Castle of Ripaille: Home of the Dukes of Savoy
By its grandeur, its charm, its memories, Ripaille is one of the most beautiful domains on the shores of Lake Geneva. In the Middle Ages, a semi-religious retreat of the first Duke of Savoy, Amédée VIII, in the 17th and 18th centuries, a Carthusian monastery, protected from the "century" by the high wall that still surrounds it today, in 1900 the property of a great industrialist and aesthete, Ripaille has always been a place where residents and visitors come to "recharge their batteries".
The visit of the site of Ripaille plunges the visitor in the time of the counts of Savoy in the XIIIth century and evokes the reign of the first Duke of Savoy, the great Amédée VIII and the history of the Carthusian monks, owners of the domain from the XVIIth century until the French Revolution. This fresco ends with the fabulous architectural adventure of the 1900 Restoration when the dream of a great Alsatian industrialist made Ripaille a total work of art! Since this year, the dining room of the Engel-Gros family and the kitchen of the castle are refurnished and put back in function, come and discover this unique reconstitution of the daily life in the Belle Epoque!
Beyond history, visiting Ripaille means discovering a preserved nature, an exceptional land and magnificent gardens between Dent d'Oche and Lake Geneva. Come for a visit, a professional or cultural event, a private party or to taste the Ripaille AOC wine produced on site.
The Castle is the seat of a Foundation, created in 1976, which works for the conversation, the valorization and the animation of this monument. The preservation of the environment is at the center of its concerns.
* The visit of Ripaille is for young and old, with:
- The Amédée room dedicated to the presentation of medieval Savoyard civilization through the presentation of stained glass windows, numismatics, and original manuscripts.
- The reconstitution of the old kitchen of the Château de Ripaille and the dining room of the Belle Epoque: kitchen utensils, original objects, tableware, come and discover the modernity of Ripaille with the automatic windows or the dumbwaiter linking the first floor to the second floor.
- The film "Ripaille through time" in a specially dedicated projection room recounting the history of the Château de Ripaille.
- The free visit of the castle: the castle can be visited freely from April to October and during school vacations, from Tuesday to Sunday, from 10 am to 6 pm (closing at 5 pm on Saturdays), with the help of a paper documentation and audio guides in French, English and German.
- A special tour for children: spend a convivial moment with your family and follow Aymonet Corviaux, carpenter, architect and builder of Ripaille in 1434, through the maze of the castle. This tour will take you from the large terrace with a panoramic view of the lake, to the old cellars and medieval moats.
- The "Workshops in a mess. Wednesdays at Ripaille": creative and educational workshops offered every Wednesday, according to the opening calendar of the Castle.
- A temporary exhibition renewed every year.
Guided tours provided by professional guides.
Services include both the visit and the tasting or the visit, tasting and meal. Many formulas are possible. The Fondation Ripaille will study all requests by email firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone 04 50 26 64 44.
Thonon-les-Bains, historical town and thermal resort, with its lakeside harbour, is an animated and cultural city where you will find many quality cultural sites such as Galerie de l’Etrave (contemporary center), the Lake and Fishing Ecomuseum or the Chablais museum. Thonon also includes the Château de Ripaille - important touristical and wine making area, former residence of the Dukes of Savoy - which offers an original combination of medieval architecture and 1900 style.
Inhabited since ancient times, Ripaille was claimed as a hunting area by the Counts of Savoy in the 13th century and became their preferred residence from the 14th century. In 1434, the first Duke of Savoy and future pope, Amédée VII., built the castle. Of its 7 original towers, only 4 remain today. Originally planned as spiritual retreat for the medieval “high society”, Ripaille became the vibrant cultural centre of Savoy, then a leading European state. It was known as meeting point and place of intellectual exchange for famous writers, musicians, and other artists with the nobility, even the emperor. After the Reformation Wars, Ripaille was transformed into a Carthusian convent, secluded from the outer world by its thick walls. After the French Revolution, General Dupas, a citizen of Evian, bought the mansion when retiring from the Napoleonian Wars.
In 1892, Frédéric Engel-Gros acquired the decaying ruins and, directed by famous architect Charles Schulé, the castle underwent a 10-year period of reconstruction and restoration resulting in the appearance it still has today. The side buildings were left as close to their original state as possible, whereas the badly damaged castle was completely renovated in a remarkable style mix of medieval and Art Nouveau elements. The castle was also conceived as a kind of “over-sized jewel case” for presenting Frédéric Engel-Gros’ famous collection of arts and crafts.
His descendants, the Necker-Engels, still own most of the Ripaille Mansion. In 1976 Mrs. Harold Necker-Engel set up the Ripaille Foundation in order to manage and preserve the historic heritage.
Thanks to a donation of Mrs. Harold Necker-Engel, the castle of Duke Amédée VII. of Savoy is since 1976 the seat of a Foundation of recognized public interest. The Ripaille Foundation’s purpose is to manage and preserve the historic, artistic and natural treasures of the Ripaille Mansion and to create a place to promote a better relationship between man and environment.
Following this track, the foundation hosts numerous cultural events such as exhibitions, concerts, and book fairs. There are also organized visits to the mansion, led by certified guides.
The situation of Ripaille Castle in the magnificent Lake Geneva region, the grand surroundings, and its easy accessibility by plane, train or car make the Foundation an ideal place for meetings, seminars, and receptions that will be appreciated by every guest.
Number of meeting rooms: 4. Maximum room capacity: 150. Minimum room capacity: 15. Number of rooms: 16. Maximum group size: 50.
- Guided individual tours
- Unguided group tours
- Guided group tours
- Unguided individual tours
- Lakeside or by stretch of water
- Thermal resort
- Lake view
- Town outskirts
- Close to a public transportation
- View over the vineyards
Reduced price: 8 € (upon presentation of a receipt)
Adult: 10 €
Teenager (7-15 years): 5 €
Audioguide: 3 €.
Free entry for children < 7 years.
Group rate available for > 20 people.
Family package: two adults and two children = 23€.
Modes de paiement
- American Express
- Bank/credit card
- Travellers Cheque
From 01/09 to 05/11/2023
Opening hours on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday between 10 am and 6 pm. On Saturday between 10 am and 5 pm.
Closed on Monday.
Last entries 1 hour before closing.
- Accessible for wheelchairs with assistance
Animaux acceptés : Non