Montag, 5. August 2013



This post is part of the SWISS segment of my Travel Picks and Tips from my recent visit to England, Ireland, Switzerland, Austria and Bavaria in the spring of 2013.  

Enjoy the adventure!

Other posts from the SWISS segment of my trip:


That afternoon, we drove  from the City of Geneva down the north side of Lake Geneva to discover Montreux.
Heart of the Swiss Riviera
Nestled picturesquely onto a peninsula reaching out into Lake Geneva, Montreux is considered the "heart" of the Swiss Riviera.
Because of the exceptionally mild climate, plants associated with the Mediterranean, such as pines, cypresses and palm trees flourish here.
Homage to the late Freddy Mercury
At the foothills of the Swiss Alps with vineyards rising all around,  Montreux exudes sophisticated relaxation that has attracted celebrities such as Freddie Mercury, Charlie Chaplin, Victor Hugo, Gandhi and other famous people of world-renown who have and continue to live here in this secluded serene sanctuary.

We walked a short way along the vibrant flower-bordered lake promenade which links Vevey and Montreux going all the way to the Castle of Chillon.

Cultural events, such as the Montreux Jazz Festival, as well as countless excursion options to the surrounding vinyards and the mountainous hinterland as well as boating trips on the lake make Montreux a sought out  excursion and holiday destination.

Tulips abound in the spring
I admired the many colourful flowers and houses along the lakeside road, including the magnificent Fairmont Le Montreux Palace, which dates from the heyday of the Belle Epoque.  

Montreux can be reached easily by car or train from Geneva and is well worth a visit whether for a relaxing Sunday afternoon outing or a week of calming relaxation amongst beautiful scenery and the quality of life it offers.

MONTREUX Canton Vaud, CH
Château de Chillon
A short drive or train ride from Montreux is probably one of the most picturesque, preserved Castles I have ever visited over my 25 years of exploring Europe: Château de Chillon.

Perched dramatically on a rocky outcrop separated from the shore by a natural moat, Chillon lorded over the two major Western European trade routes passing between Lake Geneva and the steeply rising Alps since the 11th Century.

Prior to the Castle being built, the same strategic location goes back to being fortified settlements as far back as Bronze Age settlers through to the Romans.

Gustave Courbet - Le château de Chillon
The romantic, dreamy beauty of Chillon rising majestically over Lake Geneva with the Alps as its backdrop has inspired artists and writers for centuries, to include Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Victor Hugo, Lord Byron, Delacroix and Courbet.
Eugène Delacroix, The Prisoner of Chillon -
inspired after the poem by Lord Byron

Old wooden trunk

Each room of the castle houses
beautifully preserved works of art, furniture and architecture going back through the centuries and tell the tales from three major periods of Swiss culture and history: the Savoy period (12th century to 1536), the Bernese period (1536-1798) and the Vaudois period (1798 to present).

Some of the treasures which can be seen at Chillon:
Period wall art

The Armory

The kitchen - what an oven!
The castle "loo"

Once the Castle Prison is now a Wine Cellar -
for wines currently produced from
the surrounding Vineyards
Being a wine aficionado myself, I was delighted to find out that Chillon Castle produces its own Grand Cru wine called Clos de Chillon. It is a white Vaud wine "Lavaux AOC" made from Chasselas grapes that are grown by the castle walls. 

By pure chance, they were holding a regional Wine Festival that afternoon/evening at Chillon and I got to meet the Wine makers and be serenaded by traditional Swiss Alpenhorns. It was truly a magical moment that could not have been planned. Aaaah the beauty of travel!

Part of a Wine Festival being celebrated at the Castle -
serenaded by Alpenhorns and meeting the Master of Ceremonies
Château de Chillon - Avenue de Chillon 21,  Veytaux, Tel. +41 21 966 89 10  

Château de Bovert
La Forclaz
Following an exciting day's exploration of Montreux and Chillon, we met up with one of my Swiss Craftsmen who had invited us to stay at his "holiday" Château near the tiny Alpine village of Forclaz -  off of the high mountain pass Col de la Forclaz.
It turns out that his "cottage" was built many centuries ago and was once a classic Swiss farmhouse/barn combination.
Château de Bovert
Herr Bovert and his wife have lovingly restored the ruin they had purchases and made it into a comfortable Alpine holiday home.
Warming fireplace - the center of the Chalet
Their  Château was completely off the grid, powered by solar energy with a septic tank and well water to boot. It was decorated in Swiss Alpine country antiques and felt truly like Heidi's grandfather's home from the famous Alpine fable.
Antique grape gathering basket from 
the vineyards -
worn on the back like a back pack
Antique Swiss
Milking Stool

Antique Swiss Treicheln next to
Herr Bovert's summiting
of the Matterhorn
That evening we dined by candlelight Swiss farmhouse style on mouthwatering Spargel (Asparagus) with hollandaise sauce, country cured hams, fresh baguettes and local wines.
Swiss Country-style Dinner

After dinner, Herr Bovert broke out his Apenhorn, which we all took turns playing on his patio overlooking the misty valley below. I must say, I quite enjoyed playing it, having been a classically trained trombonist in my youth - it was not much different! 
Playing the Alpenhorn
The Alpenhorn echoed over the misty Valley below the chalet - Alpenhorns were after all invented to communicate between remote Alpine valleys when there were no church bells to ring. The whole experience was magical.
View from the Château
All good things must come to an was our fairytale stay in this beautiful remote Swiss Château.

Belle with her owner
When we were finally leaving Forclaz, we encountered a REAL working Bernese Mountain Dog with her Swiss farmer owner. Her name was Belle and she was such a love!

Katharine making friends with "Belle"

Other posts from the SWISS segment of my trip:
Also see ENGLAND:  London, OxfordChester / IRELAND GalwayDingle

AUSTRIA: Tyrolean Alpbachtal


Check out all pictures of my trip on

ME! In a pre-historic
Irish Bee Hive Hut
Life is a book, and those who don't travel read only one page."
I wish to enlighten and share my recommendations with those who wish to travel to the parts of the world on which I write.

Enjoy your visit to Switzerland and please don't hesitate to contact me with any questions when planning your own trip to England, Ireland or Europe!

After living in and travelling to Europe for almost 30 years, I love to help and recommend as and when I can!
You won't be disappointed when booking any of my chosen favourites. Guaranteed!

Read a little bit more about me and my travel style HERE

Enjoy the adventure!
Mary Dawn DeBriae
European Tips and Picks
Alpen Schatz Style
Spring Euro Trip 2013

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