Aubonne came to me by a sleight of hand. I was at nearby Allaman which I had established as a site previously, and only by accident did I notice that it was worth drudging into Aubonne as well (I actually gave up halfway up the hill and took the bus, but let’s ignore this shall we…). The château here is, most beautifully, situated on the highest place in the township although it also encloses a school in the modern day so is unsuitable for visiting at certain times of day.
The photo I have attached here is from the inside of the first court. I found it quite spectacular as other than Nyon it was the first château I could actually enter, and the decorative style employed here was absolutely striking. What has not been captured on this image but which was worth investigating was a Roman sculpture of two soldiers which stood off to one side in this courtyard.
The commanding height of the locale also gave it only two access paths, one of these the seemingly historical main access-way with a wonderfully carved gate, and the other a wooden staircase which also allowed access to garden terraces (locked when I was there). Overall, the sense here was of a compact but stylish building that enjoyed still being of use for the people of its commune.
The structure itself dates from before 1197 but was rebuilt to a degree in the 17th when, like so many other places in the region, was purchased by the Parisian merchant Jean-Baptiste Tavernier. Tavernier is another of the names which now stands on my list of people to read about, as his Indies trade makes for no-doubt interesting stories. The portico pictured above is also one of Tavernier’s additions as is a spectacular white tower that stands proud above Aubonne.
Overall, though this place might not look like much, I think it is worth a visit, especially if one’s interest stretches into Rome. Again, I think I would caution a spring- or summer-time journey, as the gardens here are likely to be quite a bit more accessible in a warmer season than the early winteresque December.