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"The Château de Chillon" Switzerland Things to Do Tip by traveldave

Switzerland Things to Do: 773 reviews and 1,276 photos


The Château de Chillon is the most popular historical monument in Switzerland. Is was made famous by the poem, The Prisoner of Chillon, written by the English poet Lord Byron. He visited the castle in 1816, and was inspired to write a poem about François de Bonivard, a Genevois monk and polititian who was imprisoned here from 1530 to 1536. During his visit, Lord Byron carved his name into the wall in the dungeon. The castle was also one of the settings in the Henry James novel Daisy Miller.

The earliest written record of the Château de Chillon dates from 1005. It was constructed to guard the road from Avenches to Italy, which crossed the Great Saint Bernard Pass beyond Lake Geneva. The castle was never taken by seige, but changed hands several times through treaty. It became the property of the bishops of Sion, who significantly enlarged it. It then passed to the Counts of Savoy in 1150 and was significantly expanded in the thirteenth century by Pietro II. Control of the castle evenually passed to the Bernese (1536 to 1798) and then to the Vaudois (1798 to the present).

What is now the Château de Chillon originally consisted of several buildings that were eventually connected. And over the centuries, constant rebuilding, expansions, additions, and renovations led to its present form.

The castle sits in a scenic location right on the lake. People interested in castles will find its prison cells, torture chamber, and weapons room interesting.

Directions: The Château de Chillon is located at Avenue du Chillon 21, on the north shore of Lake Geneva east of Lausanne.

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  • Updated Oct 12, 2010
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