Now That’s An Old House

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Chateau on Lac Léman, Yvoire, France

Chateau on Lac Léman, Yvoire, France

Several generations had passed through this chateau before Christopher Columbus ‘discovered’ America.

The chateau served as a strong point on the shore of Lac Léman (Lake Geneva) during hundreds of years of armed struggle. It is situated in Yvoire, France, east of Geneva, Switzerland on the south shore of the lake. The national boundary runs through the middle of the lake. The north shore is in Switzerland and the south shore is in France. That is why the lake has two names.

Construction of the chateau began in 1308. Later, during one of many battles it was over-run and the interior was set on fire and the roof was burned out. It sat for 350 years without a roof! The restored roof and the rest of the chateau look old now. It is hard to imagine that a building that was open to storms for hundreds of years could be made usable again.

Yvoire is a beautiful, restored medieval village. Apparently it is crowded with tourists during the summer. But we were there in May, so there weren’t very many people in the village. There are great walking trails along the lake and through the farmland nearby. It is surprising (to an American) to see marked trails going through rolling farmland and woodlands which appear to be private land.

One morning we walked quite a ways south of Yvoire along the lake through a dense hardwood forest. The bird songs were very loud and varied. We came to an opening and looked up a long grassy knoll to see another restored chateau sitting by itself. It is hard to imagine what it would have been like to live in that chateau by the lake with its own small harbor hidden in the forest.

It had been a very rainy night before I took this photograph. All of the lakeside restaurants had to take down their terrace awnings and all of the outside tables and chairs. It was a violent lightning storm with heavy rain. In the morning when I went out before dawn it was still lightly raining. But it started to clear after dawn. The remaining clouds made the sky interesting. And a large hawk flew over as I was photographing the chateau from the small harbor breakwater. There was just enough sunlight to add a warm color to the stone of the chateau. Photo: 1/100 s at f/18

There are more Yvoire photos in my online galleries. Click the Photography link above.

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