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Château de Grandson (Grandson Castle)
Château de Grandson (Grandson Castle) Review
When the Burgundian Wars broke out in the late-15th century, the Château de Grandson, built in the 11th century and much rebuilt during the 13th and 15th centuries, was in the hands of Charles the Bold of Burgundy. In 1475 the Swiss won it by siege, but early the next year their garrison was surprised by Charles, and 418 of their men were captured and hanged from the apple trees in the castle orchard. A few days later the Swiss returned to Grandson and, after crushing the Burgundians, retaliated by stringing up their prisoners from the same apple trees. After being used for three centuries as a residence by the Bernese bailiffs, the castle was bought in 1875 by the de Blonay family, who restored it to its current impressive state, with high, massive walls and five cone turrets. Inside, you can see reproductions of Charles the Bold's Burgundian war tent and two jousting knights astride their horses—in full armor. There are also oubliettes (dungeon pits for prisoners held in perpetua), torture chambers, and a model of the Battle of Grandson, complete with a 20-minute slide show (in English if you get in quickly enough to push the right button). The dungeons now house an extensive vintage-car museum, displaying the prized beauties of Greta Garbo and Winston Churchill.
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