Today I’m pleased to feature this fabulous Swiss photo essay by Anastasia Chernykh, My Life’s a Trip’s Ukraine-based Social Media Manager. I’ve not seen much of Switzerland beyond it’s airports, but these gorgeous fall photos and interesting musical and literature factoids now make me want to visit Montreux in person.
The sun, the lake and the mountains
I don’t remember exactly when I heard the Smoke On The Water for the first time, but even in my school years I knew there would be something special about this Swiss city. Indeed there is.
Beautifully located on the shores of Lake Geneva, Montreux is one of the most frequented resorts in Switzerland. Due to its mild climate and picturesque location Montreux is often called the capital of the “Swiss Riviera”. Once a small village, lying in the heart of the traditional wine-growing region, Montreux now is surrounded by posh coastal suburbs, which host a trail of famous (and not famous) guests all year-round.
The town stretches along the shores of a large bay and rises to heights covered with woods and vineyards
The flower-bordered lake promenade…
…with nearly 800 varieties of plants & flowers!
One of the main attractions of the city is the building of the hotel Montreux Palace, opened in the early XX century. The Montreux Convention was signed here in 1936, Vladimir Nabokov lived in this hotel with his wife, Vera.
Luxury hotel Montreux Palace, is still not only a landmark in the city, but also one of the most popular hotels on the shores of Lake Geneva
Lord Byron, Hemingway, Victor Hugo, Courbet, Scott Fitzgerald, Charlie Chaplin all are among the famous guests once stayed in this region. Montreux Jazz Festival, held annually since 1967, brings even more celebrities to this list- B.B King, Miles Davis, James Brown, Eric Clapton, Michael Jackson, Norah Jones, Pharell Wiliams, David Bowie have all stepped in Palace Montreux’ corridors. Along the quay, at the square Place du Marche, there is towering bronze statue of another famous resident of the town— Freddie Mercury.
Memorial to Freddie Mercury, long-time resident of Montreux
Among the city highlights there are special “speaking benches”(and a free app to explore them) located on the promenade and dedicated to famous guests of the city.
Stormy weather & majestic mountains
Even palm trees grow in here
Going back to where we started, Deep Purple wrote their famous song after they witnessed an unfortunate event in Montreux, in December 1971. During a concert by Frank Zappa, held in casino “Montreux”, one fan fired a flare gun into the ceiling and started a fire that destroyed the building. The image of smoke on the water haunted the band members, who saw it from the window of their hotel. I was happy enough to see a nice reminder of the smoke incarnated in the rainy clouds above the lake.
Not exactly the “smoke”, but still impressive
The infamous “gambling house”, 40 years later, fully refurbished
Adorable vintage car near Casino Montreux
It’s a 3 kilometer walk along the lake’s costs leads to the most visited Swiss historical sight, Château de Chillon. You walk through an endless promenade of Montreux to the castle, which appears to grow directly out of the water. But that’s an illusion – Chillon Castle stands on a rocky island, designed to appears unapproachable.
Château de Chillon, the Switzerland’s most visited historic monument
Chillon Castle is a complex consisting of several buildings, each built over various time periods. Lord Byron had a major role in popularizing the castle when in 1816 he described it in detail in his poem “The Prisoner of Chillon,” based on the true account of the capture of Francois Bonivard. The “speaking bench” dedicated to Byron unfortunately didn’t work during my visit, so I only was able to enjoy the inspiring view of a castle that looks like a fairytale fantasy.
The first of three courtyards of Château
Inside the castle
The view of the courtyard from one of the castle’s towers
The fisherman near Chillon Castle
The sunset view of lake and mountains at the entrance of Chillon Castle