Yvoire is a picturesque little medieval town in southeastern France located on the shore of Lake Geneva. The charming town looks more like a flower garden than a town with every possible balcony and window adorned with colorful fragrant flower pots. Yvoire is among the ‘Most Beautiful Villages in France‘.
On a visit to France, Paris definitely tops everyone’s list fascinated by the sparkling Iron Lady. The art museums and cafes of Paris are equally enticing but France has much more to offer. The rustic medieval villages with quaint and well-preserved bygone charm are sure to leave anyone in sheer awe.
Geneva to Yvoire
Based out of Geneva in Switzerland the lovely town of Yvoire was just an hour away. One can drive all the way to Yvoire or take a ferry from Nyon port which is a 15-minutes train ride away from Geneva. The weather was warm and bright so we decided to take a ferry to Yvoire hoping for some wonderful views of the lake.
A friend of ours also joined us on the trip. He is a crazy fan of playing online casinos games and so he insisted on visiting also Montreux town instead, which has a popular casino. He was skeptical of visiting a small town of Yvoire which didn’t seem very enticing to him, Montreux is around an hour by train from Nyon we convinced him to visit it after our Yvoire tour.
Also Read: Top Things to do in Geneva, Switzerland
Our journey back in time started as soon as we walked out of the station. A huge flea market was set up around the station which was jam-packed with people along with street musicians and hawkers. We made way through the crowd asking directions for the port. Soon we could spot a glimpse of blue belt hovering over the town roofs.
Tickets for the ferry can be bought at the port. We didn’t have to wait for long as the ferry arrived soon. It wasn’t much crowded still, all the passengers climbed onto the deck for views. We chose to stay down for it was easier to manage Chhavi. The seats were mostly unoccupied and Chhavi had it all to herself to run around.
As we sailed further the towers of whitewashed Nyon castle rising amidst the red-tiled roofs of the beautiful town of Nyon became more prominent. As the town of Nyon faded away in the distance we were surrounded by perpetual blue waters on all sides.
We cruised past several colorful windsurfers enjoying the warm sunshine. The lush green hills sloped down into dense tree line along the azure shore in the background. The vistas were awe-inspiring.
Soon we sighted a sprawling quaint town in the distance with a cluster of yachts at the shore and the medieval houses popping out of the green landscape. A fairytale town along a beautiful marina from a fantasy storybook had emerged out of nowhere.
The port was connected to the main square of the town through a wooden bridge decorated with the colorful flower boxes. Several yachts and fishing boats stood lined along the shore on one side of the walkway.
And on other stood a big Hotel ‘Restaurant du Port’ with its balconies and windows adorned with flower plants. There is a kiosk at the port where one can get information on key attractions of Yvoire.
A steep winding road from the restaurant connected to the center of the town. But we were more enthralled by the stone houses perched on a hill in front of us. We chose the way up to the hill through a flight of stairs that finally connected to the town center.
The town of Yvoire has some of the remarkably well-preserved stone houses some of which dates back to 14th-century. The adornment with flower plants on each of the houses left us spellbound.
Yvoire is a fortified town, which is evident from several of the gates and ramparts dating back to middle ages. The ramparts once the defensive walls safeguarding the town of Yvoire today make for the soul of the pretty town.
Church of St Pancras
The church of St Pancras is a major landmark of the village of Yvoire. The medieval church is said to be founded by monks of the Filly Abbey. The church is dedicated to St Pancras. The most striking feature of the church is the shiny stainless steel steeple with an onion-shaped dome in the Savoyard and Piedmontese style which houses two bells. Initially, the nave and the aisles were built with a flat ceiling in the 16th century and the steeple was added only in the 19th century.
The chancel of the church is the original church which dates back to the 14th century. The church interior has remarkable ceiling paintings in the nave depicting the martyrdom of St Pancras, frescoes illustrating the biblical scenes and remarkable stained-glass windows. The historical church has undergone several changes and renovations.
Garden of the Five Senses
Unfortunately, the entry to the garden had closed by the time we reached. The garden is situated in the former kitchen garden of the Yvoire castle. The garden houses a variety of plants and flowers that can stimulate the five senses. Exploring the garden would be fun especially for the kids as there is so much to learn from them. Colors, fragrance, textures and sounds and so much more make for a unique experience. Learn More here.
We had a couple of gelatos at the corner of the street of the garden of five senses and wandered exploring more of the quaint town. Yvoire has received several awards in horticulture and for a well-kept village.
The imposing 700-year-old castle of Yvoire dominates the town along the shore of the Lake. The castle tower was once a watchtower to guard the town of Yvoire. The castle is not open to the public.
The town center has several restaurants, cafes, boutique shops and art galleries where one can spend time marveling at the medieval architecture.
We sighted some of the exotic and vibrant blossoms all along the way through the alleys of Yvoire.
Like all beautiful stories come to an end so was our fairytale of Yvoire too.
We were so much smitten by the beauty of the town of Yvoire that we completely forgot about the visit to Montreux Casino. M was a bit disappointment. We promised for another trip soon to make it to the casino but for now, he had to satiate himself with the casino games on his mobile.
At Dusk, the winds turned chilly and rays of sun pierced the overcast sky to fall upon the brightly colored yachts. We relished the pleasant evening and heavy-heartedly bid farewell to the lovely town of Yvoire.
Have you been to Yvoire or any other beautiful village in France? Do share with us in comments.
Would you like to pin this post?