Saturday, January 27, 2018

Switzerland: Chateau de Chillon and Montreux

Chateau de Chillon Looking South
An easy half-day excursion from Lausanne (our home base for two nights), is the Chateau de Chillon.  About a 20 minute train ride from Lausanne's central station, the rail line traverses the hilly countryside overlooking Lake Geneva as the train winds its way to the eastern end of the lake and towards Chillon Castle.  Detraining at Veytaux-Chillon, one must cross under the train tracks and walk along the lake to reach the Chateau.  The castle is built upon a rocky island on the eastern end of Lake Geneva.  Beautiful setting.
Chillon with Lake Geneva in background
Inside the Chateau's Gift Shop are models of the Chateau.  A series of models shows the development of the Chateau from Roman fort to Medieval castle.  Impressive models.
Chateau de Chillon Model South Face
Chateau de Chillon Model North Face
Chillon was first established as a Roman outpost to guard the Alpine passes.  Later, under control of the House of Savoy, the Chateau was used as a prison.
Charcoal sketch showing the Crucifixion of Christ
The Cell
Chillon's most famous prisoner was François de Bonivard.  Bonivard, a monk in the prior of St. Victor in Geneva, was imprisoned in 1530 for running afoul of the dukes of Savoy.  Attached to a pillar, the path Bonivard's chain wore as he paced out to the extent of his tether is visible today.
François de Bonivard
Lord Byron spent time at the chateau leaving behind some graffiti; his name carved into a wall.  De Bonivard's story inspired Byron to write, The Prisoner of Chillon.
Chillon Prison 
Armor display
Courtyard
Main Entrance
 On the train back to Lausanne, we hopped off at Montreux for a brief stroll along the Promenade before returning to Lausanne.  Of course, a stop in Montreux is not complete without a visit to the Freddie Mercury memorial.
Montreux Promenade
Freddie Mercury Memorial

28 comments:

  1. Nice château and impressive model!
    Best Iain

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  2. Super post - thanks for this - brightened up a dull day!

    I was last in the area of Lac Leman well back in the last century (!) - I remember a very nice military museum - the Vaud Museum at Morges. Wonderful part of the world - it was dreadfully expensive for Brits in those days!

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    1. Pleased to brighten your day, Tony!

      Switzerland is expensive no matter when you visit or from where! It really was no so bad in May 2017, though. The USD was relatively strong.

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  3. I visited this castle (and Montreux) in May 2017, your pictures perfectly catch the atmosphere of this place.

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    1. Phil! We visited in May 2017 too!

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    2. Funny :) My visit was on the 8th, and I also took a picture of the Freddy Mercury statue, my daughter is a great fan :)

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    3. Ok, so you're not the American visitor who gave my daughter some advice while taking pictures - I just needed to ask, it would have been so funny :)

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    4. That would have been funny but I am not likely that bold.

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  4. Fantastic both the chateau and the model!

    Christopher

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    1. It is said Chillon is the most visited chateau in Switzerland. I can see why.

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  5. What does Freddy Mercury have to do with Montreaux, exactly?

    Excellent write up as always, Jon. I enjoy these peeks at your travels.

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    1. Queen had a recording studio in Montreux and recorded seven albums there at Mountain Studios.

      Glad you enjoy the travelogues, Scott!

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  6. I visited this castle a few years ago, what a pleasure to find it again through this wonderful report!

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  7. That has brought back some memories Jonathan. We visited there in 2005, about this time of year so there was snow on the ground and it was damned cold in that castle. But it was a gorgeously sunny day and it was pleasantly warm by early afternoon as we walked along the promenade. I remember some stunning engineering work there too, those elevated freeways. I have great memories of that day.

    Of course a little bit behind Freddy stands the Grand Hotel where in 1971 Deep Purple recorded Smoke on the Water....

    "We all came out to Montreux, on the Lake Geneva shoreline,
    To make records with a mobile, we didn't have much time..." and so on to the famous chorus.

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    1. I enjoyed your retelling of your visit, Mark. The engineering s impressive especially the arched ceilings.

      I remember Deep Purple’s famous song very well. Queen had a recording studio there.

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  8. Lovely looking places there and some interesting history.

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  9. Is it embarrassing that I have the same model in my garage?!! (LoL)

    Nice pictures!

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  10. Beautiful Castle. There are many such in Switzerland. Lucerne city walls are excellent as well.

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  11. Superb photos and excellent commentary sir. Thanks for this.
    even Freddie Mercury doesn't seem out of place :)

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