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Chateau de Chillon is located near Montreux on the north shore of Lac Leman – about 40 minutes drive from where we live.

It is an extremely popular castle for obvious reasons: its history (built in the middle ages), physical setting (lake side), location (historically on the north-south Alps trade route) and literature connection (Byron). Its popularity is underlined by this Chinese language flyer on the chateau’s official site.

We followed a numbered route to walk through the chateau and one of the first stops is the dungeon. This underground space was much colder than the other parts of the chateau even during a sunny day. It is the setting of Byron’s The Prisoner of Chillon (published 1816).  The prisoner, a Genovois monk François Bonivard in 1500’s was chained to the fifth of seven pillars. Byron even engraved his name onto the pillar (see the little framed window).

There is a direct passage from the dungeon to the lake – a route that was used as an escape when the chateau was under siege.

As the area is filled with vinyards, the chateau has its own land to grow grapes and cellar. This room was very fragrant due to the fresh oak barrel.  Chassela is the grape that is used to make a popular white wine. We bought a bottle of Clos de Chillon.  As it was average in price compared to the others in the area, we do not expect any surprise.

The dining hall is spectacular. It is available for rental!

Like most castles, the door openings are tiny.

The checkered board pattern of the wall was painted, presumably to simulate bricks.

Each room has a fireplace, understandably.

This is the chapel with medieval wall and ceiling paintings.

Internal courtyard. The numbered route does take you everywhere in the castle.

Here is a short promotional video:

Exteriors and lake views in the next post.

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