Chateau de Chillon Castle is among the most remarkable medieval castles in the world, providing a strong visual impact, one of the most exciting fall getaways, sprinkled with history, beauty and inspiration. I do not know if it's the beauty of Lake Geneva, on whose banks the castle is located or the way it is surrounded and protected by the smashing Alps, giving the impression that it is a precious jewel lost in the midst of the waters. In fact, this ravishing castle it really is a priceless jewel, an architectural masterpiece of the XIII century, I would say unique, because of its strategic location – its fort that faces the ancient road that leads to Italy, and an impetuous residence which is reflected in Lake Geneva.
Chateau de Chillon Castle (French: Château de Chillon, pronounced ‘Shee-yon’), not far from Montreux (3km), is located in Veytaux, Switzerland, on the beautiful banks of Lake Geneva, on a rocky isle, dating back to the presence of Savoyard.
A bit of history…
Over time, Chateau de Chillon housed important figures, from princesses and kings to priests, such as Pierre, the Compte de Savoie or Pope Felix V. Jean Jacques Rousseau, Victor Hugo (he described the Chateau de Chillon as ‘A block of towers on a block of rock’), and Lord Byron, as well as Delacroix and Courbet took inspiration for their artistic creations from this castle.
The grandeur of the castle and its influence is due to three important periods in history through which he went: The Savoy period (12th century to 1536); The Bernese period (1536-1798); The Vaudois period (1798 to the present).
Visiting the castle is a throwback in time, an insight into the world of Court of Savoy and Bernese bailiffs.
Its underground loaded with rooms and dungeons overlooking the waters of lake Geneva, leads me to those ancient Gothic cathedrals, dating from the 13th century or to the famous poem > The Prisoner of Chillon, written by Lord Byron (who has engraved his name on a column of the dungeon).The story of Lord Byron’s poem is about François Bonivard, a monk and Genevan politician who was imprisoned between 1532 and 1536 at Chillon Castle, being tied to the fifth column at the entrance.
The castle comes with three outstanding courtyards, nowadays used for different kind of events. The first is at the entrance (crowded most of the time), the second is the Castellan's courtyard and lastly, the Courtyard of Honor, the reunion place of the counts.
Chillion Castel has over 40 rooms, some sumptuous overlooking the Lake Geneva, other dungeons or royal bedrooms and the marvelous chapel - with its rare 14th Century religious paintings.
At the castle you can taste wines, especially the Clos de Chillon, available in two assortments: red or white wine - made from grapes harvested from the vineyards near the castle, in the Lavaux region (the largest vineyard region in the Switzerland, covering 800 hectares). You will notice in the first room in the underground, how some odd barrels are placed nicely, bloated with quality wine. You really don’t want to miss it!
Chateau Chillon rates: Adult - CHF 12.50; Child (6-15 years old) CHF 6.00; Family (couple + children 6-15 years old), CHF 29.00.