Thursday, September 21, 2017

Variant Venues: Mont Blanc To Montreux

From our base in Geneva, we experienced everything from the high altitudes in the Alps to the subtropical climes of the Swiss Riviera, and many points in between. As with other European cities, the churches provide the best perspectives (once you scale a tall, narrow steeple) like this view from St. Peter’s Cathedral (above).

A short drive south and we were in Chamonix, France (above). The town resembles Aspen, Colorado: popular in the summer and even more popular during ski season. With the pearly white peak of Mont Blanc as backdrop, this epic playground attracts outdoor enthusiasts of all stripes with a propensity to party.

In addition to the cable cars, funiculars and a rack-and-pinion railway line, Chamonix offers myriad hiking trails and paragliding opportunities, and breathtaking views of suspended glaciers and shimmering ice fields of the French, Swiss and Italian Alps from the jagged needle of rock known as Aiguille du Midi.

Gruyères, the medieval village, was choked with tourists when we visited in high season. However, the Callier factory in nearby Broc, one of the country’s oldest chocolate manufacturers, and adjacent cheese dairies that reveal the magic of fondue, along with a few glasses of white wine, are “can’t miss” tour opportunities.

In a country filled with spectacular scenery, the Swiss Riviera stands out.  From Lausanne, headquarters of the Nestlè Corporation, to Montreux, home of the world renowned jazz festival, the views will captivate. In between is those two is Vevey, where Charlie Chaplin chose to live after leaving the United States for good.

In Switzerland, it’s really hard to find sketchy neighborhoods, but we tend to find them anyway; in fact, our hotel was situated in the Les Piques district, which is about close you’ll find to urban grit in this sleek metropolis. Yet, we were still only two blocks from the fancy hotels on upscale Quai du Mont-Blanc along Lake Geneva.

No comments: