Villeneuve Switzerland – Home of Chateau de Chillon
We took you all around the world with us. We shared stories about many cities, countries, monuments and all of the funny moments we had.
We think the time has come to tell you about our favorite town in Switzerland, our current hometown,Villeneuve.
When a traveling family decides to settle down in one city, make it the starting point of all of their journeys and a place they call home - there has to be something special about it.
Villeneuve is peaceful, quiet and community-oriented, but those characteristics can be used to describe the majority of small towns all across Switzerland, which is one of the reasons why we love this country so much. However, what makes our hometown and its surrounding area so special is its incredible beauty and the proximity of Lake Geneva.
Keep reading, and you will find out why we love this delightful place so much and what you can visit here!
Top 3 Reasons to Fall in Love with Villeneuve, Switzerland
1. Perfect Location and Marvelous Landscape
If you ask citizens of Villeneuve what the best thing about their hometown is, they will probably all say the same thing – sunsets. This lovely town is situated on a croissant-shaped Lake Geneva, with Castle Chillon nearby. Swiss Alps surround the city, and over the water, in the distance, you can see France. Long story short, the sight is magnificent wherever you look.
Also, one of the first things we noticed here, were hundreds and hundreds of vineyards.
Villeneuve is famous for its high-quality wines, and there are a few wine cellars you simply have to visit if you consider yourself a true wine enthusiast and take a sip.
2. Forget about Your Car
When you are living in the Villeneuve, you quickly realize that a car is not a necessity.
Whether you decide to go to school, beach, market, park or the nearest town, everything is within walking distance. So, you can be sure that you’ll stay fit.
Even if you are not a big fan of strolling, buying a bicycle would still be a better investment (for both your budget and your health) than a car.
In case you do need to go out of the city, you can hop on a train. Villeneuve has a beautiful railway station, but you should keep in mind that since this is such a small town, many trains just pass by it.
You’ll probably need to buy a ticket to Montreux and then catch a direct train from there to go anywhere in the country. Fortunately, purchasing a ticket is pretty straightforward; you can do it on the automat at the train station or order it online.
You can also buy Supersaver passes which will offer you great discounts if you order online beforehand.
3. The Romantic Scent of the Town
Coming to Villeneuve, you will feel a certain romantic, retro vibe. Narrow streets, little, specialized shops everywhere, beautiful nature, sunny weather, fresh air, and flowers are what makes it so charming.
You might be surprised when you realize that there is a flowery scent floating through the air.
The reason for that is Villeneuve’s precious jewel, hidden right in the middle of the town - 800 years old medieval garden that was designed for all sorts of festivities. Children from schools and kindergarten come here to plant and water fruits, vegetables and flowers and learn about all of the gifts nature can offer.
The thing about this place that was the most pleasant surprise to us was the fact that when the season comes and all plants grow ripe, citizens can come and pick the fruits for their households, for free. The community works together in this garden and then shares the fruits of their work, which is amazing.
Top 5 Things to See and Do in Villeneuve
Here are a few things for you to check out when you come to visit our hometown:
1. Lake Geneva
Villeneuve has the potential to offer fun for the whole family.
If you head out to the lake, you will find a large swimming pool, located right next to the shore. Our girls enjoy swimming here and absorbing the sight of nature around them at the same time.
However, if you prefer jumping in the lake instead of a pool, the beach called Les Marines is right here. It is long, rocky and wide and often crowded with locals. The entrance costs 5 francs, and you are welcome to make a picnic here or make a barbeque.
2. Chateau de Chillon
You will find Chateau de Chillon situated on the lakeside only two kilometers away from Villeneuve. This charming castle has almost 900 years long, eventful history but some archeological findings prove that people occupied this site since the Bronze Age.
The castle was renovated, restored and adapted on several occasions.
The first mention of the Chateau de Chillon dates back to 1150 when the fort was controlled by the Counts of Savoy.
In 1214, Thomas I of Savoy founded "Villeneuve de Chillon," agricultural and lacustrine village designed to accommodate the growing population that depended on the eponymous castle. It served as a commercial and military port to the Savoys.
The excellent strategic position of the castle gave the Counts of Savoy a significant advantage, so they managed to conquer two-thirds of today’s French-speaking territory of Switzerland by the 13th century.
During those times, Pierre II of Savoy extended the castle and turned it into a summer residence for the Counts. With such role, Chateau de Chillon became neglected over the years, and Bernese decided to take advantage of the situation and take it over in 1536.
They divided what we know today as the Canton of Vaud into twelve different districts. Chillon was proclaimed the administrative center of Vevey and Villeneuve was a part of the same bailiwick. Soon enough, the fortress was reorganized and adapted for the use of new weapons, so it could better serve the military.
Some two hundred years later in 1798, during the Vaudois Revolution, the Bernese had to leave the castle once it became occupied by the patriots of Montreux and Vevey. Officially, this medieval fortress became the property of the aforementioned canton after its foundation in 1803.
Throughout history, Chateau de Chillon was used as a State prison and stock for various ammunition and weapons. Even though its existence was historically essential for the region, the castle was made famous by the poet Lord Byron, as it inspired him to write one of his most popular poems – The Prisoner of Chillon.
The final restorations of the castle began at the end of the 19th century and are still ongoing today.
Another interesting thing that you will probably notice if you visit Chateau de Chillon is a tree sitting in the middle of the lake. It is a unique sight for sure.
That tree was the gift from Queen Elizabeth to the town of Villeneuve and it symbolizes the peace and goodwill between two nations.
3. Town Hall
If you come to Villeneuve, don’t forget to check out the charming Maison de Ville (Town Hall) on Place de la Gare and The Church of Saint Paul on Grand-Rue. The architecture and art displays will tell you several interesting stories about the Royal House of Savoy, and you will better understand the history of both Villeneuve and Castle Chillon.
4. Park of Ouchettaz
Our incredible hometown has a beautiful park called Parc de l'Ouchettaz. It’s the center of all social gatherings during the summer. The town makes an effort every year to organize free concerts and activities for all locals and tourists to join. It is located at the harbor of Ouchettaz, and it is perfect for the relaxing, panoramic stroll.
5. The Acro Show
If you are an adrenaline junkie or simply open to new experiences, you will be excited to hear that you can try paragliding in Villeneuve. It is not something you would expect from such a small, laid-back town, but it seems like everyone has their bold side, and so does this city.
You can even visit the Acro Show, Villeneuve’s paragliding festival where you can see hundreds of people jumping off the mountain, flying and then landing into the water. Even if you are afraid of heights, watching people fly over the water like swans is an exquisite spectacle.
That would be all for now; if you would like to learn more about our hometown, watch our YouTube video about Villeneuve and subscribe to our channel for more adventures. You will see where our girls had previously attended school, and how courageous Chantal can be flying through the air.
See you soon!