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Chateau Menthon Saint Bernard

The first fortress was erected in the 10th century, around 923; it was originally a simple wooden guard post, built on a promontory dominating the ancient Roman road and Lake Annecy. The present buildings were constructed between the 13th and 19th centuries.

In the 11th century, in 1008, Bernard of Menthon - St Bernard, patron saint of skiers - was born in the castle. He later founded the hospice at the Great St Bernard Pass and abbeys in the high mountains.

From 1180, the castle was occupied by the Menthon family who still live there. The origin of the family is uncertain but they came from Burgundy and acquired a degree of feudal power. After their arrival, they constructed the three big square towers.

In the 15th century, Nicod de Menthon was ambassador to France of the Duke Amédée de Savoie, then Governor of Nice and admiral of the fleet sent by the Council of Florence to Constantinople.

During the Renaissance, the medieval fortress was transformed into a sumptuous residence, seat of the Barony of Menthon. Apartments took the place of the round walk between the towers and the Menthon family bought a large quantity of furniture.

The general appearance of the castle was unchanged until 1740, when several alterations were carried out to increase comfort. A suite of spacious light rooms was added onto the side facing the lake, comprising the dining room and the grand hall of 100 m² giving a view of the lake from its four windows.

In the 19th century, between 1860 and 1890, the castle was restyled (consolidation, raising of walls, adding of turrets, creation of a half-timbered gallery in the inner courtyard) by the count, René de Menthon, a fervent disciple of Viollet-le-Duc, who gave the château the appearance it has today.

François de Menthon, father of the present count, was a lawyer and member of the Resistance who represented France at the Nuremberg Trials. He worked for the creation of a united Europe and was Minister of Justice under De Gaulle.

Copyright: Thomas Humeau
Type: Spherical
Resolution: 7776x3888
Taken: 31/07/2008
Uploaded: 23/09/2009
Updated: 02/03/2015


Tags: chateau; menthon; saint; bernard; castle; savoie; french; alps; annecy; lake; mountain; france
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