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Montreux

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Montreux

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Mostly known for its world-famous month-long Jazz Festival (a bit of a misnomer: you're just as likely to catch David Bowie or Beck as, say Steve Coleman), Montreux [1] is well worth a wander through, if only to get to the scenic Château de Chillon or to get to Hauts de Montreux.

Get around

Hauts de Montreux

Less than 20 kilometers away from and 800 meters above the swanky Swiss Riviera, Hauts de Montreux is a hiker's dream. On a good day you can see to Geneva in the west and Bern in the east. If you look hard, you can even see the sparkle of all those flashy watches and dripping diamonds on the rich old people shuffling around the muggy lakefront.

  • Montreux-Oberland-Bernois or MOB This train line can haul you up to the very top of 2000 meter Rochers-De-Nayne, lord of the Vaud pre-Alps. There are a number of multi-day tickets billed as "Golden Pass" something-or-other, but they look a little complicated so you probably want to just stick with the one-shot tickets. Note that the trains stop running to and from the top around 6pm but they'll shut down early if the weather's bad, so don't count on one to carry you out of a sudden early evening rainstorm.
  • Golden Pass Railway Another cog train/funicular combo leaving from the MOB station leads into the nearby Les Avants wildlife area, more of a Sound of Music pretty scenery than the OhMyGawd drama of some of Rochers-De-Naye's vistas. Pretty much anything heading North and/or East of Montreux will lead to some combination of charming Swiss villages, (such as Château d'Oex) and invigorating Swiss landscapes. Despite the heavy Golden Pass advertising scheme, most of the visitors are small groups of locals, not the hordes of tourists you'll find in near-by (but hard to get to) Chamonix or Interlaken. Many of the mountain-top restaurants double as 'buvettes' - something between a refugee hut and a hotel - where you can stay the night, often for much less than you'd pay for a lakeside hostel.

A small problem here -- The Rochers de Naye (not Nayne) has its own train, a cog train up and back from Montreux. The MOB is a separate line which runs from Montreux up through Les Avants, through the mountain to Montbovon, Chateau d'Oex, Gstaad, to Zweisimmen, where it links with another train line that goes to Thun and Interlaken. The Golden Pass and the Panoramic Express (with glass roofs for viewing the mountains) are tourist trains that run on the MOB. The MOB is neither cog nor funicular (a funicular is pulled up by a cable) but a regular train.

See

Château de Chillon
  • Château de Chillon +41 21 966 89 10. [2] Open every day until 6pm. A historic castle on a small island in Lake Geneva only a few meters from the shore. It was built originally to allow the occupants to extract a toll from people and goods passing between Italy and the rest of Europe on the road north from the St. Bernard pass. The roadway here is wedged between the lake and the cliffs, so there was no way to get around Chillon. The Castle is more famous in modern times for having inspired Lord Byron's poem, The Prisoner of Chillon, based on the true story of François Bonivard, a political prisoner from Geneva who was released in 1536. Byron is said to have carved his name in one of the columns in the dungeon where Bonivard was detained during a few years.
  • Marmots' Paradise. The mountains around Hauts de Montreux are threaded with forest trails, suddenly isolated villages, caves, grottos, and wildlife. Rochers-De-Naye itself is home to an odd little compound called "Marmots' Paradise" where marmots from all over the world live in an observable system of underground burrows. Kind of a rodent UN or something. Any of the train stops will lead to several hiking options. For a real hiker's hike, tackle the four hour, 1000 meter climb from Caux to Rochers-De-Naye. Saner folks might want to get off at Dent-De-Jaman, just below the peak, where you can enjoy the views and fresh air with out the huffing and puffing.

Do

  • Stroll along the Riviera

Learn

Montreux is located in the French speaking part of Switzerland. Therefore you can learn French in Montreux in some language schools including ESL Learn French in Montreux

Buy

Eat

Budget

  • Coop Grocery store offering a range of sandwiches and salads.

Mid range

Splurge

Drink

  • The terrace at the Hôtel Suisse-Majestic, 45 avenue des Alpes (directly across from the train station). +41 21 966 33 33. The prices are not bad, and the view superb. There's a saxophonist who plays along to some kind of super drum machine during the early evening hours, and he's pretty good. Even if you're not normally into the sort of music he plays (smooth jazz) you'll have to admit that it works in this environment.

Sleep

Budget

  • Hôtel la Rouvenaz, Rue du Marché 1. +41 21 963 27 36. Fax: +41 21 963 43 94. [email protected]

Mid range

  • Golf-Hôtel René Capt, rue de Bon-Port 35, +41 21 966 25 25. A charming little two-star which receives glowing reviews. CHF119/153 per person singles/doubles.
  • Hotel Masson Rue Bonivard 5. [4] Billing itself as the oldest hotel in Montreux the Masson receives rave reviews. The location is a bit of a hike from town though, near the Château de Chillon.
  • Hôtel Bon-Port
  • Villa Toscane

Splurge

  • Montreux Palace, 100 Grand Rue +41 21 962 12 12, A Belle Epoque built in 1906, with an atmosphere that combines tradition and elegance. 235 rooms and suites that delicately combine a refined decor with modern comforts and high-technology. A 5-star hotel belonging to the Raffles International Group and a member of Leading Hotels of the World. Award winning hotel voted 3rd best hotel in Switzerland (Bilanz 2006). www.montreux-palace.com www.raffles.com
  • Hôtel Suisse-Majestic, 45 avenue des Alpes (directly across from the train station). +41 21 966 33 33. In a town of very fancy hotels the Suisse-Majestic stands out at least for its fine location. Also it's a four-star and as such not nearly as expensive as the five-stars further down the list, so given that it receives rave reviews this makes the Majestic a great value. 200/280 Chf singles/doubles.
  • Mirador Kempski, Ch du Mirador 5, Le Mont-Pèlerin. +41 21 925 11 11, Fax: +41 21 925 11 12
  • Royal Plaza Grand Rue 97.

Get out

This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!