Besides the magnificent and world famous resorts in the Alps, and the city of Bern, Switzerland holds other intriguing and pleasant places to visit, like the small picturesque town of Villeneuve. Located at the confluence of the River Rhone in Lake Geneva, Villeneuve is the city where you cannot see significant cultural and historical landmarks, but in contrast, is an excellent place for a relaxing holiday near Lake Geneva.
The location of Villeneuve is the main reason for the tourist flow to the city. The town is located along the Rhone River, a major tributary of Lake Geneva. The river rises east of the lake, empties its waters in Villeneuve and ends in Lake Geneva.
The local Swiss canton is Vaud, and it meets Ile de Peilz. Villeneuve is in the mountain’s northwest edge on the lake known locally as Lac Léman, 5 km south of Montreux, on the base of the Alps.
Villeneuve exists as a settlement since the 13th century, and before it, in this place were earlier Celtic and Roman settlements. The only thing today, that is reminiscent of that time is the small Romanesque church of St-Paul.
At this point, in Villeneuve live about 4500 people. The town has easy access by train, by car or by water, sailing on Lake Geneva. In the Middle Ages, Villeneuve was an important transport station, playing a key role in road and waterway transport of goods between the Rhone Valley, Valais and Italy.
Tourist interest in the town and the surrounding area began in the first half of the 19th century, when the natural characteristics of Villeneuve caused people to call it the Vaud Riviera. The first hotel opened here in 1837. An additional plus for the charm of the town are the vineyards that grow along the eastern shore of the lake. Even today, one can see authentic homes of winegrowers, here since the 17th and 19th centuries.
The main city square of Villeneuve is known as the "Square Temple". On it is situated the medieval Romanesque church, which retains its original appearance since the 12th century, when it was erected. Near the railway station of the town, you can see the attractive facade of city hall - a square tower, with a beautiful stone arch. Once upon a time, the building was used for the hospital chapel.
One of the main attractions of Villeneuve is the medieval Chillon Castle. This beautiful castle stands on the shore of Lake Geneva, close to Montreux, unmoved for over 1000 years- it was built back in 1160
Great artists and writers such as Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Victor Hugo, Lord Byron drew inspiration for their work during their stay in this castle on Lake Geneva. If you want to, you can also ride a trolley line along the coast, between Villeneuve and Montreux. Built back in 1888, this is the oldest trolley in Switzerland.
One of the fun places for tourists in Villeneuve is Fun Planet – an entertainment complex with carting, bowling, billiards, various electronic games, a climbing wall, a playground, a disco, bars and restaurants, where you can try some specialties of the local cuisine.
Be sure to stroll through the streets of Villeneuve, to view the narrow houses which belong here with their old wooden gates that string along the main streets. Two Saturdays a month, the Place De La Gare flea market is held here, where you can find all sorts of old gadgets.
Villeneuve borders with Grangette Nature Reserve, a secular centre, notorious among ornithologists and bird lovers as a paradise for feathered creatures. Over 260 bird species can be seen in Villeneuve and near the Geneva lake and there are open areas for viewing, as well as a water basin in the hills. From these 260 species, 68 are nesting and 180 are migratory.