The many faces of Chillon #1 Numa

In 2024, we’d like to paint a picture of just some of the people who bring Chillon Castle to life. We’ll be taking a slightly quirky, offbeat peek behind the scenes of the fortress on Lake Geneva. So, ready to take a tour?

The first person to take up the mantle is Numa, our Surveillance, Maintenance and Security Manager.  Amongst many things, he manages the team of castle custodians.

Numa, head custodian, briefs a gardener on planting an oak tree

Hey Numa, what does a typical day as a chief custodian look like? How does your job differ to that of the other custodians?

I try to make sure that everything ALWAYS goes smoothly for EVERYONE. That’s what I’m all about. Every day, I arrive at the castle on time, I ask my colleagues how yesterday went, or the weekend if I was off. I check that everyone knows what they’re doing for the day.

My job is not all that different to that of my colleagues. I try to be as hands-on as I can, whether that means being around when we open, throughout the day or at closing time. That way, I can keep up to date on various existing or incoming issues that may arise in this beautiful building and stay close to my team.

Alongside all that, I take care of the admin side of things… emails, security, cross-departmental collaboration, etc.

What makes a good or a bad custodian here at Chillon?

Good custodians are still here in 2024, the bad ones left in 2023.

Numa in front of his desk at Chillon Castle

Anything particularly crazy that you’ve encountered recently?

This isn’t quite crazy or wild but… let’s go with ‘original’. A couple asked me to get the boat out to rescue… their 3-year-old son’s shoe, which he had just thrown out of a window into the lake. The answer was no, as the lake was a little choppy when they arrived, and the shoe had already floated over 20 metres from the castle walls.

If you had a magic wand, what is the ONE thing you would change about Chillon?

I would put solar panels on the roofs by the lakeside and on top of Café Byron. I’d want everyone to be outraged in 2024, but for them all to say it was a no-brainer come 2050.

Ok, last question, and watch out because it’s a tricky one… Are you team Savoy or team Bern?

I’m team Paris, I’d rather stay neutral.


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