4 Centuries of Strategy

Leman’s great regional dynasties emerged at the start of the 11th century, including the Lords of Faucigny, Counts of Geneva and Counts of Savoy. The story of the House of Savoy is well worth telling: “Between the 11th and 15th century, the House of Savoy owned a block of land that was fragmented like a piece of Gruyère cheese. Progressive conquests by the Princes made this land smooth and…full of Abondance (a cheese made in Savoie)”, the heritage guide, Bertrand Prieur, jokes about it.

As strategic thinkers, the Savoyards developed a true network of castles, new towns and fortresses stakes the perimeter around the lake, which ensured the dominance of Savoie for 4 centuries, from 1150 to 1503. An assorted platter.

12th Century, the two castles of Allinges

In the 12th century, Château-Vieux and Château-Neuf confronted each other in Allinges, a wacky battle that their ruins still bear witness to today. The ‘old’ castle belonged to the Lords of Fucigny, the ‘new’ one to the Savoyards.

A conflict between two brothers is said to be the origin of the Knights of Allinges and the Counts of Savoy, the walls of the two neighbouring and rival fortresses still bearing the scars of a war that lasted from 1234 to 1268.

A site not to be missed on the Chablais Geopark geotrail, Allinges has remained in its own element. The battlements, dungeon and view over the land make it a dipping into the medieval, ideal for family.

13th Century, the destiny of the "Little Charlemagne"

Prince Thomas I left many descendants, who extended the property of the House of Savoy. One of his sons, Peter II, known as “the Little Charlemagne” understood that to own a region, you had to occupy its centre.

He got his hands on the territory of Lausanne, which the Savoyards dreamed of conquering, through his marriage with Agnès de Faucigny in 1234 and built a number of castles : Tour de Peilz, Versoix, Evian and its church, which is listed as a Historical Monument.

Lord of Savoie-Vaud at Chillon Castle in 1245, he (finally) became head of the House of Savoy in 1263, but derived little benefit from it, dying 5 years later for a endless rest.

14th Century, Medieval town of Yvoire

Yvoire was already a seigneury enjoying access to the lake for transporting troops, trade and controlling traffic when Amadeus V, Count of Savoy decided to turn it into an impregnable fortress. The only thing missing was the stronghold and soldiers to defend it…

The sinature of a transfer deed with the descendants of Anselme de Compey in 1306 gave Yvoire the military boost it needed.

A fishing village that has become the gem of the lake, classified as one of the Most Beautiful Villages in France, Yvoire carries its legacy with pride and elegance.

15th Century, active retirement in Ripaille

The construction of Ripaille completed the structure built by the Princes of Savoie, amidst strategic battles and military quarrels. Amédée VIII, surnamed “The Peaceful” reaped the benefits of its 18 predecessors without having to travel all around the countryside.

He retired at Ripaille for a semi-religious retirement with his 6 councellors, each residing in one of the 7 towers overlooking Ripaille and its unusual architecture.

At the dawn of the 16th Century, the territory of the House of Savoy stretched from Lyons to Veneto, the Italian province which belongs to Savoie rather than the reverse, which is often assumed. That’s another story, but this one is well worth a wedge…of cheese