Alps, so they controlled the two major routes across the western Alps, the Mont Cenis Pass and the Grand St Bernard Pass.

The Bernese period (1536-1798)

The Swiss then occupied Chillon in 1536 so the château continued to be a fortress, arsenal and prison for over 260 years.

The Vaudois period (1798 to the present)

The Bernese left Chillon in 1798 at the time of the Vaudois Revolution. The castle became the property of the Canton of Vaud when it was founded in 1803. The restoration of the historical monument began at the end of the 19th Century and continues to this day.
 Lord Byron gave Chillon a mythical dimension in 1816, with his poem ‘The Prisoner of Chillon’.

The Patrouille Suisse practising over the Lake

Both the ch
âteau and the landscape, framed by the mountains, are well worth a visit.


  1. Visited it many years ago as a teenager. Great place!

  2. We loved it, although my photographs don't really do it justice!

  3. Gaynor I think your photos are excellent. What a lovely Chateau, I have not seen this one. There are so many beautiful ones around but this one looks quite special. Diane

  4. It is a special place, Diane, as are a great many other Chateaux all over France.
    A few years ago we visited the Chateau de Rochefoucold which I have also read about on your blog which we found fascinating but also lived in.