The French speaking parts of Switzerland
These were some of my less mountainous trips into the french speaking parts of Switzerland.
- The Lavaux Vineyards: Absolutely breathtaking, the beautiful vineyards overlooking the vast expanse of the Lake Geneva. Unbeatable.
- The town of Gruyeres: touristy, yet quaint, plus excellent food.
- Murten: an interesting walled town.
- Montreux: a fantastic waterfront, magical when it rains.
- French Valais has beautiful mountains, I went to the LAc Du Louvie, near Verbier. I have covered that on my page on Valais.
Montreux and Lavaux:
On one of the weekends, I took a train from the Bernese Oberland to Montreux, passing by the huge mountains in the French part of the Valais. Montreux looked so different from the German parts of Switzerland. It soon started raining heavily. I walked around the beautiful waterfront. The clouds soon gave way to the setting sun and the mountains on the other side of the lake looked nothing short of majestic. This was early June, so the crowds were less, on the waterfront. I started looking for restaurants, the ones on the waterfront were extremely expensive. I went to Restaurant Le Museum, where I had my first fondue in Switzerland. The fondue was absolutely excellent, the cheese was perfect, the temperature was right, so were the potatoes and the bread.
The second day was to be spent in Lavaux region. I took a train to Lutry from Montreux. At Lutry, I got a 20 Franc pass which gave me access to tasting wine in all the wineries in the area. I spent the next several hours walking around the vineyards in the area, up and down the hills. The views were good everywhere, but they were the best at the winery Alain Chollet. The wine was great at all the places, the gruyere cheese served with the wine was excellent as well. It was definitely one of my most favorite days in Switzerland. I finally ended up in the beautiful village of Grandvaux which too had great views of the lake and the vineyards. I took a train back to Montreux from here. Back in Montreux, I went up to the Chateau De Chillon, the castle was pretty good and worth a visit. Dinner was at Cafe Du Globe, I had a fondue(again, I know) and a dessert. One of cheaper sit down places I have seen in Switzerland, a very local place with very little english spoken.
I got a train from Montreux to Gruyeres. The ride was a very beautiful one. The entire area was shrouded in clouds and mist. We passed through several forests and pastures as well, the mountains were much smaller and prettier than I had seen so far. Finally I arrived in Gruyeres. The menu at the restaurant outside the station looked inviting, but I decided to carry on, the village was to have even better places with more “gruyeres-ey” menus. The main street in the village was filled with energy, just the right amount of people, plenty of local restaurants, the entire village had an old world charm to it with it’s cobbled stone roads and houses. I had a look at the castle, which was great from the inside. Wandered around the town, since I had had fondue twice already on consecutive days, I was looking for something different. I had lunch at Restaurant Des Ramparts, I had a gruyere cheese stuffed fried pancake and berries with heavy cream, both were absolutely good. Later I walked back to the station and took the train back to Zurich. Quite an interesting place Gruyeres was, I wish I would stayed for some more time.
Murten and Fribourg
Murten happened to be just off my path while returning from the Bernese Oberland on one the weekends. It’s about 45 minutes from Bern, and is on the “french-german border” is Switzerland. Infact the town has two names, a french one and a german one. The highlight of the small walled historic town is the beautiful walls, you can walk around a large part of the extremely well preserved and full of character town. I spent a few hours walking around, certainly very pretty. The cafe on the main street served excellent pastries and hot chocolate. Fribourg which is closeby is also a good town to spend a few hours. The old town is very beautiful, similar to Bern in some ways, but the area around the river takes you to a much older age.