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Marlowe's visit to Switzerland, June 2003

Castles in Switzerland: La Sarraz



Newly graduated from high school, soon to be off to Uni, Marlowe visits the Old Dad in Switzerland.

You may not find this terribly rewarding unless you're included here, so this is a good time for casual and random browsers to turn back before they get too caught up in the sweep and majesty of the proceedings and can't let go.

The town of La Sarraz is an attractive and interesting place perched on a little ridge at about 500m between Cossonay and Orbe. The ridge forms the watershed between the valley of the Venoge that comes out of L'Isle, flows northeast to La Sarraz, and turns south past Lausanne-West to Lac Léman (Lake Geneva), and the floodplain of the Nozon and the canals that join the river Orbe and reach Lac de Neuchâtel at Yverdon to the north.

 


 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The castle itself, sitting on a high place in the town alongside the trade route between the two river valleys, has a long, well-documented history (mostly of tax-collecting, presumably) since the 13th century, continuously in the same family (rather loosely defined, passed from the Grandsons 1049-1269, Montferrands 1269-1541, and Gingins 1541-1798) until it was turned over to the state and a management foundation, the Société des Amis du Château de La Sarraz, in 1920. The belle matron of the family hosted international art festivals and maintained an art colony of some sort in the 1920s or so (one room is devoted to her art posters).

Marlowe trying to fly in the main courtyard. The name "Sarra" comes from patois-Latin for "fortified".

One visits the interiors (in summers) only with half-hourly tours guided by local young people well-informed about the vast amount of original furniture and family portraits, much of which has been in the same place for centuries. (There's a museum of horses or something on the same property, didn't sound so interesting, given our general preferences.)

An hour and seven francs well spent in La Sarraz.

The high street in La Sarraz, quite a nice village of 1750 good citizens.

The Protestant church (dating from 1837), with the castle of La Sarraz just up the hill to the left.

The back side of the castle, leaving town towards the north.

For more info, opening hours, etc.: http://www.swisscastles.ch/Vaud/lasarraz/default.htm.

Marlowe's visit to Switzerland, June 2003

Introductory and synoptic

Castles in Switzerland: La Sarraz

Abbeys in Switzerland: Romainmôtier

Small historic cities in Switzerland: Fribourg


Feedback and suggestions are welcome if positive, resented if negative, . All rights reserved, all wrongs avenged. Posted 22 September 2003, revised 8 March 2008, 30 October 2015.


Marlowe Tyson Peck