The most beautiful villages in France: what to do in Yvoire, “Pearl of Lake Geneva”?

Located on the French shore of Lake Geneva, between Geneva and Evian, Yvoire is a medieval town dating from the early 14th century. It was its strategic position, between the “Little Lake” and the “Great Lake” that led Amédée V the Great, Count of Savoy, to undertake fortifications from 1306, in the midst of the Delphino-Savoyard conflict. From this period, the castle, ramparts, gates, ditches and medieval houses are particularly well preserved.

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If the stone is queen in Yvoire, classified among the most beautiful villages in France, the village flower brings a palette of colors that varies according to the seasons.

The most important thing to do in Yvoire, one of the most beautiful villages in France

  • The Garden of the Five Senses, a remarkable garden in Yvoire

Located on a plot that used to be the kitchen garden of Château d’Yvoire, this garden labeled remarkable garden offers a very noticeable sensory tour. The first part of the garden has several green areas – an alpine meadow that echoes the surrounding Alps, an undergrowth adorned with shade plants, a Renaissance-inspired weaving and a wool-shaped cloister that promotes meditation.

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The lower part of the garden is actually a labyrinth, consisting of four gardens separated from each other by hedges of hornbeam and trellised apple trees. The particularity of these gardens lies in the fact that each one is devoted to a sense, in this case sight, touch, taste and smell – hearing is represented by the murmur of water and birdsong. A total of 1,500 varieties of plants make up this garden inspired by medieval gardens.

A true sentinel on Lake Geneva, Château d’Yvoire is undoubtedly the most photographed building in Yvoire due to its majestic silhouette. However, it is not possible to visit this castle, built from 1306 and then renovated in the 20th century after falling victim to a fire that had ravaged it in 1591.

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  • Domaine Rovorée-La Châtaignière

This 24-hectare natural space is one of the few public spaces available on the shores of Lake Geneva in France: everyone can thus discover an ancient forest with centuries-old chestnut trees, lake shores with tuff caves and, above all, a fantastic panorama of the lake.

Between April and October, free nature discovery activities are offered by the Department of Haute-Savoie and its partners to meet around 350 plant species, 87 bird species, 29 butterfly species and 13 bat species that inhabit the area.

Painter, illustrator, illuminator, sculptor or even photographer: to discover the works of local and regional artists, head to this cultural space housed in a former agricultural unit from the 19th century. This is where, every summer (from the beginning of June to the end of September), local artists come to exhibit their works.

To discover in Yvoire’s surroundings

Very close to Yvoire, the village of Nernier (two kilometers away) is worth a detour! From the entrance to the village to the harbor and the castle, a romantic path pays tribute to the great romantic writers of the 19th century with frescoes and poems engraved in stone. Knowing that a few pages of the famous novel Frankenstein was written by the lake during a stay by Mary Shelley.

Push a little further and find, fifteen kilometers from Yvoire, the castles of Allinges, a must-see site in the Chablais UNESCO Global Geopark. Another nearby castle to see? Château de Ripaille, an old mansion from the late 13th or early 14th century located in Thonon-les-Bains.

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Another escape option? Twenty minutes by boat lies the charming town of Nyon, Switzerland, in the heart of the La Côte vineyard. From there, do not hesitate to reach Geneva for a day or two, to admire the breathtaking panoramas of Mont-Blanc, in particular.

The most beautiful villages in France are also to be discovered GEO Special Edition currently on newsstands.

Find more information about Yvoire in the official guide Les Plus Beaux Villages de France!

France’s most beautiful villages

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