Hidden treasures of the canton Vaud
From the beautiful vineyards of Lavaux to Charlie Chaplin.
The Lavaux Vineyards, that hug the shore of Lac Leman, are an internationally renowned gem. Every year, the New York Times publishes its very selective and influential list of 52 must-see destinations. Last year, the Canton of Vaud was listed number 25 on this list and with every good reason.
“Switzerland’s gracious canton that hugs Lake Geneva” as it is described by The Times, is perhaps most famous for the Lavaux wine-growing region that stretches about 30km along the shores of the lake from the town of Vevey to Lausanne. The Lavaux is of such beauty that it was added to the UNESCO’S World Heritage List in 2007. It offers stunning landscapes of terraced vineyards that have been there since the 11th century, overlooking the lake and the majestic alpine peaks beyond. The grapes benefit from a triple natural boost of sunshine here: direct sunlight, the reflection of the sun from the lake and the warmth of the sun in the terrace walls.
Today it is possible to discover this stunning area by foot, with over 30km of foot trails that meander through the vineyards, or by train. I would recommend starting at Chexbres to get the most of the views and walk down towards the smaller, very picturesque villages, of Rivaz, St Saphorin or Cully on the lakeside. It's possible to then enjoy a boat ride back to Vevey, from where a train runs back to Chexbres.
There are a number of wine-producing cellars where visitors can stop off to taste the local vintages along the way, but don’t have too much if not you will be zig-zagging home! With over 150 wineries in the area, you are spoilt for choice. The main grapes you will find are Chasselas (close to 90%), Pinot Noir and Gamay. As far as wines are concerned, I would really recommend the Grand Cru Dézaley, the flagship appellation of Lavaux.
The Canton of Vaud is also well-known for having attracted many famous residents over the years all in search of a quiet life. Charlie Chaplin made the pretty village of Corsier-sur-Vevey, a short way above the Lavaux, his home in 1952. Grévin opened a museum dedicated to the great film star in 2016, which comes complete with an amazing Hollywood-style studio so that you can rediscover his most famous films.
The Museum is split between the family’s original manor house where the movie star lived with his fourth wife Oona and their eight children and a purpose-built building devoted to his films all set in extensive and beautiful grounds. The house is furnished as it would have been in his day complete with wax models of Oona and Charlie at leisure in the family living-room.
The highlight of the visit is the new building that welcomes you with an engaging film of his best-known work on screen together with some home videos in a plush red velvet cinema. At the end of the introductory movie, the screen rolls up and visitors are invited to discover the most famous of his film sets that have been beautifully recreated, complete with wax works and interactive features. All in all, the museum offers a wonderful visit for any lovers of film and an impressive and thorough survey of Charlie Chaplin’s career and work.
Chaplin's World is open every day from 10 am to 6 pm.
This article first appeared on SwissBlissTravel.
Catherine Mikton is a Swiss-American travel and luxury lifestyle blogger. She enjoys all things beautiful, be it a moonlit landscape or a five-star hotel. Her blog is intended as a gateway for the discerning traveller to Switzerland - an essential guide to help you discover this beautiful country and all it has to offer, whilst relaxing in some of the best Swiss accommodation.
Images © Catherine Mikton