A Perfect Winter ❆ Switzerland : Having Charlie Chaplin in Vevey
Special thank you to Jungfrau Railways (Top of Europe)
We were all warmly welcomed at Zurich International Airport despite the cold winter morning that my tropical acclimated physique was getting used to. Being whisked away on a Jungfrau Bus to our first stop the Modern Times Hotel in Vevey.
The only Swiss hotel dedicated to the beloved Charlie Chaplin with beautiful interior design theme from his movie “Modern Times”, nestled along the A9 highway to Vevey town, pleasant to the eye with mountainous backdrop. As we arrived at the hotel, a Charlie Chaplin statue beckons you to sit with him on the bench! This would be our first stop for the night.
Fizzles of excitement have begun, having forgotten the jet-lag tiredness which comes with long-haul flight from Malaysia and another three hours by road to reach Vevey. Lucky that the Jungfrau bus was comfortable as I managed to catch a few shut eye’s heading to Vevey!
Our host were very well organized! All our room keys were ready as we individually bundled up to our rooms to place our luggage, with a quick freshen-up and its out again to explore the beautiful old town of Vevey and the Swiss Riviera!
The reason to fall in ❤ with Vevey
Once the rest of crew are ready, we head out by foot a short-way to the nearest train station Château-d’Hauteville, which is only four (4) stops away, taking you 9 minutes only to the town Vevey.
Upon arrival we met Julia Tames from the Montreux-Vevey Tourism, who gave us an hour comprehensive tour around her beautiful town of Vevey, the French speaking side of Switzerland where Charlie Chaplin has affectionately call home for 25 years. We just missed the Vevey Farmer Market which takes place bi-weekly on Tuesday and Saturday at the Place du Marche, one of Europe’s biggest market square.
By passing the cluster of 19th century buildings and the Grenette building where the covered market takes place, has a clock tower which was built in 1808. Some of the lots in these 19th century buildings has been turned into boutique hotels, restaurants, trinket shops as well as finding a small but interesting Camera Museum squeezed in the middle, for those who are interested in photography it is a must visit.
We continued walking along, a deep blue tranquil sight greets my eyes, reaching the picturesque shores of Lake Geneva where just right across is France. Separated by the lake or Lac Leman as the locals call it, with temperature at 5 degree celsius one can see the graceful Swans gliding in the waters together with pert little ducks. Ohhh how I envy them . . . gliding and diving into the cold waters of Lake Geneva seemingly unaffected at all.
A dream come true in being able to rest my eyes upon the scenery which has graced many international magazine covers. Non-stop “clicking” my way through the shorelines, I came upon the statue sculpted by British sculptor Sir John Doubleday, Charlie Chaplin’s famous smile facing towards Lake Geneva, was erected on Quai Perdonnet in 1982, purchased by the city of Vevey in memory of Chaplin’s finest work The Tramp.
Looking out of place is the Guinness World Records of the world’s tallest fork erected in 2014 and one of the current top instagrammable spot of Vevey. Why the fork you ask?
Located behind Charlie Chaplin’s statue is the Alimentarium, nutritionist around the world might want to pay pilgrimage to as it is the first museum in the world devoted exclusively to nutrition by Nestle Foundation. The building belongs to the management headquarters of the Nestlé & Anglo-Swiss Condensed Milk Company in the year 1921, where the FMCG giant was first founded here in Vevey. The “Giant Fork” is an emblem of its history. Another museum nearby worth visiting is the Musée Jenisch dedicated to art on paper, with works by Dürer, Goya, Degas, Picasso and others.
Exploring old town of Vevey . . .
Time flies in the short few hours, discovering Vevey old town. Taking the Rue du Lac which leads to Vevey’s picturesque pedestrian area, walking the little narrow street and discovering hidden passageways as well as many unique artisan workshops, design boutiques and cafe is located. Everywhere one turn from restaurants and sandwich bar to Chocolatiers Läderach you can find Charlie Chaplin theme items and souvenirs. As Charlie Chaplin has grown to love this quaint town, the town has come to love him in-return by keeping his memories alive.
Heading back to freshen up for the evening with an introduction to Chaplin’s World . . .
Charlie Chaplin’s Hot Air-balloon unveiled
In keeping with the excitement on visiting “Manoir de Ban” the very place where Charlie Chaplin calls home, located just 10 minutes ride from the Modern Times hotel. The weather was getting visibly colder as the evening wane to night.
The beautiful white Manor with green window sills stood in the soft sunset light to the right and on the left is The Studio, both have been preserved and designed respectively as Chaplin’s World By Grevin the first and only museum dedicated to Charlie Chaplin. Gardens a trail of lights were installed to celebrate the Christmas spirit and the life of Chaplin … tonight would also be the inauguration of Charlie Chaplin’s Hot-air Balloon.
Upon stepping into the warmth of the Manor … a Christmas Tree greets all visitors and the staircase leading up to the family rooms. Snippets of Charlie Chaplin’s memoirs and the things he love best is displayed. We had the honour to have the opening speech by Kate Guyonvarch Managing Director of the Chaplin office, Jean-Pierre Pigeon the director of Chaplin’s World and last but not least Eugene Chaplin (the fifth son of Charlie Chaplin). The evening ended with wine, champagne and canapes while Charlie Chaplin’s Hot-air balloon fired-up in the wintery cold night sky. Casting a warm glow on the snow covered grass of Manoir de Ban.
The inauguration of Charlie Chaplin’s hot air balloon is in partnership between CornerCard. The hot-air balloon purpose is to create an iconic fun filled fairground atmosphere just as Chaplin would have cherished. Visitors to the museum will be able to enjoy ten-minute static flight, high above the Manoir de Ban during holidays and on special occasions with breathtaking panoramic view of the Alps and Lake Geneva.
Read More on A Perfect Winter ❆ Switzerland:
1) Welcome TO CHAPLIN’S WORLD by Grevin
2) PerfeKt winter at 3,454 feet on a fine Thursday
3) Heading up to Grindelwald-First (pronounce as ‘Fierst’)