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 confluence of paths near Allaman is a feature of its history — and one could say that this lakeside location is unsurprisingly in a coveted place, for who would not want to be situated in the midst of where the news travels. In the modern day, this is also a sizeable private property, which can be used for functions; historically, Allaman was almost what Geneva is today: a symbol of peace and common prosperity.
Prangins is a perfect example of resilience in the face of destruction, that most human of qualities which counteracts the also very human sense of destruction. The structure one sees today is from a new owner’s endeavours after 1723 yet medieval settlement of this site dates at least to the 1090’s — medieval for this was a site of relevance already for those fabled conquerors from the south, the Romans, who have left a very visible mark on nearby Nyon.
Rolle is probably the most memorable of the places I visited in my one/two days of exploration in rural Vaud and Geneva, lands mostly in the ownership of Savoie in the olden days. What made this place spectacular was its simplicity and real sense of defensibility. A lot of the other châteaus in this area are far more of the ‘recent country house’ style, even if their origin is in the Middle Ages. Continue reading “Château de Rolle”
Coppet is a private site — though it acts as a museum in the summertime — and therefore one’s freedom of movement on the grounds is restricted at times, or at least some entryways are blocked. The easiest solution on the December day I found myself visiting was to walk around the perimeter of the structure as much as I could.
Nyon was my first Swiss (Vaudois? Savoyard?) castle that I experienced, and as such it was a perfect entry to the local scenery. A wonderfully compact construct in a Roman-era settlement which still towers above the local landscape, I was especially lucky as I could also experience the sense of Nyon disappearing into the landscape when I took the watertaxi across Lake Geneva.
This could all be a complete fallacy and nothing in here be true, but there’s a limit beyond which one stops believing in coincidences and trust that this could have been an actual fact. ‘The Ancient Paths’ and the theories postulated here crosses that limit for me. Continue reading “Review: ‘The Ancient Paths’, Graham Robb”