Lord Byron and Percy Bysshe Shelley visited Montreux Switzerland in 1816 and sailed on Lake Geneva, then called Lake Leman. Byron toured Chillon Castle which stands on the lake, and wrote his poem, “The Prisoner of Chillon,” about Francois Bonivard who was imprisoned in Chillon’s dungeons from 1532 -1536.
“There are seven pillars of gothic mould,
in Chillon’s dungeons deep and cold.”
“There are seven columns, mossy and grey,
Dim with a dull imprisoned ray”
(The dungeon is below.)
“They chained us each to column stone,
And we were three, yet each alone”
You can see the columns and just make out the iron loops for the chains towards the bottom of the closest one. A class of bored school children were listening to their teacher. She droned on way too long. If one just read the more gruesome lines of Byron’s poem and let the kids explore the dungeon, I bet they’d be hooked on poetry for life! I speak terrible French, but I swear I heard the teacher, say, “Listen Johann, you will be tested on this!” Laughing, there was nothing that would have made me listen less, but I digress…..
Chillon castle was home to the counts of Savoy from the mid 12th century.
The oldest bedroom in the castle has 14th century medieval murals.
Montreux and Lake Geneva are beautiful. There is an old city center that is fun to explore and lots of wonderful restaurants. We bid farewell to Switzerland now, as we head back to Germany.
Cheers to you from Sweet Suise!
Quotations from “The Prisoner of Chillon,” Lord Byron 1816.
For more on Bonivard check out: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fran%C3%A7ois_Bonivard