Four courtyards lead on from the entrance of the castle, beginning with the lower courtyard, which must have been the busiest, up to the Castellan’s courtyard, the Courtyard of Honor, reserved for the use of the counts, later dukes of Savoy and their retinue, and finally to the curtain-wall courtyard.
The first courtyard was surrounded by castle services. Originally, this courtyard was not so large; it was onl laid out as it is today after an earthquake in 1584.
The passageway between the fisrt and the second courtyard was much narrower originally. It was enlarged in 1836 to allow canons to pass through. In Middle Ages the castle administrator, a Savoy officer known as the castellan or constable, lived in the buildings around the courtyard. The keep built at the center of the fortification in the 11th century is the oldest building still visible today in Chillon,.
The third courtyard, known as the courtyard of honour, was surrounded by the private apartments of the Savoy family.
Finally, the fourth courtyard, known as the curtain-wall courtyard, was entirely designed to defend and control the old road: thick walls, narrow openings (loopholes and embrasures, for example) and defensive architecture such as hoardings, machicolations and the glacis or defensive apron slope.
Today, these areas are regularly used for performances and events.