From museums to walking tours, fans of some of the world’s greatest showmen and women can reconnect with their idols in the glorious surrounds of Switzerland’s Canton of Vaud in the Lake Geneva region.
Stars of stage and screen have found solace in the magnificent surrounds of the Swiss mountain region, including singers David Bowie and Freddie Mercury, and screen stars Audrey Hepburn and Charlie Chaplin.
Hepburn spent almost 30 years as a resident of Tolochenaz, near Morges, where she rests today, and which in 2012, paid homage to the beloved star by dedicating a square in her name, at the centre of which is a bust giving her pride of place.
Married in the magical Hôtel-de-Ville in Morges, visitors can trace her life around the places she lived, shopped, relaxed and retreated from the glare of the world’s attention. The itinerary of the tours is available on the Morges: Guide app, which provides a guided tour and information along the way. www.morges-tourisme.ch
Fashion icon Coco Chanel has also left her mark on the area, residing in Lausanne after the Second World War and staying until her death in 1971. The legendary designer divided her life between lavish fashion shows at the Hôtel Beau-Rivage Palace in Ouchy, on the shores of Lake Geneva, and her magnificent residence in the city heights near the Bois de Sauvabelin woods. www.brp.ch
Drawn to Lausanne’s natural beauty and tranquility, she felt at home in her adopted town, away from the bright lights of her fashion world. She is buried in the historic cemetery of Bois-de-Vaux, where her tomb, which is always decorated with white flowers, sports a stunning sculpture of five lions.
Visitors can also trace the life of Queen singer Freddie Mercury who spent much of his time in the stunning area of Montreux. A one-hour tour will take visitors around his favourite haunts, including the monument to the star in the centre of town.
Fans can now also visit the former studio in which the mega-band recorded much of their chart-topping hits, now named the Queen Studio Experience, a museum dedicated to one of the greatest bands of all time. The guided tour costs CHF 29. It can be held on any day of the week on request and is led by a guide who speaks French and English. www.freddie-tours.com.
The world’s only dedicated Charlie Chaplin museum can be found in the region. Chaplin’s World celebrates the life and times of artist, composer and musician, build around his former mountainside home which overlooks the breathtaking Lake Geneva, at which visitors can see the famous statue dedicated to the star, positioned overlooking the glorious vistas. www.chaplinsworld.com
Singer David Bowie sought solace in the Lake Geneva region, got married in Lausanne and recorded 2 albums at the Mountain Studio in Montreux. In 1982, he acquired the huge Château du Signal, nearby Montreux, that he frequented for 15 years, and even celebrated his civil wedding in the Town Hall next to the Place de la Palud, in a small ceremony in front of four people.
About the Canton of Vaud, Switzerland
Located in the southwestern part of Switzerland in its French-speaking region between Lake Geneva and Lake Neuchâtel, the Canton of Vaud is a dream vacation destination. The region is served by Geneva international airport, which is a short 40-minute train ride away from Lausanne. The region boasts a strong infrastructure including luxurious and affordable accommodation and well connected transportation system. The Canton of Vaud features beautiful towns such as Lausanne, the Olympic Capital and Montreux Riviera, all steeped in centuries of history and culture. The region has influenced and inspired many artists over the years from Lord Byron and Audrey Hepburn to Charlie Chaplin and Freddie Mercury. Canton de Vaud is best known for its art of living, local and internationally renowned events, outdoor sports activities, world class gastronomy, traditions and culture.
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