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Gruyeres Castle

The best historic site..

semi-overcast 56 °F
View The Alps Bucket Trip on sstalpo's travel map.

Today we got up, had breakfast in the hotel next door, with our sever, Anna, who I admit is the hardest worker we've met yet. She worked a full day yesterday, closed up after a late party and there we she was being the support for the breakfast buffet! You go Anna!

After being well fed, and a lovely cup of fruit tea, we headed up the village hill to the castle.

We did our own tour, which was good cause the two tours around us were in French. LOL

But what a wonderful, beautiful place. A full classic garden in the back. Amazing views of the countryside.. on every side. The rooms had so much original history still in them. Coat of Arms in plaster discovered during a restoration of the bailiffs room. Ancient tapestries, some still very colorful.

Here is a historic summary from The Swiss Spectator, that I couldn't write better myself:

===Gruyères Castle===
"The castle, set in a magnificent ring of mountains, was home to the counts of Gruyère for five centuries, from the eleventh century to 1554. The castle was (re) built in the 12th century by the counts of Gruyère as a fortification in defence of the (German-speaking) dukes of Zähringen who founded the towns of Fribourg (1157) and Berne (1191).

The castle became the residence of the bailiffs of Fribourg in 1554 when the last count had to sell its indebted property. Their rule lasted until 1798, the French invasion, the Helvetian Republic (1798-1803) and Confederation (1803-1813) of 19 cantons. The canton sold the castle in 1848 to the Bovy-family from Geneva but became the owner once again in 1938.

The castle shows the artistic styles from the twelfth century onwards: the medieval walls and structures and the Romanesque chapel, the Renaissance residence, furniture and tapestries, the French gardens, the baroque bailiff’s hall, the Age of Enlightenment and the Romantic reconstruction of the interior and 19th-century art by artistic members of the Bovy family after 1848. The castle is a trip through almost nine centuries of art, history and legends, and, last but not least, cheese, of course. (Source: H. Gremaud, Château de Gruyères, Villars-sur-Glâne)."

We saw ALL of this.. some of the more conserved were the Bovy works of art, and their rooms (with beautiful oil paintings on the literal wood panels in the walls). Because of the history of this castle being supportive, and part of an artists's community, there were also great exhibits of art. Some of the best were the Fantasy/SciFi pieces. The artist we liked the best was Patrick Woodroffe. He had a piece we liked a lot in a gallery room full of a mixture of artists. This one was our favorite:


Then we discovered that in a tower, around the walls and down the spiral staircase was a multitude of his work!!!

He also created two immense metal sculpture disks in the outer courtyard, which greet you when you come through the entrance. At first we thought they were renditions of Heaven and Hell, but in doing some research on Woodroffe we learned they were about Mars and Venus -- the futility of war... and I wonder if love too.. but did confirm that the Mars disk was designed to show war as a closed circle of absurd, self-destructive futility." (Amen Patrick!)
None of the photos again do not do the real thing justice!


Back in the rooms my favorite piece was during the Bovy's ownership of the castle and the oil paintings in one of the rooms. Imagine all the walls like this.. cause they were.


We also saw a pianoforte - created for LISZT !! Yes.. that LIszt! And there other great works of art that I could not take a picture of...

The kitchen was so detailed!! we could see the original timbers and the creosote build up in the ceiling, and the guards room the kitchen maids basically had to walk through a fireplace to bring them food in the room next to the kitchen.


Overall the courtyards (inner and outer) were peaceful, full of art, and very historic. My favorite museum (so far - we still have the National Museum to see in Zurich) of our trip.


I am going to miss here.. I say that every day, but sitting here in front my hotel window with THIS view !! I do not want to leave!! Just send me work .. and I'll do it here!!


Posted by sstalpo 06:17 Archived in Switzerland Tagged gruyeres woodroffe

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I did not go to Gruyeres on my trips to Switzerland. So now I must return!

by littlesam1

Patrick Woodroffe, interesting. I always wondered who did those disks. Fascinating.

by Beausoleil

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