DRONE FLIGHT OF THE
© Drone Média Concept (Léo Mammone)
& Imagine by Arnaud Lesueur
The Château de Menthon, which offers a breathtaking panorama of the surrounding deep woods, is one of the architecture jewels of the French Alps. It has been home to the same family for over a thousand years.
The Alps have always been natural ramparts, crisscrossed by strategic roads. The traces of a former road next to the château de Menthon that connects Geneva to Italy, namely through Dingy-Saint-Clair, Menthon and Faverges, might not be just a coincidence. The name of “Menthon”, which has Celtic origins, means “house on the rock”. A watchtower had first been erected in the place of the current castle, to watch this road and the boats on Lake Annecy.
Ever since its construction on a rocky-spur at the end of the 12th century, the Château de Menthon has evolved into what is now the legacy of a hundred-year history. Initially, three high square towers were built on the rock, as observation points: the Lake Tower, to keep a close eye on the lake, the village and the road connecting Annecy to Faverges; the Central Keep, to watch the Aravis valley; and the Armory Tower, overlooking the Bluffy pass and Dents de Lanfon. The inhabitants of the neighborhood came to take refuge in the court in time of war.
During the Renaissance, the austere château fort was transformed into a place of residence for the family of Menthon, and apartments were constructed instead of wall-walks. In 1740, a front wall was raised, giving magnificent views of the lake. But the biggest transformations of the castle were made in 1880, in times of great stability. René de Menthon, great grandfather of the current owner, restyled the entire castle. Known for his artistic, poetic and dreamy state of mind, he was a fervent disciple of the famous French architect Viollet-le-Duc, who restored great chef d’oeuvres from the Middle Ages. René de Menthon initiated major renovation projects with the support of the famous architect. By adding the beautiful slender turrets, he gave the castle its final charm and an overall romantic and mysterious appearance. The legend says that when Walt Disney was on holiday in the area he visited the castle, which gave him the inspiration for Sleeping Beauty Castle. Protected behind the high massive walls, the interior rooms have been very well preserved. They give precious details about the inhabitants’ daily lives within the château fort, which progressively became a wealthy seigneurial residence in Savoy.