A Trip to the Stunning
Chateau de Chillon Montreux
Did you know that the most visited historic monument in Switzerland is Chateau de Chillon? This magnificent castle occupies a strategic position on a rocky island on the shores of Lake Geneva in Veytaux, close to Montreux. Sadly at the moment, due to the Corona crisis we can’t visit it any more, but hopefully once things have got back to normal again it will be back on your Bucket List.
It’s a beautiful place to visit anytime of year and there is so much to see it is impossible to take it all in in one visit. We’ve been to visit several times now, at different times of year, and each time we’ve seen something new.
Founded on Rocky Island on Lake Geneva
The site of this 13th Century fortress has in fact been occupied since the Bronze Age. Today’s castle is the result of the influence of the Savoys from 12th Century until 1536, the Bernese from 1536 to 1798 and the Vaudoise from 1798 to the current day.
First mentioned in 1150, it was originally controlled by the Counts of Savoy, but over the years the castle fell from favour and in 1536 it was taken over by the Bernese and gradually brought back to life. As the castle is so large, restoration is an ongoing project.
Lots to See Both Inside and Around the Castle
There is plenty to look round and discover including courtyards, towers, dungeons, huge banquet rooms and halls so do leave yourself plenty of time to go round. There are huge open fireplaces, displays of period furniture, artwork (including the frescoes in the Chapel of St Georges) and lots of armaments too. You get stunning views of Lake Geneva from the lead latticed windows and
Lord Byron’s Poem The Prisoner of Chillon
The castle is famed as the location for Lord Byron’s Poem, The Prisoner of Chillon which is the story of Francois Bonivard a member of the Savoyard family from Geneva who was thrown into the dungeon following a political dispute, and later freed by the Bernese. The poet wrote the poem 300 years after the event, but carved his name into the pillar to which Bonivard was apparently chained.
Chateau de Chillon In The Arts
The fortress was also made famous by writers Alexandre Dumas, Mary Shelley and Jean-Jacques Rousseau whose novel “New Heloise” was centred here. The castle also inspired painters Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Alexandre Dumas.
It’s location on the water’s edge is truly idyllic and one of the best views of it is as you approach it from the water on one of the boats or paddle boats which provide regular crossings.
On Foot: Bus: Approximately 40 minutes walk from the centre of Montreux
By Bus: Take the Number 201 bus to the stop directly opposite the Chateau (approximately 10 minutes)
By Boat: Take the CGN boat or steamer from Montreux (15 minutes) or from Vevey (50 minutes) or from Lausanne)
Chateau de Chillon
Address: Avenue de Chillon 21, 1820 Veytaux, Switzerland
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