Chateau Chillon Byron prisoners and lakes

Trip Start Jul 18, 1998
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Trip End Ongoing


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Where I stayed
Les Alpages

Flag of Switzerland  , Vaud,
Thursday, August 27, 2009

During our holiday in the Grand Massif in August 2009 we took a day out to Lake Geneva, driving via the D902 through Les Gets, Morzine, St Jean D'Aulps, and onto the lake near Thonon- Les- Bains. Stopping in the tourist centre (near the casino) in Evian Les Bains we picked up 'What to do brochures' and selected Chateau de Chillon which is located on Lake Geneva at the eastern end of the lake, some 3 km from Montreux.
We stopped in a lovely restaurant in St Gingolph, right on the lake near to where the ferry does its hops around the lakeside villages and then drove through the French Swiss border to the Chateau. The drive on the N112 is scenic past farmland and then the chateau rises from out of the lake. Modern infrastructures also catch ones eye with the A9 auto route passing North of the lake, and suspended some hundreds of feet above.
We paid 12 CHF for each adult, children are 6 CHF for entry. Entry is over a wooden bridge straddling the natural moat (formed by the lake).
The chateau tour is well laid out for self guiding, ipods with audio guides are available at extra cost but i used the provided guide which described the history and takes you through each of the 46 points on the route, covering the underground rooms and dungeons where you can look across Lake Geneva through barred windows, great halls, storehouses, crypt, courtyards, dining rooms, bedrooms, , the Bastion and Keep and some spectacular views around the lake from the drawing rooms, keep, chapel and elsewhere.
The chateau is famous owing to the imagination of writers and poets who have set works and stories involving the chateau. Lord Byron visited the chateau with Percy Shelley in 1816.  Byron was so inspired by the story of the monk Francois de Bonivard who was held captive in an underground prison dungeon from 1530 to 1536 and wrote the poem "The prisoner of Bonivard". You can see Byron's name etched into one of the pillars in the prison dungeon.
We spent about 2 hours touring the chateau, then continued the drive around the Swiss part of the lake through Lausanne, Nyon and Geneva back to the French Alps and Grand Massif.
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