🏰 Castles of French-speaking Switzerland
- 1 CASTLES OF FRENCH-SPEAKING SWITZERLAND
- 1.1 THE CASTLE
- 1.2 THE INVENTORIED CASTLES
- 1.3 CATEGORIZATION
- 1.3.1 Large-sized castles which can be visited and kept in their original state:
- 1.3.2 Castles of important sizes which can be visited but recycled in museums:
- 1.3.3 Private castles not open to visitors:
- 1.3.4 Castles owned by a canton or commune but not visitable:
- 1.3.5 Castles in ruins with a visitable keep:
- 1.4 COMPARISON TABLE
- 2 THE BURGUNDIAN WARS
- 2.1 INTRODUCTION
- 2.2 THE PRELUDES TO WAR
- 2.3 THE BATTLES
- 2.4 THE CONSEQUENCES
The golden age of castles ranges from the 11th to the 13th century when they are built, then declined rapidly from the beginning of the 15th century with the appearance of powder artillery around 1370 and the metal ball around 1450. The vast majority of castles in French-speaking Switzerland are built, financed or inspired by the Counts of Savoy, who became Dukes in 1416. The castles have been relatively well preserved over time, few of them have disappeared like those of Palezieux or Bossonnens in the state of ruins. Some of them cannot be visited because they are in private hands but others in the canton of Fribourg, although they are in public hands, house the administration of the district capitals and are therefore not visitable.
THE INVENTORIED CASTLES
Dozens of castles are listed in French-speaking Switzerland, the Torpille team visits the most important of them and only the castles dating back to the medieval period before 1450.
The following castles are not inventoried by the Torpille team:
- Buildings named as castles but of recent construction (e.g. Château de l’Aile in Vevey or Château Mercier in Sierre)
- Old buildings that look more like beautiful houses (e. g. Château de Prangins)
- Castles in a state of advanced ruins (e.g. Château de Montorge in Sion or Chalais tower)
The castles of French-speaking Switzerland may be in different states of conservation and can be categorised as follows:
Large-sized castles which can be visited and kept in their original state:
Chillon, Grandson, Gruyère, Oron, Valangin, La Sarraz.
Castles of important sizes which can be visited but recycled in museums:
Yverdon, Morges, Romont, St-Maurice, Aigle, Nyon, Boudry.
Private castles not open to visitors:
Blonay, Châtelard, Champvent, Vufflens, Glérolles, Lucens, Les Clées, Vidomnes, Goubing, Vaumarcus, Gorgier, Saint-Barthélémy, Môtiers.
Castles owned by a canton or commune but not visitable:
Castles in ruins with a visitable keep:
|Names||Links||Pictures||Altitude m||Canton||Visitable?||Public||Construction||Keep||Under control in 1400||Wars of|
|Aigle||Link||436||Vaud||Yes (Municipality)||12th centrury||Square||Savoy||19.02.2017||Musée du vin et de la vigne|
|Anniviers (Tower)||Link||1208||Valais||Yes (Municipality)||13e centrury||Square||Hauts-Valaisans||26.05.2018|
|Ancien Evêché||Link||510||Vaud||Yes||11th to 15th century||Square||Evêque de Lausanne||21.07.2018||Musée Historique de Lausanne.|
Possède peu d'éléments d'origine.
|Avenches||Link||478||Vaud||Yes (Municipality)||1175||Square||Evêque de Lausanne||11.03.2018|
|Bertholod (Tower)||Link||Vaud||Yes (Municipality of Payerne)||13e centrury||Circular||Evêque de Lausanne||11.11.2018|
|Blonay||Link||646||Vaud||No||1184||Square||Vassal de la Savoie||19.03.2017||Habitation|
|Bulle||Link||769||Fribourg||Yes (Canton)||1301||Circular||Evêque de Lausanne||20.11.2016||Administration du district|
|Boudry||Link||477||Neuchâtel||Yes (Canton)||13th centrury||Circular||Comtes of Neuchâtel?||24.03.2018|
|Champvent||Link||502||Vaud||No||Beginning of 13th century||Circular||Allies of Burgundy||21.01.2018||Privé|
|Châtel-Saint-Denis||Link||844||Fribourg||Yes (Canton)||13th century||Square||Savoy||11.03.2017||Administration du district|
|Link||456||Fribourg||Yes (Canton)||1392||Circular||Savoy||21.01.2018||Administration du district|
Partiellement en brique
|Link||374||Vaud||Yes (Canton)||11e and 12e centrury|
Improved during 13th and 14th centuries
|Square||Savoy (Baillage)||07.04.2016||Expositions temporaires|
|Colombier||Link||531||Neuchâtel||Yes||12th century||Square||Lords of Colombiers Allies to Neuchâtel||24.03.2018|
|Link||378||Vaud||No||Keep in 1150|
Castle at the beginning of 14th century.
|Circular||Evêque de Lausanne||?||28.01.2018||Possède peu d'éléments d'origine.|
|Gorgier||Link||524||Neuchâtel||No||En of 12th century||Square||Lords of Estavayer Allied of Comtes of Neuchâtel||24.03.2018||Pas accessible car privé.|
|Link||565||Valais||Bourgeoisie de Sierre||Enf of 12th century||Square||Hauts-Valaisans||Hors Conflit||17.03.2018||Accès autour impossible car privé|
|Gourze (Tower)||Link||923||Vaud||Yes (Municipality)||Before 13th century||Square||Evêque de Lausanne||15.04.2018|
Improved at the 13th and 14th century
|Circular||Savoy||05.02.2017||Expo anciennes voitures|
|Gruyères||Link||832||Fribourg||Yes||11th century||Circular||Comte of Gruyère vassal of Savoy||09.04.2016||Musée Giger|
|Link||539||Valais||Association||13th century||Circular||Savoy||11.06.2017||Engins de Siège|
|La Sarraz||Link||504||Vaud||Fondation||11th to 13th century||Square||Vassal of Savoy||10.09.2017||Musée du Cheval|
|Les Clées||Link||625||Vaud||Privé||Savoy||Square||Savoy (Châtellerie)||24.02.2018|
|Lucens||Link||551||Vaud||Privé||13th century||Circular||Evêque de Lausanne||24.02.2018|
|Link||529||Valais||?||Beginning of 13th century||Square||Evêque de Sion||13.02.2018||Musée des Beaux-Arts|
|Morat||Link||458||Fribourg||Yes (Canton)||1180||Square||Savoy||16.04.2017||Administration du district|
|Morges||Link||374||Vaud||Yes (Canton)||End of 13th century||Circular||Savoy (Châtellerie)||29.04.2017||Musées militaires|
Parties hautes en brique
|Môtiers||Link||840||Neuchâtel||No||1344||Circular||Comtes of Neuchâtel||Hors Conflit||24.06.2018||Montres Bovet|
|Nyon||Link||400||Vaud||Yes (Municipality)||13th century||Square||Savoy||14.02.2018||Musée Historique et de la Porcelaine|
|Ogoz||Link||685||Fribourg||Yes (Municipality)||13th century||Square||Local lords||21.06.2017||Ruines visitables|
|Orbe||Link||485||Vaud||?||13th century||Circular||Lords of Chalon, allies of Burgundy||24.02.2018|
|Oron||Link||717||Vaud||Association||12th century||Circular||Vassal of Savoy||16.04.2016||Ancienne Bibliothèque|
|Rolle||Link||377||Vaud||Yes (Municipality)||Around 1290||Circular||Savoy||05.06.2017|
|Romont||Link||782||Fribourg||Yes (Canton)||1240||Circular||Savoy (Châtellerie)||22.10.2016||Administration du district|
|Saillon||Link||552||Valais||Yes (Municipality)||11th century, improved at 13th, destroyed in 1475.||Circular||Savoy (Châtellerie)||02.04.2017||Ruines visitables|
|Saxon||Link||656||Valais||Yes (Municipality)||13th century|
détruit en 1475
|Circular||Savoy (Châtellerie)||08.02.2018||Ruines visitables|
|Saint-Barthélémy||Link||615||Vaud||?||12th century||Square||Vassal of Savoy ?||?||11.04.2018|
|Link||533||Vaud||Yes (Canton)||1396||Square||Evêque de Lausanne||02.01.2018||Parties hautes en brique|
|Saint-Martin du Chêne|
|Link||619||Vaud||Yes (Canton)?||Enf of 11th century||Square|
|Seigneurs vassaux de la Savoie?||28.04.2018||Ruines visitables|
Détruit en 1536 par les Bernois
|Saint-Maurice||Link||417||Valais||Fondation (Municipality and Canton)||15th century||Square||Savoy||17.09.2016||Exposition dessin et bande dessinée|
|Saint-Triphon||Link||477||Vaud||?||12th century||Square||Vassal of Savoy||08.02.2018||Ruine|
Tour non visitable
|Tour-de-Peilz||Link||380||Vaud||Yes (Municipality)||13th century||Circular||Savoy (Châtellerie)||19.03.2017||Ruines visitables|
Musée du jeu
|Link||657||Valais||?||End of 13th century||Square||Evêque de Sion||13.02.2018||Fermé en hiver|
|Valangin||Link||665||Neuchâtel||Société||12th century||Square||Sires of Valangin||Hors Conflit||13.05.2017|
|Link||608||Valais||?||12th and 13th century||-||Evêque de Sion||13.02.2018|
|Vaulruz||Link||843||Fribourg||Yes (Municipality)||13th century||Square||Savoy||10.06.2017|
|Vufflens||Link||473||Vaud||No||1415-1430||Square||?||?||28.01.2018||Complètement fait en brique|
|Yverdon||Link||433||Vaud||Yes (Municipality)||13th century|
Construction ends around 1265
|Circular||Savoy (Châtellerie)||05.02.2017||Musée d'Yverdon et région|
|Tour de la Molière||A venir|
Castle not open to the public.
Castle not open to visitors but particularly pretty.
Castle can be visited but no longer in its original state.
Visitable castle in a good state of conservation. To be visited first.
Damaged during the Burgundian Wars.
Spared during the Burgundian Wars.
The Burgundian Wars were a major event in Swiss history and affected a large number of castles in the Pays de Vaud, which were damaged and plundered very often without a fight. They lasted from 1474 to 1477 and opposed the army of Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy, to the canton of Berne reinforced by the 7 other cantons of Switzerland at the time. The Swiss cantons in 1474 formed the Confederation of the VIII Cantons and included those of Zurich (1351), Bern (1353), Lucerne (1332), Zug (1352), Glarus (1352) and the founding cantons of 1291 so-called primitive cantons, namely Uri, Schwitz and UnterWald (Nidwlad and Obwalden).
Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy, is at the head of heterogeneous territorial possessions called Burgundian states stretching from Macon in France to the North Sea and corresponding approximately to the current countries of the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, the French departments of Lorraine, Franche-Comté and part of Burgundy. The Duchy of Savoy, whose territory extends over an alpine area from Nice to Murten, with the Pays de Vaud, Chablais and Bas-Valais in particular, is allied to the Duke of Burgundy and will provide him with men like Jacques de Romont.
THE PRELUDES TO WAR
The growing opposition between Charles the Bold and the Swiss led to the “Burgundian War”. The King of France largely financed the Swiss in their opposition against the Duke of Burgundy in the hope of limiting his influence. Five battles marked the Burgundy Wars, each of which resulted in the victory of the Swiss and their allies.
1st. The Battle of Héricourt
The first battle took place at Héricourt near Belfort near the Swiss Jura and was of minor importance.
2nd. The Battle of La Planta
The second battle took place in 1475 at La Planta in Sion in the Valais and opposed Savoy alone to the Bishop of Sion reinforced by the Haut Valaisans. Bernese troops arrived as reinforcements to turn the tide of the battle and the defeat of Savoy led to a territorial retreat for the latter as far as Saint-Maurice.
3rd. The Battle of Grandson
Charles the Bold absent during the first two battles is present during the last 3 battles. The third battle took place near Grandson in 1476. Following the murder of the Swiss garrison of the Grandson Castle, an alliance of cantons marched towards the castle and was victorious because of strategic errors by Charles the Bold. His army was mainly composed of Lombards and equipped with a powerful and modern cavalry and artillery for the time. The Swiss, on the other hand, rely on their soldiers equipped with 5-metre long spikes or halberds that advance towards the enemy like a hedgehog and are particularly effective against cavalry charges.
This undecided battle is the most important of the Burgundian Wars and allows the Swiss to take over their enemy for the rest of the war. During this battle, the Duke of Burgundy did not lose more than 1000 men in battle but, above all, abandoned a considerable amount of loot that went so far as to cause great tensions between the Swiss cantons. Some of the objects captured at that time are now on display in the cities of Bern, Basel, Freiburg or Lucerne.
4th. The Battle of Murten
To take his revenge, the Duke of Burgundy undertook to attack the city of Bern directly after reorganizing in Lausanne. On his way, he laid siege to the city of Murten during the fourth battle in 1476. The city resisted in numerical inferiority and owes its salvation to the reinforcements coming from the Swiss cantons who reversed the positions of the Duke and his Savoyard ally, Jacques de Romont.
An image of the Confederates’ victory over Charles the Bold at the Battle of Murten at Fort Cindey to motivate the troops stationed there.
5th. The Battle of Nancy
The fifth battle took place in Nancy in 1477 when the Duke of Burgundy undertook to subdue the rebellious city, reinforced by Confederation soldiers, to ensure continuity on its territory, which was then divided in two. The Duke of Burgundy died on this occasion in a battle lost due to strategic errors.
La bataille de Morat
It was during the years 1474 to 1477 that a large number of castles in the Pays de Vaud were plundered by Bernese who made incursions into the territory and were known to give no quarter.
The Burgundian States
The Burgundian Wars ended after the death of Charles the Bold, with significant consequences for Central Europe and Switzerland. The Burgundian states were severely weakened with the death of the Duke of Burgundy at the Battle of Nancy. They are losing territories to the profile of the Kingdom of France. His daughter, Marie de Bourgogne, succeeded him and by her marriage to Maximilian, the Burgundian states passed to the House of Habsburg.
The Swiss, at the summit of their military glory, and in particular the canton of Berne, were strengthened by these victories, which announced the conquest of the Pays de Vaud in 1536. Despite their clear victory, the Swiss enjoyed only minor territorial gains with Berne, which annexed the Chablais and Cerlier, and shared, in the form of a baillage with Fribourg, Grandson, Echallens, Orbe and Morat. On the other hand, the Swiss benefit from significant material gains, notably with the return of the Pays de Vaud to Savoie in exchange for money. Freiburg, stuck between Bern and Savoy, played a somewhat ambiguous role before the Burgundian wars because it established alliances with these two powers and took part in the Battle of Murten alongside the Bernese. It finally joined the Swiss Confederation as a canton in 1481 with Solothurn.
Savoy has been deprived of many cities in the Pays de Vaud and no longer has the means to ensure its sovereignty over what remains of its territory. The Pays de Vaud is devastated by looting and suffers from famine as well as severe bleeding in the population, reduced by 2/3. Its territory was returned to Savoy, a former ally of the Duke of Burgundy, with the exception of Aigle and Cerlier, which were transferred to the Bernese, while the cities of Echallens, Orbe, Grandson and Morat were managed by Berne and Fribourg. The retrocession of the Pays de Vaud satisfies the other Swiss cantons, which do not take a very positive view of a canton of Berne that is too powerful.
Geneva, an ally of the Duke of Burgundy, was threatened by the Swiss and had to pay a “fine” for its participation in the war. However, it soon became an ally of Berne, marking the beginning of its history with Switzerland.
The Kingdom of France
The Kingdom of France took advantage of the opportunity to annex many territories that had belonged to the Duke of Burgundy, in particular the Duchy of Burgundy, a territory around Dijon.
To conclude, a very good article retraces the Burgundian Wars.