La Tour-de-Peilz, Canton of Vaud, Switzerland

La Tour-de-Peilz is a town and municipality in Switzerland in the canton of Vaud. Located in the heart of the Vaud Riviera, La Tour-de-Peilz is a town of nearly 12,000 inhabitants leaning against the Prealps, with its feet in the water. It benefits from a privileged environment and offers its inhabitants a rich range of sports, social and cultural activities. The territory of the municipality, which spreads out between lake and vineyard, alternates residential areas, downtown, historic town and denser districts in a harmonious whole. Benefiting from first-class infrastructure, La Tour-de-Peilz also occupies an enviable position between its two neighbors community, Vevey and Montreux.

The city also conceals some regional heritage treasures, such as its castle, located near the Port and which now houses the Swiss Museum of Games. This Port, precisely, is a real gem, both a place of relaxation and meeting, facing the Dents-du-Midi. The painter Gustave Courbet, who lived in the immediate vicinity between 1874 and 1877 would not say the opposite. From there, a quay lined with hundred-year-old trees, the Quai Roussy, leads the walker to Vevey, beyond the Oyonne, this border “river”. At the other end of the city, the Maladaire beach, and its stream of the same name, mark the beginning of Montreux territory. Further north, the landscape is almost rustic and the vines are sovereign.

La Tour-de-Peilz is located at 385m above sea level, 1.5 km southeast of the district capital Vevey (air line). The city extends on the north-eastern shore of Lake Geneva, also known as the Riviera vaudoise, and on the adjacent slopes, at the foot of the Les Pléiades mountain, in the tourist region of Vevey-Montreux. The area of the 3.3 km² municipal area comprises a section on the north-eastern shore of Lake Geneva (around 3 km of the lakeshore line). The La Becque peninsula juts out into the lake to the south of the old town. The community soil extends from the lakeshore over a relatively flat edge of the bank to the gently sloping slopes below Blonay. On the terrace of Villard is 506m above sea level. the highest point of La Tour-de-Peilz reached.

La Tour-de-Peilz includes the former hamlet of Burier (390 m above sea level) and several wineries. The neighboring municipalities of La Tour-de-Peilz are Montreux, Blonay, Saint-Légier-La Chiésaz and Vevey. The area is bounded in the southeast by the Burier stream, in the northeast by the A9 motorway and in the north by the Ognona stream. The Crêt Richard (486 m above sea level M.) north of the Ognona still belongs to La Tour-de-Peilz. In 1997, 61% of the municipal area was in settlements, 4% in forests and woodlands, 34% in agriculture and a little less than 1% was unproductive land.

La Tour-de-Peilz has a long history. Gauls, Romans and Burgundians passed there, leaving some vestiges and burials, as in Clos-d’Aubonne. Later, the Counts of Savoy delivered to the city its first letters of franchise in 1282. If the Savoyard era had its happy years, it also had its dark hours. In 1476, the mountain people of Haut-Simmental, under the orders of a Bernese aristocrat, massacred the population there and set fire to the town. This episode was probably the most painful in the history of the Boélands. Today’s Boélands give life to a city that aims to be welcoming, serene and convivial.

The area of La Tour-de-Peilz belonged in the 12th century to the Bishop of Sion, who enfeoffed the Counts of Geneva. They had the fortification tower built and the fiefdom administered by a family of servants who took the name of the place. In 1251 Peter of Savoy first took part and later the whole area. Count Philip of Savoy gave the place city rights in 1282. La Tour-de-Peilz was one of the most important trading ports on Lake Geneva and an important transshipment point from ship to land transport. As a result, the city achieved a certain level of prosperity early on. On June 8th 1476 the town and the castle were sacked by the Bernese.

The soil of La Tour-de-Peilz has yielded Celtic, Roman and Burgundian remains. We can trace the origin of the first dwellings to Becque. By the middle of the XII century, this area depends on the bishop of Zion, who gave it in fief to the counts of Genevois. The latter subjugate the northern part to the Lords of Fruence, and the southern part to ministerial officials who take the name of La Tour (first mentioned in 1160). The Treaty of Burier [ archive ] is signed there inJuly 3, 1219establishing the presence of the House of Savoy in the Pays de Vaud. Around 1250, Pierre II of Savoy acquired the castle and its territory. His successor, Count Philippe I of Savoy, founded there in 1282 a new city with franchises, confirmed in 1288 by his successor Amédée V. To strengthen his position, he started an expansion of the castle (1282-1288) and contributed to the construction of an urban wall (from 1284 in wood, 1288 in masonry).

As part of the Burgundy Wars theJune 8, 1476, the city is taken and plundered by the Confederate troops. With the conquest of Vaud by Bern in 1536, La Tour-de-Peilz came under the administration of the Bailiwick of Vevey. After the collapse of the Ancien Régime, the city belonged to the canton of Léman from 1798 to 1803 during the Helvetic Republic, which then became part of the canton of Vaud when the mediation constitution came into force. In 1798 the city was assigned to the district of Vevey. Thanks to its location on the Vaudois Riviera between Vevey and Montreux, La Tour-de-Peilz also experienced an economic boom at the end of the 19th century and the city developed into a tourist destination.

Until the end of the 19th century, La Tour-de-Peilz was a farming and wine-growing town. At the beginning of the 20th century, thanks to its mild climate and attractive location on Lake Geneva, it developed into a resort and holiday destination. At the same time, it became a preferred residential suburb of Vevey.

Today the city offers around 2500 jobs. Of this, around 4% are assigned to the primary sector, 11% to the industrial sector and 85% to the service sector (as of 2001). On the southern slopes of the terrace of Villard and Crêt Richard as well as between the upper residential areas of La Tour-de-Peilz, viticulture is practiced on numerous disconnected areas. The fertile soil and the favorable climate are also suitable for agriculture and vegetable growing.

The city has a number of commercial and trading companies, including the horticultural specialist Brunner Frères, the Société de gestion EVGE SA and laboratories and offices of Nestlé AG. The industry is heavily geared towards tourism. La Tour-de-Peilz is also the location of the Center d’enseignement secondaire supérieur de l’est vaudois (a school and education center), as well as numerous other schools.

In the last few decades, La Tour-de-Peilz has developed into a residential community with extensive residential and single-family quarters. Many employees commute to work in Vevey, Montreux or Lausanne.

The core of the reformed parish church of Saint-Théodule dates from the 14th century, but was remodeled between 1792 and 1796. The church tower used to be the city gate. Furthermore, part of the former city wall from the 13th century is integrated into the church and today forms the north wall of the nave and the sacristy; the glass windows were made in the 1960s. The fountain of freedom (Fontaine de la liberté) stands in front of the church.

La Tour-de-Peilz Castle was built in 1251–1257 under Peter of Savoy. It stands directly on the lake shore, on the north side of the former trading port. After its destruction by the Confederates, the castle remained in ruins for a long time and was not repaired until the middle of the 18th century. It was acquired by the municipality of La Tour-de-Peilz in 1979, has been a listed building with its two round towers, the surrounding wall and the residential wing since 1973 and houses the Swiss Game Museum.

The Hugonin House, a former manor house, which today houses the municipal administration, dates mainly from the 18th century. Sully Castle (built in 1882), currently owned by Shania Twain, stands on a hill near the lake. On the slope above La Tour-de-Peilz is the Domaine de la Doges manor house (named after the Doges family), which was built in 1711. In the garden there is a tower that is probably older than the country estate and used to be a watch and signal tower or a windmill.

The British writer Bryher, her partner, the poet HD (Hilda Doolittle) and Bryher’s husband, the writer Kenneth Macpherson lived from 1929 in the Villa Kenwin, Chemin de Vallon 19, built by Alexander Ferenczy and Hermann Henselmann in the Bauhaus style, which is an ideal There should be space for living and working, for creative work, concerts and parties.

The wreck of the Hirondelle in front of La Tour-de-Peilz lies at around 40 to 60 meters below the surface of the water. The paddle steamer sank after it hit a rock formation on June 10, 1862. Today the wreck is a popular destination for wreck divers.

Historical heritage

Castle of La Tour-de-Peilz.
Villa Karma in Burier
Domaine de Burier, mansion
Domaine de La Doges, Mansion with its countryside, its tower, its entrance pavilions and its park, today the headquarters of the Vaud section of Swiss Heritage.
The Villa Kenwin, cultural Switzerland of national importance.

Cultural properties of regional importance

Château de la Becque with stable
Sully castle
Saint-Théodule church, today a Protestant temple
Residential complex of Bellaria
La Faraz. Mansion and its park
Residence Rive-Reine with annex
Villa Ma Maison with park and outbuilding

Church of La Tour-de-Peilz
Bell tower with an elegant stone spire, a type common in the region between Villette and the top of the Rhône valley, as well as in the Aosta valley and the French Alps. Clear and vast nave in the Protestant spirit, with galleries with colonnades superimposed on three sides, a very elaborate architectural feature found in the temple of Morges and the church of Gimel, inspired by the prestigious example of the temple of Fusterie in Geneva (1713 1715). The Saint Théodule chapel does not seem to be mentioned until 1307, contrary to what has often been written. It leans against the north wall of the medieval enclosure, a door of which was recovered for the bell tower; this one has retained its public passage as a bell tower. The church was assigned to Protestant worship from 1536. La Tour de Peilz only became an independent parish in 1783.

Beginning of the 14th century: choir and structural work of the nave. 14th or 15th century: bell tower with spire can be modified in the 17th century. 1740: drilling of the four large semicircular bays of the south facade of the nave, and probably also those to the north, modified in 1961; western gallery, completed in 1750. 1792-1796: new framework, galleries, ceiling, archive room; reconstruction of the western portal and new north door, dated 1793 on its key. 1740: Pierre Bole, mason architect of La Tour de Peilz; carpenter Abram de la Chaux; then in 1750 carpenter Moïse Nicole. 1792-1796: project by the secretary of the City Council, taken over by the mason-entrepreneur Jacob Gunthert; masons Frédéric and Jacob Gunthert, brothers; carpenter Vincent Franel.

Rectangular nave extended to the east by a narrower choir, with a flat vaulted apse in a broken cradle. To the west, a steeple with a stone spire with an octagonal plan fitted with small slender dormers; stage of bells pierced on each face of a bay in a broken arch in tracery tuff, with support underlined by a cord. Western gate in basket handle, with concave splay decorated with bosses. Large semicircular windows illuminating the interior of the nave. On three sides, gallery with superimposed Tuscan columns. Wooden ceiling covered with plaster, a type common in new buildings of this period, vaulted on the central aisle and flat on the galleries.

Chair from 1710, by Jean Baptiste Lemp, from Vevey, with baroque-inspired twisted columns at the corners. Communion table from 1734, bearing the inscription “La Table du Seigneur”. Four very sober stalls in the choir, possibly from the 18th century. For the rest, furniture renewed in 1900 and 1961. Organ from 1991, by the Lausanne organ factory Jean François Mingot; buffet by the cabinetmaker Andersson SA, in Vevey.

Stained glass from 1961/1962/1967, designed by the painter Jean Pierre Kaiser and executed by the glassmaker Robert Schmit, from Lausanne. In 1845, to replace two old ones, three bells were made by the Treboux foundry in Corsier-près-Vevey. Restorations in 1900 (interior, with advancement of the organ gallery); 1961 (return to a more medieval aspect by releasing the choir: removal of the eastern span of the galleries and relocation of the pulpit; transformation of the axial window into Gothic style, etc.).


The castle of La Tour-de-Peilz and The Swiss Museum of Games
Built in the 13th century by the Counts of Savoy, the Château de La Tour-de-Peilz served as a defensive retreat, a monitoring post for lake traffic on Lake Geneva and a customs office. Ravaged during the Burgundy Wars in 1476, it was acquired and rebuilt in 1747 by Jean Grésier, French from Guadeloupe. The Château, which remained in private hands, was bought in 1979 by the municipality of La Tour-de-Peilz following a popular vote. The two corner towers, the enclosure, the ramparts and the ditches were classified as historical monuments in 1973. In 1987, the Swiss Museum of Games was inaugurated. It occupies the upper floor and the attic of the Château. The rooms on the ground floor host various events. Designed by Michel Etter. From its foundation, it was supported by the Association of Friends of the Museum and in 2004 a Foundation was created. Until 2017, no less than 27 temporary exhibitions followed one another. The Museum has not lost its place as the only museum devoted to the cultural history of games in Switzerland. It now enjoys international influence.

Gustave Courbet museum
The bicentenary of the birth of the French painter and sculptor Gustave Courbet (1819-1877) is celebrated in 2019. The city decided to create a thematic route “Gustave Courbet” in the city, which would retrace, among other things, the painter’s last years, those he spent at La Tour-de-Peilz, from 1874 to his death in 1877. This open-air museum, which combines the display of works with new technologies, offers a striking discovery of the places frequented by the painter in the city.

Natural space

Parks and gardens
The Parks and Gardens Sector comes under the Urban Planning and Public Works Department. It is made up of 17 people including 4 apprentice flower growers and landscapers. The Sector takes care, among other things, of the maintenance and embellishment of parks and municipal green areas, 8 playgrounds, 2 sports fields and the cemetery. It strives to improve the biodiversity of municipal plots and implements various means to reduce the use of synthetic products.

Maladaire beach and campsite
Located on the shores of Lake Geneva, at the exit of La Tour-de-Peilz, towards Montreux, the beach and the campsite are in an idyllic setting, with a breathtaking view of Savoie. The campsite can accommodate tents and caravans in a friendly atmosphere. However, it should be noted that the campsite is surrounded by the public beach of La Maladaire which is open 24 hours a day.

The port offers 259 berths in the water and 41 berths on land. It is considered one of the most beautiful in Lake Geneva by sailors and visitors.