Yvoire, France is a beautiful medieval stone village.
It is easy to imagine the setting of village life in the mostly intact old town section. It is harder to realize the difficulties of providing food, water, and defense for this lakeside village.
Yvoire is on the south shore of Lac Léman (Lake Geneva) on a prominent point between Geneva and Évian-les-Bains.
There is arable land surrounding the village. And the substantial ancient châteaux nearby suggest there was a time of plenty for the noblemen. But the village peasants led a difficult life.
The village square was a place to gather. The cathedral and its cemetery were located adjacent to the square. It was the location for market day commerce. The water fountain was also located in the square.
I don’t know how much time villagers had to sit in the shade, but this must have been their main gathering place. Religious and civic festivals took place here.
It is still a place to gather. But now it is a place to imagine the past rather than take care of life’s necessities. Looking at this shady water tank I think about all the generations that talked about village news or celebrated holidays at this spot.
The Yvoire village square is well preserved. Adjacent to the square is an épicerie (small market/delicatessen). Fortunately the shopkeeper spoke no English so that is where I learned to order cheese. I struggle with French and it is intimidating. But ordering cheese is an important activity, especially at village outdoor markets.
Yvoire is easy to get to. It is a popular tourist destination and has a large municipal parking lot for the busy holiday season. We were there in May so it wasn’t too bad. Since we didn’t have a car we took the train from Geneva along the north shore of the lake to Nyon, Switzerland and walked downhill to the harbor. Then we took the ferry over to Yvoire. The trains are frequent as they are the main connection between Geneva and Lausanne. The national boundary separating Switzerland and France passes through the middle of the lake.
There are more Yvoire photos in the Photo Gallery at my website: www.earthmapphoto.com