Only a few hundred people live in Yvoire, but the small village on the southern shores of Lake Geneva has a lot to offer.

It even enjoys the reputation of being one of the prettiest places in all of France - thanks to its medieval buildings, the unusually scenic view of the lake and its countless flowers which in the summer months decorate many of the town's houses.

Yvoire is no longer a secret tip. On the contrary, many visitors who have set up their quarters nearby either in France or Switzerland, come to the town. And for many vacationers travelling southwards, Yvoire is an ideal stopping-off point.

During some days of the main season the parking lots near the town center are filled up, while excursion boats bring in loads of tourists from across the lake.

Now, in autumn, the atmosphere is tangibly quieter and the visitors are no longer tripping over each others' feet.

For a tour around the town, one should set aside a bit of time. Many shops will be selling the usual tourist souvenirs ranging from coffee mugs to lapel pins.

But there are also a number of galleries offering paintings, sculptures and all kinds of hand-made artifacts, while in other shops there are high-quality porcelain items and clothing.

Those who during their stroll through the streets happen to look up will discover the entire glory of the flowers decorating the houses.

The grey of the natural stone of which the houses are built lets the riot of reds shine even more brightly.

Yvoire's gastronomy scene is a modest one, but on the road along the lakeshore visitors have a number of opportunities to find top-level cuisine.

Those seeking a bit of luxury will find what they are looking for in Evian-les-Bains, about a half-hour drive to the east. There, at the home of the world-famous mineral water of the same name, there is to this day the summer-residence flair of the nobility and upper classes.

In Yvoire the path quickly leads down to the shore, where in a small harbour yachts are bobbing in the water and a few fishermen are defending their space against all the tourists.

What is left of an erstwhile castle is quickly circled and leads to the docks for the excursion boats.

It can be crowded on the boats and there really isn't that much to see. So one quickly climbs the hill back up to town for a stroll again through the narrow streets.

They lead to a small, tree-lined square located in front of a pretty church, dedicated to St Pankratius and its construction dating back to the 11th century.

Just why precisely at the tip of the Leman Peninsula a strongly-fortified town was built back in the Middle Ages is easily explained.

The location on the transit point between the larger and smaller part of Lake Geneva was an ideal one for the ruler to secure his claim to power.

And so there evolved at the start of the 14th century a formidable fortification.

Over the course of time the ownership and power equations would change, and a few hundred years later the town sank back into military insignificance.

The historical architecture survived over time, until modern-day tourism after World War II woke Yvoire up from its slumber and lent it new importance again.

出自China Daily