Called the “Swiss Riviera,” the north shore of Lake Geneva is lined with rolling hillsides, picturesque vineyards and charming belle epoque French architecture.
We made the small town of La Tour-de-Peilz, between Lausanne and Montreux, our home base for the first few days of our week-long trip to Switzerland. Thanks to the Swiss rail system, many destinations were reachable within 2-3 hours, so it was a convenient home base for a series of daytrips. But before we go deeper into the Swiss Alps, a summary of our time in the Lake Geneva area itself.
Small and residential, La Tour-de-Peilz is no less idyllic for all that. There’s a small quay where lots of sunbathers, picnickers and swimmers were enjoying a beautiful summer afternoon.
Honestly, it’s enough to make you think, “Don’t these people go to work?”
But then again, if I lived in a place like this, I’d probably work as little as possible too.
There’s a lovely tree-lined boulevard pruned to create panoramic vistas of the lake.
Beautiful! Not sure if this owl is the town mascot, but it should be.
Now housing the Suisse Museum of Games, this castle turret is open to the public, so we climbed up for a view of the quay and the surroundings.
Dessert out on the balcony. Mmm.
Later in the week, we took one of these steamers from Vevey to the Chateau de Chillon, near Montreux.
Approaching the chateau, which was first built, I believe, in the 12th century on a rock jutting out of the water near the lake’s edge.
On the castle’s outer wall, a faded Bernese coat-of-arms.
The castle’s foundation is just far enough from the shore to take advantage of a natural moat.
The chateau is more famous for the prisoners who were held here than for the kings and governors who ruled it. But the castle’s most famous visitor is the person who made those prisoners famous, Lord Byron. Above, his graffiti in the chamber where his eponymous “Prisoner of Chillon” was chained to a pillar for several years.
Standing in places like this, you can really just picture soldiers storming the walls in olden days.
We rode another steamer, La Suisse, on a 1.5-hour trip to Lausanne.
The vessel was built in 1910, and true to the era, it was incredibly classist in a Titanic way. A fancy staircase leading to the first-class-only deck. A fancy first-class dining room.
The day was overcast, drizzly, a bit chilly. But that view is still incredible.
I think that might be France on the opposite shore.
In the background, the Quai Perdonnet of our “hometown,” La Tour-de-Peilz!
Life is good. :]
I mainly wanted to visit Lausanne to see the Olympics Museum, which in THE MOST LAME WAY EVER is closed for renovation in an Olympic year! Poor planning, people! What the heck. I was super disappointed. But OH WELL. I’ll just have to go back someday.
There wasn’t much else in Lausanne that I wanted to see, though I’m sure it’s a charming city in its way. But our itinerary for the next few days was jam-packed, so we decided to head back early to our rented flat to rest up for the days ahead.
The great thing about taking the train in Switzerland is it’s not wasted time. A train ride in Switzerland is a sightseeing experience in and of itself!