There are a plethora of guided tours on offer at Chillon Castle, but there’s one thing that is a guaranteed hit year after year: the costume. In our tour with a costumed guide, each guide wears a specific outfit, helping them bring to life a certain character through the clothing and accessories they wear, or through educational devices.
Samuel Metzener/ Translation Amy Reid
I play a 15th-century Dominican friar. I can take on the role of confessor, inquisitor, or anything in between – it all depends on my audience, their desires, and the seasons. The historical figure I most often portray is Ulrich de Torrenté, an inquisitor who oversaw the Pays de Vaud, Valais, Geneva and Franche-Comté regions, even as far as Lorraine.
The colours of my costume (see the photo of the scavenger hunt below), the materials it is made from, and the rosary beads and sandals I wear are a source of endless questions for our visitors. These inquisitive moments offer countless opportunities to flit between past and present.
I get to wear a rather charming woolen tunic. It keeps me cool during the summer heatwaves and, in winter, I only need to add a cape to stay nice and warm. The weight and thickness of it help me to really lean into my role, because they not only affect my posture, but also influence the speed of my speech and tone of my voice. This makes it an important immersion vehicle, not just for the castle visitors, but also for myself.
The other guides wear completely different clothing – for men or for women. You’ll come across great historical figures such as Duke Amadeus VIII of Savoy and his wife Mary of Burgundy, but also everyday people – servants, artisans or even the chef Master Chiquart – all of which reflects the diversity of medieval society in the late Middle Ages. The way these costumes make my colleagues feel is equally as varied; some find it helps them concentrate on the thread of the tour, to establish links with the rooms or the objects in them as you weave through the castle. They are also a way to keep the content fun and entertaining: a way of questioning our own habits as 21st-century folk.
The 2022 programme, put together by the Chillon team, is bursting with opportunities to spend some real quality time with our costumed tour guides. Whether you’re coming to Chillon as a family or going solo, as a passing tourist or a Chillon expert, our team is more than happy to suit your needs with tours for children and grown-ups alike.
In this ‘toddler’ tour, your little ones can compare medieval items with their modern-day equivalents, all through fascinating stories and anecdotes from a character straight out of the history books.
The Savoy family’s treasure has been stolen and is stashed somewhere in Chillon… Decipher the clues and solve the puzzles to uncover the perpetrator of this heinous crime, restoring honour to the castle and its inhabitants at last.
Cette alléchante visite guidée sur le thème de la nourriture permet de découvrir et questionner les pratiques alimentaires des gens du Moyen Âge. Cerise sur le gâteau, elle est suivie d’un repas d’inspiration médiévale au Café Byron.
Follow your guide to discover some of the more unusual aspects of everyday life in medieval times. Through this family-friendly, interactive tour, you’ll get a unique glimpse into food, hygiene, sleep and fashion in the Middle Ages.
We look forward to seeing you soon!