Le château de Colombier. Photo/Foto: TES.

Colombier Castle

After the Romans occupied the area of present-day Switzerland and Vaud around 13 B.C., the so-called romanisation took shape within two generations. In the 1st century A.D., a large Roman villa was built on the present site of the castle of Colombier. This Roman villa of about 5 000 m2 had a courtyard surrounded by a colonnade (peristyle) that corresponds with the courtyard of the castle. In the 11th century, the lords of Colombier built the first castle on the site of the villa. After several new owners, the castle came into the possession of the French (royal) family D’Orléans Longueville in the sixteenth century, who until 1706 also owned Neuchâtel. In the sixteenth century, the castle was completely rebuilt, as the castle can still be seen today. From 1706-1806 the castle was owned by the king of Prussia, who had to hand it over in 1806 to Marshal Berthier, a confidant of Napoleon. After his defeat, the Prussian king retook possession of the castle in 1815, until 1848, when the canton of Neuchâtel became the owner and turned it into military barracks. The castle now also houses a museum.