‘The Old Town in Geneva is as boring as bat shit!’
Only Accidentally Cultured would react this way to such an amazing place!
So we decided to settle for Montreux for lunch and a tour of Château de Chillon.
Château de Chillon hovers graciously over Lake Geneva on the outskirts of Montreux in Switzerland and was once home to the Dukes of Savoy. This ancient historical monument was established in the 12th century, but excavations indicate it has been occupied since the Bronze Age. It is a large, rambling Château with 46 rooms to visit. Here we are in the ancient courtyard, ready to begin!
We began our tour in the dungeons, dank, dark and below the water line. Here victims were chained by the neck to the walls to await execution. Here is AC clearly fascinated by the idea of being chained by the neck.
Slowly we made our way through all 46 room up to the top of the keep with its magnificent vistas of the Alp encased Lake and the shoreline dotted with the colours of autumn. As we rose higher into the Château multitudes of rooms twisted in all directions fed by well worn spiral steps and secret passage ways. Here is AC gazing into the so-called torture room where prisoners were interrogated.
The Duke’s bedroom was very large and he clearly lived in style. One of the Dukes had a lovely mistress, Lucy, whose smallish tapestry lined room had lovely views to the lake. A dark, narrow passage way gave him liberal access to her.
Facing the lake are the rooms devoted to daily life where the royal occupants and their household slept, ate and conducted daily business. All the windows have stone window seats built into the 2 metre thick walls, with lovely views of Lake Geneva and the Alps. Not the most comfortable place to sit!
Each room has a fire place so massive it could serve as a dining room. The fireplace might have been a more cosy place to sit than the window seat!
The Château was designed with a moat and a high guarded wall facing the shore line. This fortress castle is so well fortified and inaccessible that it was only ever defeated once in its history. This enabled the delighted prisoners in the dungeons to escape into the lake.
Travelling upwards towards the keep, there were rooms full of ancient weapons and armour. The swords, cannons, armour, all glistening in their glass cabinets. Some were rather beautiful like this set of axes.
The keep is positioned on the centre of the rock on which the Château is built and is thought to date from the 11th century. It was a refuge tower and a symbol of power, as well as a defence observation post. From its height the views to Montreux and the Alps are impressive!
The tour of the Château brings to life a forgotten past. We see it all, from the original timbers in the battlements where the soldiers’ presence could still be felt, to comforts like the tapestries, carved timbers, whitewashed painted walls, the frescoes and even the sewerage system. I was fascinated by the carved chests used for storage. Here is a fine example.
Having journeyed back into the lives of the Dukes we were now quite hungry and headed into Montreux for a well deserved lunch. At La Rouvenaz Italian restaurant I indulged in the ‘Moules à Marienière et Frîtes’ which means ‘Mussels with Chips’ with rosé. After lunch we headed off for a ice creams and a walk around the lake looking at the sculptures.
AC was in his element he loved the Freddie Mercury sculpture and here I am eating my ice cream, gazing out at Lake Geneva through his legs.