Montreux: A Peaceful Morning at the Chateau de Chillon

Sometimes, you’ve got to get up early.

As someone who is decidedly not a morning person, this is a hard lesson to learn. But, the more I travel, the more true I find this to be. A glimpse of a beautiful sunset, a chance to have first pick at the market, a work of art that’s not surrounded by hordes of tourists: these are some of the treasures that belong to the early riser. To that list, add the Chateau de Chillon, completely devoid of crowds, if only you can wake yourself up in time to arrive a half hour or so before it opens. Which, of course, is exactly what I did.

I arrived at the Chateau around 9:30am and found myself there with only a few other souls. I wandered the grounds in silence, admiring the stark beauty of the Chateau, enveloped in the morning mist, against the water. And I was in line the moment the Chateau opened, getting me in the door well before the two buses filled with tourists descended.

For me, the highlight of my morning was the exterior of the Chateau; it looked particularly stunning with the water and mountains behind it, and it was one of those buildings that I knew I’d never tire of photographing. Inside the Chateau was worth exploring, but the rooms were somewhat cold and barren, only containing a few interesting displays here and there – my favorite of which was the random collection of Lego sculptures (check out the van Gogh creation below).

I have no doubt that the Chateau’s lakeside setting would be just as beautiful in the afternoon, but I can’t help but feel its power would be somewhat diminished. There’s just something about being there in the early morning hours, feeling like you are one of the few lucky ones in the world who’s onto the secret of the Chateau’s magic.

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