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Where to stay in the French region of Switzerland?


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Terry
Terry
28 posts
active member
Aug 17, 2021 - 12:51 PM

Hi all,

We area fully vaccinated U.S. couple with an upcoming trip to Switzerland and Austria (September 1-13). Because of the changing covid situation, we just decided it will make it a more sane vacation to not go to Austria and just stay in Switzerland (Sooooo, much easier than figuring out the different covid adjustments between Switzerland and Austria, especially because we don't want to find out things have changed in Switzerland...where our flights arrive and depart for the U.S.....while we are in Austria). We'll keep our reservations in Grindelwald, a place I'm familiar with and we'll enjoy hiking in that area for a few days. But we are thinking of adding another Swiss region to our itinerary for some contrast. Would Montreux be a place to enjoy very different scenery, different hikes (the main activity for us), beautiful city strolls and as a base to do other things in the area? (We don't want to be in a very big city, and are avoiding museums to stay out of crowds this trip, but would like to be in a city larger and different than Grindelwald to have a more well-rounded Swiss experience). I have not been to the French-speaking part of Switzerland. We will be traveling by train, so wherever we stay, it will need to be accessible by train.

Thank you!

Terry

Anna
Anna
1715 posts
top member &
moderator
Aug 17, 2021 - 6:10 PM in reply to Terry

Hi Terry,

I live in the Swiss-German speaking region. Every time I visit the Suisse Romande part (French-speaking), I feel like I'm in another country. It's amazing really , you're still in the same country but the language, the vibe is different. I think it would definitely be a good experience to explore the different Swiss regions during your stay in the country.

Have a look a this link to get a general idea of this region: www.myswissalps.com/southwestswitzerland

I think most travellers are familiar with Geneva and Montreux as a starting point to explore the lake, the vineyards and old towns in the region. Lausanne is also a good choice with its excellent transportation system and lovely lakeside views.

You can find more details from the following links:

I hope this gets you started.

Regards,

Anna

Last modified on Aug 17, 2021 - 6:11 PM by Anna
Terry
Terry
28 posts
active member
Aug 17, 2021 - 6:19 PM in reply to Anna

Anna,

Thank you for the links. That's great to hear that the Romande region will give us the contrast we are hoping for. I was looking at those links last night. We thought going somewhere called "Ouchy" would be worth a look!

Terry

Ildiko
Ildiko
1355 posts
top member &
moderator
Aug 18, 2021 - 2:58 PM in reply to Terry

Hi Terry,

I am living in Lausanne and yes, Ouchy (worths a visit if you are in the region. If you like museums I highly recommend the Olympic Museum close to Ouchy. You can buy your tickets if you wish in advance here. I've been several times there (never on the weekends I think) but it was never crowded as it has big indoor spaces.

If you would like to visit the UNESCO heritage Lavaux vineyard have a look at this walking route: www.myswissalps.com/hiking/lutry-epesses. Or my personal fav route is as follows:

  • Take a steam boat from Lausanne, Ouchy to Vevey (harbour called Vevey-Marché')
  • from Vevey harbour walk to the Vevey train station (around 10 min)
  • take the train to Chexbres from Vevey (around 10 mins)
  • walk down from Chexbres to Rivaz station via the famous Lavaux vineyard and enjoy the view
  • optional: taste some wine in Rivaz or visit Lavaux Vinorama
  • take the train from Rivaz station to Lausanne

You can do this route starting and arriving at Montreux (instead of Lausanne) if you wish. But according to my opinion, the best view from the boat to the Lavaux is between Lausanne and Vevey.

If you like hiking, you can visit Rochers-de-Naye from Montreux: www.myswissalps.com/rochersdenaye.

Another day tour from Montreux I recommend is Gruyeres (lovely village with castle and cheese factory) and Broc where you'll find the Maison Cailler (chocolate factory). More info: www.myswissalps.com/gruyeres and www.myswissalps.com/maisoncailler.

Let me know if you have any further questions :)

Take care,

Ildiko

Terry
Terry
28 posts
active member
Aug 18, 2021 - 4:10 PM in reply to Ildiko

Ildiko,

Excellent!! I love that idea of stringing together boat rides, walks, trains and a vineyard. Thank you. And all you needed to mention was "chocolate factory" and I'm ready to go. It's been very helpful to have this forum because it is helping me combine some of the areas/routes that are on separate links. I really appreciate it.

Terry

hockeyfan
hockeyfan
79 posts
active member
Aug 18, 2021 - 4:22 PM in reply to Terry

Sounds like a wonderful trip and a great idea under the circumstances of travel today. We love visiting and hiking in this area also, walking through the vineyards and along the lake. It is definitely very different from the German speaking part of Switzerland. Our favorite place to stay is in Grandvaux, just a few minutes by train from Lausanne, Auberge de la Gare Grandvaux. The owners are delightful; the location and views are special; and the chef (owner) is definitely the best in the area. A travel card for the area was included. I am including a photo taken while hiking from Grandvaux to Cully.

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Ildiko
Ildiko
1355 posts
top member &
moderator
Aug 19, 2021 - 9:24 AM in reply to Terry

Hi Terry,

I am happy I could help with some ideas. Regarding Maison Cailler, I've been already to several chocolate factories in Switzerland and Maison Cailler is far the best in my opinion ;)

In Gruyeres, you can also taste a traditional cheese fondue, also highly recommended if you like cheese.

Hockeyfan has mentioned the free travel card in the region - if you are staying in a hotel in Lausanne or in Montreux, you'll get a kind of guest card. You can use that for free public transport within the city and also it grants you a discount in some places (like museums). You can read more about them here: www.myswissalps.com/lausanne/travel and www.myswissalps.com/montreux/hotels.

Ildiko

More information about Swiss gastronomy: www.myswissalps.com/activities/culinary and www.myswissalps.com/aboutswitzerland/culturehistory/food

Last modified on Aug 19, 2021 - 9:34 AM by Ildiko
Terry
Terry
28 posts
active member
Aug 19, 2021 - 1:29 PM in reply to Ildiko

Thank you once again. Great tip on that travel card. We plan to get Swiss train passes as well, since we'll be taking them in other parts of Switzerland. It really sounds like we need to take a day trip to Gruyeres! We can hardly wait for this trip!

Terry

Ildiko
Ildiko
1355 posts
top member &
moderator
Aug 19, 2021 - 7:38 PM in reply to Terry

Hi Terry,

rail passes are very useful if you are traveling in Switzerland by trains, busses or even boats - not to mention the mountain transports like funiculars and cablecars. We have a great calculation spreadsheet, that helps you to compare the different passes for your itinerary. You'll find it here: www.myswissalps.com/train/ticketspasses/practical/chooserailpass

If you have any questions regarding the passes, feel free to post them.

Take care,

Ildiko

Last modified on Aug 19, 2021 - 7:40 PM by Ildiko
Danielsan
Danielsan
209 posts
active member
Aug 20, 2021 - 3:52 AM in reply to Terry

Hi Terry,

Not sure if you've been to, or are familiar with Zermatt. There is unlimited hiking to be found in that area. Its German speaking as well, but the scenery and hiking are unbelieveable. It is only a 2.5 hour train ride from Montreux.

Also the Italian-speaking region is very beautiful. Lugano, Locarno. Looking over the lakes is beautiful, peaceful scenery.

There is also an enormous amount of hiking to do in and around the St. Moritz area. Perhaps you could go there instead of Austria since it is somewhat on the way.

As for a city for that well rounded Swiss experience, you really can't beat Lucerne. Beautiful old-town, walking city along the lake. Many surrounding places/mountains to see and hike. Lots to see and do in the area.

Hope you have a great trip.

Danielsan

Anna
Anna
1715 posts
top member &
moderator
Aug 20, 2021 - 6:07 AM

Hi again Terry,

I certainly agree with Danielsan. Montreux would be a good base in the French-speaking region. If you have time during your trip, a day or overnight visit to Zermatt is recommended. Then if you feel adventurous you can take the panoramic Glacier Express train from Zermatt to St Moritz or Chur, all the way on the east side of Switzerland (which is another region, that speaks a different local language called Romansh). Since you have the Swiss Travel Pass, you don't need a ticket for the Glacier Express, just a seat reservation, which you can book here: www.myswissalps.com/glacierexpress/tickets.

Another option, if you'd like to explore the Ticino region (which is Italian-speaking, as mentioned by Danielsan), from Zermatt you can travel to Brig and take the Centovalli train further south to Locarno via Domodossola. The Ticino region has a more Mediterranean feel I think and is considered the most sunniest region in Switzerland. Most visitors to Ticino prefer a base near Lake Maggiore and Lake Lugano. Here's a quick sightseeing suggestion you can do in 1 -day: www.myswissalps.com/onedayticino You can explore more suggestions here: www.myswissalps.com/ticino/activities

So, there's quite a list of options you can consider if you're flexible with your itinerary. All the train journey is covered by your Swiss Travel Pass. For convenience, you can download the mobile SBB timetable so you can plan your journeys seamlessly.

Regards,

Anna

Last modified on Aug 20, 2021 - 8:00 AM by Anna
Terry
Terry
28 posts
active member
Aug 20, 2021 - 1:28 PM

Wow! All good suggestions. I was in Zermatt and the Italian area of Switzerland years ago (first trip), but my husband has not. Yesterday we found a fantastic-looking Airbnb rental in a chateau near Montreux and booked it, so that will be our second base (our first one being Grindelwald). It sounds like taking the train to Zermatt might be a great day trip. Having the Swiss Pass and all the flexibility that comes with it will be great, since we can look at weather forecasts and decide each day how to make the best use of our time. We are SO looking forward to being surrounded by beauty.

Thank you!

Terry

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