What to do this Fall in Switzerland's Lake Geneva Region

What to do this Fall in Switzerland's Lake Geneva Region
When Americans can travel to Switzerland once again, the Lake Geneva Region will be ready to welcome them back to the snow-capped mountains and the shores of Lake Geneva. They’ll discover new museums, star chefs, new restaurants and reborn hotels. Here’s what’s new this autumn and awaiting visitors when they return.

Musée Atelier Audemars Piguet Opens

The Musée Atelier Audemars Piguet opened on June, 25 2020 in Le Brassus, in the heart of the Vallée de Joux, the cradle of Swiss watchmaking. It offers an immersive experience that retraces more than 145 years of watchmaking history. The striking museum is circular, shaped like a coil and designed to resemble a watch spring. The innovative design and architecture is thanks to Danish architect Bjarke Ingels of the Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), who was commissioned to showcase the watchmaking achievements of Audemars Piguet.

The museum displays 300 watches under protective domes, masterpieces of miniaturization, technical complexity and avant-garde design. The rare timepieces include the Universelle, which has a 21 functions and 13 hands, a watch that was crafted by Audemars Piguet in 1899 and considered the most complicated piece that the company ever crafted. There are also a wide selection of emblematic models including many Royal Oak, Royal Oak Offshore and Royal Oak Concept. Visitors can observe watchmakers and artisans at work in transparent workshops. The Musée Atelier can be visited from Monday to Friday by guided tour only and by reservation. In 2021, the four star 50 room Hôtel des Horlogers, also designed by BIG, will open its doors next to the Musée Atelier.

Freddie Mercury Tours in Montreux

Freddie Tours is a new company that offers a guided tour of Montreux and its rich musical past by following in the footsteps of the unforgettable Freddie Mercury of Queen (1946-1991), the singer who had close links with the region. The one hour tour starts at the covered market in Montreux, within walking distance of the statue of the musical icon, and goes along the flower-lined quays of which the artist was so fond. It passes by the façade of the apartment bought by Freddie and includes a visit to the Mountain Studio, located in the Montreux Casino, where Queen recorded six albums. This venue is now called the Queen Studio Experience and is a museum dedicated to the group. The guided tour costs CHF 29 and can be scheduled on any day of the week, with an English-speaking guide.

Reopening of the Abbatiale de Payerne

After more than 10 years of building works, the Abbatiale de Payerne, a masterpiece of Romanesque art in Switzerland, has reopened to the public. The discovery trail at the 11th century Abbatiale is unique and offers a new perspective on the history of the largest Romanesque church in Switzerland. It’s easily explored thanks to an immersive and interactive audio guide that has been created for visitors.

New Permanent Exhibition at PLATEFORME 10

"Come and see here what you won’t see elsewhere!" is the theme of the new Permanent exhibition at the Fine Arts Museum (mcb-a), which is part of PLATEFORME 10, Lausanne's new arts complex situated next to the train station. The exhibition consists of about 300 art works on two floors that show the breadth of Vaud’s art collections, from the 18th century to the present day. Several rooms are dedicated to single artists, including Louis Ducros, Charles Gleyre, Félix Vallotton, Théophile-Alexandre Steinlen, and Louis Soutter. Other rooms illustrate major artistic trends with works acquired after World War Two and these exhibits feature drawings and paintings of the second Paris School, geometric abstraction, neo-Fauvism, and new media such as video and installation art. The works on display will be gradually rotated in coming years.

Fort de Chillon opens in October 2020

Built deep into the rock in 1941, opposite the Château de Chillon on Lake Geneva, the Fort de Chillon is a former military site that was classed as a “secret defense” until 2001. It is now open as a museum and offers an amazing look into the history of a former military installation. The museum allows visitors to plunge into a labyrinth of galleries in the heart of the mountain. The use of augmented reality and virtual reality show what life was like in the fort. Opening in October 2020.

The Ermitage in Château-d’Oex Reopens

Situated in the heart of Pays-d’Enhaut, The Ermitage in Château-d’Oex is a guest house, gallery and restaurant in a unique and authentic setting. Under new management and after a renovation, the property has reopened. There are a dozen rooms with balconies and mountain views. It hosts the Cabinet de Curiosités Ambulant gallery, with original work made by local artists and craftspeople. Other artworks are exhibited on a regular basis in the tearoom and restaurant. Every Wednesday morning, the hotel hosts a farmers market. The dining room menu features authentic Pays-d’Enhaut products and slow food, with produce from the hotel’s own garden and surrounding farms.

Chef Edgard Bovier at Le Cerf

Edgard Bovier is a legendary chef who was the star of La Table d’Edgard restaurant at the Lausanne Palace for the past 16 years. The award-winning chef and the recipient of 18/20 Gault & Millau points offered exceptional cuisine that rose to sublime levels. Now Chef Bovier has closed La Table d’Edgard and has moved on to his next venture, the elegant and charmingly rustic Le Cerf restaurant in the village of Rougemont.

Chef Franck Pelux at Lausanne Palace

The new flagship gastronomic restaurant at the Lausanne Palace, which has yet to be named, will be under the leadership of Chef Franck Pelux and his companion, Sarah Benahmed, formerly of Au Crocodile in Strasbourg. Chef Pelux is a former “Top Chef” finalist in 2017 and he and Benahmed promise to continue the fine dining legacy of Chef Edgard Bovier and will unveil their new menu in September. They promise to honor Swiss terroir and work with local producers and artisans as they take the helm of this legendary restaurant.

Café Byron at Château de Chillon

At the Château de Chillon, the Jardin Anglais (English Garden) redevelopment project consists of a pavilion-cafeteria surrounded by historic flora as well as the upgrading of the old, cobbled pilgrimage route that led to Italy. The highlight of the renovation scheme is the new Café Byron restaurant. Open since June, the new pavilion-restaurant allows members of the public to admire the splendid views of the Château de Chillon through its bay windows and enjoy refreshments throughout the day at any time of the year.

Wine Tours & Tastings in the Lake Geneva Regions

Visitors can now reserve and purchase nearly 150 wine-themed activities on line throughout the Lake Geneva Region. That includes cellar tours and tastings hosted by winegrowers, cruises with fine dining, and gourmet walks. Visit My Vaud to see the various offers.

The Lake Geneva Region (Canton of Vaud) is located in the French-speaking part of Western Switzerland, a timeless, picture-postcard destination of classic mountain beauty, refined cuisine and legendary hotels. Visitors come for wine tastings in the Lavaux vineyards, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. They dine in celebrated Michelin-starred restaurants and local brasseries and visit lively farmers markets. Outdoor opportunities range from hiking and biking to sailing and swimming in Lake Geneva. Major ski resorts include Les Diablerets, Villars and Leysin. The region is famed for the Vallée de Joux, the center of Swiss watchmaking, and for such unforgettable museums as Chaplin’s World and The Olympic Museum. Visit the www.lake-geneva-region.ch for more information.

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