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ROLLE is a little-visited place roughly midway between Nyon and Lausanne which lies at the heart of the La Côte wine country. Its huge lakeside château, plum in the heart of town, dates from 1270 but is not open to the public. Just offshore – crowned by an obelisk – is the tiny Île de la Harpe, built up in 1835 from earth dumping during construction of the town’s harbour; unfortunately for posterity, the harbour works incorporated a quantity of pre-hewn oak posts which had stood just offshore for as long as anyone could remember – remnants, no doubt, of prehistoric stilt dwellings, destroyed in the name of progress. It’s a tragic irony that shortly afterwards the railway arrived, negating the whole point of building a harbour in the first place. The island, named after local revolutionary and statesman Frédéric-César de la Harpe, is now the focus for Rolle’s active community of yachties, who regularly organize sailing festivals and races around it, often tying up for a fortifying dram or two at the handy midway point.
Five kilometres east of Rolle on the lakeshore road you’ll find the massive Château d’Allaman built in the twelfth century, torched in 1530, rebuilt in 1723 and transformed again into a private residence in 2006. The office of the new owner, Mr Markus Jerger, told us the property is no longer open to the public.
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