Dwight Peck's personal Web site

Castles in Switzerland

The Château of Chillon

There may be neater medieval castles somewhere, but if you think so, try convincing somebody who's seen this one!!


Supplementary photographs to accompany earlier walks through Chillon (here).

The dungeons of Chillon (night-vision goggles on) -- BYRON's dungeon as it were, or BONIVARD's dungeon. Early on the Chillon tour, we descend into the semi-sub-lakelevel dungeon where Bonivard was chained to a pillar for six years in the 1530s and Lord Byron scratched his name on the same pillar whilst being inspired to write his moving minor epic poem The Prisoner of Chillon during, I suppose, his 1816 residence in the region.

On a gazillion previous visits to Chillon, the narrator has tried to photograph Bonivard's dungeon and it always came out utterly black. This time, however, in September 2003, daughter Alison's fancy Sony digital camera flipped into infrared or night-vision mode or whatever it is (like US Special Forces use in Afghanistan to locate wedding parties), and here -- finally -- is a view of the Chillon dungeon.

And a view of the pillar, near where some chap or chappesse could conveniently be shackled. Byron's signature graffiti is protected under glass now. He didn't write his famous poem here, of course -- he visited frequently for inspiration, no doubt, but wrote the poem whilst seated comfortably on the terrace of an hotel in the Lausanne port of Ouchy, an hotel now named . . . the Hotel Byron.
The CRYPT -- a Carolingian era crypt, no less (i.e., 8th-9th century) -- in the foundations of one of the towers. Dwight and Satoki assessing its cryptness (left); Alison's night-vision camera (right)

Alison and her camera rising from the crypt

Some rooms in the main block of the castle

A well-stocked castle kitchen -- cooking utensils and crossbows on the wall.

The loo (suspended out over the lake), with companionable side-by-side seating (another old tradition we've lost)

The first courtyard, just inside the gatehouse, from opposite sides (above and below).

The innermost courtyard

The inside of the walls on the landward side, on a rainy day in September 2003. The scaffolding has to do with still more excellent restorations.

The inside of the landward wall on the right, the glacis of the older outside wall on the left.

On a rampart walkway from the gatehouse up into the castle keep about a third of the way up, D. and A. Peck wield duelling cameras and A. Peck wins.

Another Swiss engineering marvel (upper left), the elevated A9 autoroute (highway) high above the lake at its narrowest approach to the mountains, heading from Lausanne and Berne towards Italy. Below the highway, the Route Suisse or "lake road" (which leads off left towards Geneva) and the main railroad line between Paris and Rome. This is where it all comes together, at Veytaux next to Montreux. Seen from top floor of the castle keep.

Alison and Satoki having scrambled up five or six stories of the keep or donjon to the top floor.

The gatehouse tower and the covered rampart walkway leading up to the keep.

The gatehouse and main entrance . . . well, the ONLY entrance . . . on a rainy day, the keep looming in the background.

Marlowe's visits to Chillon, 1986 and 2002

Feedback and suggestions are welcome if positive, resented if negative, . All rights reserved, all wrongs avenged. Posted 13 December 2003, revised 26 November 2012.


Alison Beth Peck