Home    The Chillon Castle on Lake Geneva, Switzerland  9/28/2008  
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The most famous of all the 'residents' of the prisons of Chillon is undoubtedly François Bonivard, a Genevois monk and politician who was jailed there from 1532 to 1536 for inciting the people of Geneva to rebel against Savoy. Bonivard was chained to a pillar during the four years of his captivity and his pacing up and down the area to which his chain restricted him left an imprint on the stone floors of the dungeon. Bonivard's story caught Lord Byron's imagination when, together with Shelley, he visited the place in the summer of 1816. Bonivard thus became the hero of Byron's famous poem "The Prisoner of Chillon", written in the Hôtel d'Angleterre in Lausanne while the bad weather forced the two young men to remain indoors. The poet also left a trace and visitors to the castle can still see Byron's name etched on the third pillar of the dungeon. Together with Byron, other poets and writers, among whom Rousseau, Hugo and Dumas, have contributed to establish the castle as a romantic landmark.