A historic castle in Aigle, surrounded by vineyards and mountains, has been home to a Swiss museum of vine and wine since 1976.
On our way home from a lovely weekend in Champéry, we stopped in Aigle in the canton of Vaud and took a walk up to the castle. I had seen the impressive castle in photos many times before and was excited to finally be there in person. From the train station, it’s about a 15-minute walk through the Cloître neighborhood, with historic buildings, fountains and the Saint-Maurice church.
The Château d’Aigle has been rebuilt several times, but the oldest part of the castle dates back to the 12th century, and the castle has had different uses over the years. The Bernese captured the castle in 1475, and it was reclaimed by the town of Aigle after the Vaud revolution in 1798. During the 19th and 20th centuries, and before it became a museum, the castle served as the local courthouse, prison and poorhouse. You can learn about its unique history during your visit to the Musée de la Vigne et du Vin and the various halls and rooms within the castle.
At the museum, you will also see artifacts and tools related to wine production, marketing and consumption. My children enjoyed seeing the displays of the animals and insects found in this winegrowing region of Switzerland. One of the highlights for me was the fascinating short film about the Fête des Vignerons (Winegrowers festival), which takes place every 20 or so years in Vevey.
After you visit the museum, there are several restaurant options nearby. The closest is La Pinte du Paradis, which you will see immediately in front of you, as you exit the castle. We had our rowdy children with us, so we decided on a slightly less formal option just down the hill from the castle: Le Caveau du Cloître. The restaurant staff were extremely helpful and friendly. My husband and I had perch filets with pommes frites, while our children opted for the chicken nuggets, per usual. To accompany the fish, I had a glass of Chasselas, a light and dry white wine that’s typical of this region. Another more casual option, across the street from the Le Caveau du Cloître, is the Tavern du Château.
Fête du Chasselas 2016
At the Château d’Aigle, you can rent rooms for banquets, receptions, weddings and conferences. One of the biggest events hosted during the last five years at the castle is the Fête du Chasselas. In 2016, it will be held on Saturday, June 25 from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. For CHF 20, you will receive a tasting glass to sample around 200 different wines, including the premier wines selected as part of the Mondial du Chasselas 2016, held the day before the festival. This fee also includes admission to the Musée de la Vigne et du Vin at the castle. It’s a great opportunity to taste Chasselas wine and visit the museum at the same time.