Yvoire - With it's 700 year old castle, ramparts and tower gates, (and a few Roman ruins) Yvoire is a great place to start a Europe dream trip or take a break from your vaction. This small scenic mediaeval village situated on the French shore of Lake Geneva (Lac Leman.) is 30 minutes by car and an hour by train/ferry from Geneva, Switzerland.
After the 17th century, Yvoire sunk into a period of lethargy as have many of my favorite "off the tourist map" places. As the country was changing around it, the town its self didn't. Today the traffic free old part of town, is a charming little lake side hamlet which still reflects its feudal past.
It isn't written up in most American guide books, --but seems to be well enjoyed by Europeans. It was a perfect locale for my daughter Lisa and I to start our "crowd avoiding" French adventure this past August. Our sightseeing highlight was the "sense-tantalizing" Jardin des Cinq Sens—the castle's former kitchen garden--restored in medieval style. Yvoire belongs to the Association of the Most Beautiful Villages of France (& shortest doors). In addition this delightful village has been awarded the coveted Grand Prix of national and international garden competitions.
From Geneva it is 30 minutes by car or bus and a little over an hour by a romantic boat ride. It has several hotels on and off the water front. We found les Flots Blues hotel--accross from the boat dock. It has reasonable prices and good restaurant. There are several "elegant" campsites in this area for those who like to "rough it" in Yvoire.
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