On the Swiss side of Lake Geneva, from Lausanne to Montreux, the Lake Geneva Region (Canton of Vaud) offers a wide range of landscapes allowing leisurely strolls, pure enjoyment, discovering and tasting – even more so in the late summer, which was the time I decided to return this year, after a wonderful Christmas break last year. With everything the region has to offer, one can easily understand why celebrity visitors also fell in love: Charlie Chaplin with Vevey, Freddie Mercury with Montreux, Coco Chanel with Lausanne and Audrey Hepburn with Morges. But let’s focus on today, and let me offer you a few recommendations on my favorite spots for a Swiss escape to the Lake Geneva Region.
First things first: the lake
In my opinion the jewel of the Canton of Vaud if there was only one to pick, is Lake Geneva. The largest lake of Europe is simply sublime and mesmerizing, whatever the weather – and has something to offer to everyone on the Riviera, especially in the summertime with the microclimate that gives it a Mediterranean feel. The setting is perfect to enjoy “Dolce Riviera” – until early to late October !: wooden decks are strategically located in different cities such as Montreux and Vevey, offering outstanding access to the water for those who love swimming, or simply chilling out. The terraces also offer direct access to hotspots such as KJU in Vevey: a restaurant, bar and club in a former 18th century boathouse. Their inspiring menu includes delicious tartare steaks. All those activities can be enjoyed with the imposing Alps as a background.
The lake is also known for the many cruises it offers. The CGN company preserves and operates the most prestigious Belle Epoque fleet of the world, including La Suisse: commissioned in 1910 and fully renovated in 2009, the CGN flagship has been described as the most beautiful steam boat in the world, with the restoration work on its first and second class lounges making them real masterpieces. La Suisse’s first class restaurant is the perfect setting for a gourmet lunch cruise catered by Café Léman, while taking in the stunning views the lake offers. A truly “Lemanian» and Swiss restaurant, Café Léman serves products exclusively from and around the lake and Switzerland. After your lunch, you will be able to relax in one of the boat’s lounge chairs and savour the beauty of a unique panorama.
Five star stay in Vevey
There are many options to choose from as to where to stay while on the Montreux Riviera in order to explore the Lake Geneva Region. Vevey is one of them. A treasure of the Swiss Riviera, the city can be considered as a charming village, with the assets of a big city – and among those assets, its prestigious hotels are to die for. If you should choose one, it should be l’Hôtel des Trois Couronnes: a peaceful haven that combines beauty, relaxation and discovery… No wonder it has been the hotel of choice over its history for famous musicians, writers, composers, movie stars and royalty – the Empress of Russia, Alexandra Feodorovna, Queen Olga of Greece, Princess Marie-‐Louise of England and King Ibn of Saudia Arabia to name a few.
Alimentarium: founded by Nestlé and featuring a delightful selection of exhibitions, interactive presentations, and cooking workshops, the Alimentarium invites all of us to take another look at an essential activity: eating.
Wine tasting in Lavaux
After admiring them from every angle while enjoying your gourmet cruise aboard La Suisse, you will have to explore the terraced vineyards of Lavaux and its charming villages, listed since 2007 as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Among them, Chexbres is home to Domaine Bovy: there, you can opt for a tasting of the Bovy family’s great wines along witha winegrower’s board (cheeses and cold meats), to be enjoyed on the veranda. A fantastic location that opens onto the great spectacle of the terraced vineyards of Lavaux, with views stretching across the lake to the Alps.
To organize you trip to the Canton of Vaud, please visit www.lake-geneva-region.ch.