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The symbol of the «world’s smallest metropolis» is the “Jet d’eau” – a fountain with a 140-metre-high water jet at the periphery of Lake Geneva. Most of the large hotels and many restaurants are situated on the right-hand shore of the lake. The old town, the heart of Geneva with the shopping and business quarter, holds sway over the left-hand shore. It is dominated by St.Peter’s Cathedral, however the actual centre of the old town is the Place du Bourg-de-Four, which is theoldest square in the city. Quays, lakeside promenades, countless parks, lively side streets in the old town and elegant shops invite guests to stroll. One of the best-maintained streets is the Grand-Rue, where Jean-Jacques Rousseau was born. The «mouettes», a type of water taxi, enable crossings to be made from one lakeshore to the other, while larger vessels invite visitors to enjoy cruises on Lake Geneva.
Activities and Tours
Patek Philippe Museum
The museum has welcomed visitors to its location in the heart of the Plainpalais district since 2001. Its wonderful collection of Genevese, Swiss and European watches and enamel works dating from the 16th to the 19th centuries lead visitors on a discovery tour through the origins of timekeeping. These historical collections are documented in the museum’s own library, which is primarily dedicated to watches, musical automata and enamel miniatures, as well as the valuable timepieces created by the Geneva-based company since it was founded in 1839.
This TukTuk fondue tour is not just a tasting, but a real experience that allows you to (re)discover Geneva’s most beautiful places while enjoying one of the best fondues.
Aboard our 100% electric TukTuk, you’ll see Geneva in a whole new light, as the itinerary is totally customizable: Old Town, Carouge, Lakeside, International Geneva. Our drivers will be delighted to tell you anecdotes about Geneva if you wish.
The setting of Lausanne is extremely picturesque: it is hardly surprising that the International Olympic Committee has been based here since 1914. The town is built on three hills, surrounded by vineyard-covered slopes, with Lake Geneva at its feet. Rising impressively from the opposing French lakeshore are the Savoy Alps. The attractive old town is largely car-free. Small alleyways with cafes and boutiques shape the streetscape in the medieval city centre.
The old town is dominated by the cathedral, which is regarded as Switzerland’s most impressive piece of early Gothic architecture. Lausanne was a diocesan town for over a thousand years. can be found surrounding the cathedral as well as in the pretty waterfront area of Ouchy. Switzerland’s only «metro» connects the various parts of the town and eases travel in this incline-based town.
Activities and Tours
The Olympic Museum
To experience the Olympics at close quarters and feel the Olympic spirit the way the athletes felt it, to study the history of the Games from antiquity to today – thanks to the latest computer technology and audiovisual media, all of this can be accomplished in the Olympic Museum in Lausanne.
This 830-hectare terraced vineyard located on the vertiginous shores of Lake Geneva between Montreux and Lausanne offers one of the most stunning panoramas in the world. The vineyard terrain, with its steep slopes, has a characteristic identity that renders the wines of Lavaux unique thanks to their very typical character which is discernible to the taster through long-lasting, powerful and harmonious aromas and flavours. The king of Lavaux, the Chasselas, is a typically Swiss white grape variety.
Wine tasting in Lavaux
It’s no surprise that Charlie Chaplin chose to spend his last 25 years on the hills of Vevey, that Freddie Mercury immortalised Lake Geneva with the peaks of Le Grammont on the cover of the album “Made in Heaven”, that Igor Stravinski composed “The Rite of Spring” in Montreux, or that Prince declared his love for Lavaux in a song named after the famous terraced vineyard, which is also a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Montreux Riviera is a land of contrasts. It’s a kind of miniature Switzerland where visitors and locals have been living together for three centuries. The region is especially rich in cultural events, including the unmissable Montreux Jazz Festival, and boasts some of the best hotel schools and private clinics in the world. It is also a business hub with infrastructure that is perfectly suited to organising international conferences.
Activities and Tours
One could well proclaim that movies such as “Limelight”, “The Great Dictator” or “Modern Times” form the cultural canon of the 20th century. Equally as famous is the protagonist Sir Charles Spencer Chaplin. The London-born comedian spent the last 25 years of his life on the sunny plateau above Vevey.
As of spring 2016 his “Manoir de Ban” estate is open to the public. The mansion and the 14-hectare park with unobstructed views of the Lac Léman provide insight into everyday life of the Chaplins. And in the newly built exhibition hall, the artistic creations of the director and actor staged with most modern museum didactic in the form of original film decors, a section room and a multi-media theater are the makings of a highly entertaining Charlie Chaplin experience.
Chillon Castle is located on a rock on the banks of Lake Geneva. The water castle is the most visited historic building in Switzerland. For nearly four centuries Chillon was the residence and profitable toll station of the Counts of Savoy.
The rock island between Lake Geneva and the steep looming mountains was inhabited even in prehistoric times. For hundreds of years the passage of ships on Lake Geneva and the important land route to the St. Bernhard Pass was controlled from this island. Chillon belonged to the Counts of Savoy from the 12th to the 16th century, then the inhabitants of Bern conquered the water castle, and subsequently the inhabitants of Vaud prevailed.
A visit to the fortified 13th century Gruyères Castle, where a fascinating multimedia show takes you on the journey through time and where you can see magnificent exhibitions, is a must. Roaming through the Castle with its Knights’ Hall, turrets, battlements, defensive walls and garden is a fantastic experience in itself.
The whole world of chocolate is presented in the nearby Maison Cailler, the Swiss Chocolate Factory. According to legend, Gruyères was founded in 400 B.C. by the Vandal King Gruerius. He saw a crane (“grue” in French) flying across the crimson evening sky and decided to build his town on that very spot. This is why the coat of arms of Gruyères depicts a crane on a red background. The symbol of the heraldic animal of the former Count of Gruyères has a significant presence throughout the region up to now.
This sense of imagination is paired with presentations on the different stages in the Cailler chocolate production process, which are relayed as part of the interactive audiovisual guided tour. Through cameras the visitors can watch live as the ingredients of chocolate are processed.
The visitor trail provides a complete immersion into the brand, history and products of Cailler of Switzerland. The experience is sensitive, sensual and poetic, giving the visitor a window into the world of chocolate by means of a transparent and sparkling aesthetic.
Chillon Castle is located on a rock on the banks of Lake Geneva. The water castle is the most visited historic building in Switzerland. For nearly four Le Gruyère AOP cheese is produced in ample quantities. 29’000 tons of the hard cheese are made annually. It bears the registered trademark AOP (indicating its origin). There is a modern show dairy that produces Le Gruyère AOP cheese, the “La Maison du Gruyère”.
The show dairy, which was opened in 1969, is located in Pringy near Gruyères, at the foot of the castle hill. Here you get to know everything about the production of Le Gruyère AOP cheese, a process richly steeped in tradition that has been passed on from generation to generation. The farmers deliver their milk twice a day, and it is processed into cheese loaves by the cheese craftsmen. Naturally, one can watch them at work.
La Maison du Gruyère
Over the years, Gruyères Castle has been successively occupied by the counts who built it, the bailiffs of Fribourg and then the Bovy and Balland families from Geneva, before being bought back by the Canton of Fribourg in 1938 and opened to the public. Discover a fascinating history that spans eight centuries.