Chateau de Chillon | Veytaux, Switzerland
Updated: Jul 12
“A fortress in which history continues to be written!”
At the shore of Lac Leman stands one of the most known castles in Switzerland, Chateau de Chillon. Listed as a cultural property of high importance in Switzerland, its origins date back to the Roman Era and the use of this fortress has been one of great significance over time in history. It is said that Chillon is a fortress in which history continues to be written and up to date there have been three main periods of occupation over this fortification. The first was when the Counts and Dukes of Savoy had control, then the Castle was taken over by the Bernese and eventually the people of Vaud gained ownership. Read more to explore what the Castle was like during the different periods of ownership and how it is used and explored today.
“…it was said who occupied Chateau de Chillon controlled the region…”
Savoy Period 1050 – 1536
Due to its geographic location, Chateau de Chillon has played an important role over time and from the first written records in 1050 when the Counts of Savoy occupied the fortification, it is said Chillon was primarily used to control road passing between Burgundy and the Simplon pass. Its beautiful scenery quickly gave the Castle greater meaning and by 1245 it was used as a summer house by the Counts of Savoy.
Bernese Period 1536 – 1789
By the beginning of the 16th century around 1536, the castle was taken over by the people of Bern who liberated all the prisoners once captured by the Counts of Savoy and held in the dungeons of the Castle. It then served as a home to the Bernese until it became a prison of the state by the 18th century in 1733 .
Canton Vaud Period 1790 – 2021…
In 1789 at the end of the 18th Century the Vaudois kicked out the Bernese during which the Lemanic Republic was declared which is known as the Canton of Vaud today. During this time the people of Vaud asked the French for help and they then used the Chateau de Chillon as a military depot for their troops.
During the 19th Century the Chateau de Chillon was completely restored and restructured and has become a location of great cultural significance. Over the years renowned International Artists such as Victor Hugo, Lord Byron or Rousseau found inspiration for creative pieces at the Castle and over the years it has become a desired touristic destination in Europe.
Visting Chateau de Chillon today!
Visiting Chateau de Chillon you will have a lot of different chambers to explore with the option of having a guided or self-guided tour. The tour will take you through different time periods showing you different architectural styles and giving you a glimpse into how life was back in the day. You will find permanent and temporary exhibitions in various chambers.
Events at Chillon
The castle hosts events throughout the year where the Castle is integrated into the performance or the themed event. For example in 2009 I had the opportunity to watch Shakespears King Lear in the courtyard which was truly impressive as the castles environment matched the setting perfectly!
For more information on the different events taking place throughout the year or to rent out parts of the Castle for a private event or performance click here.
The prisoners of Chillon
With the ongoing wars in religion, during the 15th century the Chateau was used by the Dukes of Savoy as a prison. Many prisoners were people who defended themselves against the Savoys. One of the most famous ones was François de Bonivard whose chains can still be found in the dungeons of the castle. Upon Lord Byrons visit to the Castle, he was so inspired by Bonivards story he created his famous piece of poetry “the prisoner of Chillon”. Therefore, playing an important role in the history of Switzerland the dungeons of the castle have become a prominent part of the tour!
Chillon Chapel dedicated to Saint George the Dragon Slayer
Legend has it that in the 4th Century George of Lydda saved the city Libya by slaying a dragon. A statue as well as a Chapel was dedicated to him from the House of Savoy in the 14th Century which one can still visit today.
Living in Chateau de Chillon
Get a glimpse of how people used to live in the Chateau. With insights into different chambers from bedrooms to toilets get a feel of what life back in the day was like. In some chambers you can still see old architecture or mural paintings.
How the Counts of Savoy used to travel
With different exhibitions occurring at different times in Chillon there was one which put forward how the Counts of Savoy lived and travelled within their Chateaus around Europe. The Counts of Savoy, spent a certain amount of time at one chateau and then moved onto the next. Therefore their belongings were carried around in many wooden trunks as shown below.
Around the Castle grounds
Walking around the castle grounds and through narrow tower paths gives you an incredible insight into life back in the day! On top of that, walking up to the top of a tower allows you to have an impressive view on Lac Leman.
Information for visiting Chateau de Chillon
∞ April 1 – December 31: 10:00 - 18:00
∞ January 2 – March 31: 10:00 - 17:00 (Closed on Mondays.) (Last entry access 1 hour before closing time)
∞ Adult: 13.50 CHF.- ∞ Child (up to age 16): 7.00 CHF.-
Tel.: +41 21 966 89 10
Address: Château de Chillon, Avenue de Chillon 21, 1820 Veytaux, Switzerland
Parking: lots of spaces nearby
For more information for visiting, click here.
When visiting Chateau de Chillon, next to exploring its prominent history you can enjoy the environment around the castle at the lake. Perfect for a swim a cute pick-nick or even a spot to admire the view and find your own inspiration!
We are generation change.
Enjoy! Yours truly,
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