t The enchanting Château de Chillon, nestled on the lakeside
Experience Western switzerland
Bordered by France, French-speaking western Switzerland is known as Suisse Romande, or Romandie. The region was settled by Gallic Celts, around 450 BC, and annexed by the Christianized Burgundians in the 5th century AD. The Burgudians’ language, customs and architecture were swiftly adoped throughout the region, and the French-Swiss cultural identity remains strong to this day. Although western Switzerland was taken over by the German Savoy in the 1100s, the French connection was such that the borderlands region of Vaud was placed under the protection of the governing body in Paris following the French Revolution. It was only in 1806 that Vaud become a canton of Switzerland, with Lausanne as its capital. With relatively easy countryside to navigate, western Switzerland has attracted those escaping European conflict. During the Protestant Reformation, refugees flooded Jura, setting in motion the country’s now world-famous watchmaking industry. During the two World Wars, the region again became a safe harbour for refugees who made it across Kilometre Zero at the France-Swiss border. Today these same sunny hillsides serve as a gateway into this winemaking region’s more mountainous landscapes.