Fresh air, snowy peaks surrounding the lake and the sound of cowbells in the mountains, this is what awaits you in this beautiful corner of Switzerland. Only there for a short stay, we explored the area around Montreux.
The jazz festival, one of the greatest in the world, is no doubt the first thing you associate with Montreux. Miles Davis, Ray Charles, all the greats played there. And some even chose to live there for good, like Freddy Mercury, the late lead singer of Queen. The festival, in its 46th edition this year, takes place at almost the same time as the one in Montreal, at the very end of June.
The Grand Hôtel Suisse-Majestic offers a breathtaking view of the mountains surrounding Lake Geneva. Its terrace, where they serve a delicious breakfast, becomes a lounge, and then a restaurant so you can take full advantage of the view the whole day.
Since the hotel faces the train station, it is very easy to travel to nearby cities. In fact, the Swisspass allows you to ride the train, bus and boat throughout Switzerland. Since we were staying in the Montreux region, the hotel gave us a Montreux Riviera card that allowed us to travel freely in the surrounding area, and it also gave us a discounted rate for boat rides.
Taking the train towards Lausanne, we stopped in Vevey to visit The Alimentarium, a museum dedicated entirely to food. From farming to marketing, the museum’s permanent exhibition is all about the food chain.
From May 2012 to February 2013, the temporary exhibition, Collectionnez-moi, presents portraits and curios of eleven collectors of food items. It was at 11 years of age, in 1973, that Chistian Scheurer started collecting packets of sugar. Since he didn’t travel much, his friends brought them back for him from the four corners of the globe. His oldest packet dates back to 1920. Philippe Anginot has a particular affinity for cans of sardines, which he has collected by the hundreds. Fortunately, he made sure each can was clean before putting it on display!
Continuing on from Montreux, taking the train towards Rochers-de-Naye, you will find Glion. And not to be missed is the Hotel Victoria, a member of Relais & Châteaux since 1975. Its beautiful terrace, at a higher altitude than Montreux, gave us the opportunity to really stop and enjoy the moment. It had a refined menu featuring local wines and an utterly spectacular view.
At the Hostellerie de Caux, a little bit higher up, they serve an excellent cheese fondue in a typical Swiss décor. And making the trek back down to Glion on foot really can really help with digestion!
The morning of our last day in Montreux, we spent some time walking along the shores of the lake. Stopping for some delicious ice cream along the way, we then took the boat to gaze at the beautiful alpine scenery, a 2-hour tour that allowed us to soak in the landscape one last time before leaving.