Aubonne and the Castle
29 September 2022
The name Aubonne is derived from the Celtic word Albunna, meaning “white water”, because of the river’s wild character. The source of the Aubonne rises in the Jura mountains of the Monts de Bière.
The village’s history is linked to the castle. At the beginning of the 12th century, the region’s inhabitants sought protection at the foot of the castle. The castle was the residence of the Sires of Aubonne.
In 1234, a charter with the title “Franchises d’Aubonne” laid down the rights and duties of the lord and inhabitants of the town.
The Lords of Aubonne, the House of Savoy, the Lords of Grandson and the Count of Gruyère lived in the castle from the 12th to the 17th century. They rebuilt the original simple tower into a citadel and fortified castle.
The people of Aubonne lived without war for centuries, which may be called exceptional. Agriculture, viticulture and crafts sustained trade and the standard of living.
The arrival of Jean-Baptiste Tavernier (1605-1689), the diamond dealer of the King of France (Louis XIV) and great traveller, and Henri, Marquis Duquesne (1652-1722), eldest son of Louis XIV’s admiral, transformed the village into a dynamic centre. The famous round tower is a souvenir of Tavernier’s travels in the Orient. Duquesne built the courtyard with arcades.
These two Huguenots, exiles from France, turned the Château d’Aubonne into a comfortable and noble residence. From 1701, Aubonne became the seat of the bailiff of Bern until the French invasion in 1798. Protestant Bern had conquered Vaud in 1536.
Today, the castle on the hill is a beautiful complex overlooking the town with its picturesque streets.
The church is also an interesting monument. In the Middle Ages, the parish church stood in Trévelin, a kilometre away. However, Aubonne demolished the abandoned Catholic church in Trévelin in 1577 and used the materials to build the Protestant church (le temple) and its Gothic choir and wooden ceiling in the nave.
Source and further information: Commune d’Aubonne