Grandson : castle and village
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Entry to the castle is from the main Place du Château (April–Oct daily 9am–6pm; Feb & March Mon–Sat 8.30–11.30am & 1.30–5pm, Sun 9am–5pm; Nov–Jan Sat 1–5pm, Sun 9am–5pm; Fr.8; SMP). You get a follow-the-numbers leaflet at the ticket desk, but it’s worth pausing a while at the foot of the walls to look out over the lake and up at the massively strong turreted fortress above – Grandson sees a fraction of the visitors who cram into Chillon, and its past lingers more tangibly in the old stones. (Bear in mind, though, that Wednesday tends to be school-trip day.) Highlights inside include the Torture Chamber (room 3), with original wheel and executioners’ axe; an exceptionally informative and watchable English-language slide-show on the history of Grandson and the Burgundian Wars in room 7; vast quantities of booty from 1476, as well as a lifesize mock-up of Charles the Bold’s war tent (room 12); the understandably claustrophobic Prison (room 16); and a ramparts walk leading through the various towers and watch-rooms. Accessed by stairs leading down from a corner of the Banqueting Hall (room 15) is an incongruous Vintage Car Museum (rooms 17–19), displaying a whole wealth of dream machines, including Greta Garbo’s immaculate 1927 white Rolls-Royce Phantom, Winston Churchill’s 1938 Austin Cambridge, a 1913 Bugatti, and various others.

Five minutes’ walk southwest from Place du Château up ancient Rue Haute brings you to Église St-Jean-Baptiste, a beautiful and atmospheric Romanesque church renovated by the Crusader Otto I in the thirteenth century as part of an ecclesiastical complex in the village.

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