The Promenade Fleuri and Chateau Chillon With a Dog in Montreux Switzerland

Some of you may not know this but, Mom has a degree in Hotel Management. Oh yeah … and from Switzerland no less. Hotel Institute Montreux (HIM) to be precise! So when we decided to go to Switzerland and spend a little time near Geneva and visit Lausanne we had to tack on an afternoon in Montreux to revisit Mom’s old “college days haunt”.

I think it was weird for Mom to have her “boys” (that would be Dad and me by the way) in a place where she had lived over 20 years ago. And a tad freaked out that it had been 20 years already. Not sure why this freaked her out but … it did. Humans … you are so … odd.

Mom and me in front of HIM!

Anyway we got off the train in Montreux, walked down the street and found Mom’s old school …I think Mom was a little stunned at the changes at HIM too.

But some things never change. Like where Mom had worked at a Grand Hotel or where we had our lunch … Mom’s “night club” of choice in the day was above.

And the part that Mom loved most, the Promenade Fleuri, where she would escape from her studies. Where her LONG love affair with walks really began.Because you can walk from Montreux all the way to Chateau Chillon on the water’s edge. It’s GORGEOUS!

The Promenade Fleuri and Chateau Chillon With a Dog in Montreux Switzerland

The Chateau Chillon in all it’s glory. This is the park where us dogs can hang out!

But first … a tiny bit of history!

Montreux has been around in some form for … like… ever. It was a really important trading town during Roman times because it was located exactly where the road to Gaul and Italy split. Then the area became a little more famous for wine than trade. Yep! The swiss make a pretty decent wine!

Promenade Fleuri and Chateau Chillon With a Dog in Montreux Switzerland Montecristo travels

Enjoying the view!

Then there was a bunch of mess during the whole Burgundy wars … yep – interesting connection to our trip to Burgundy there… and things were calm-ish until the whole Reformation made the region an attractive haven for Huguenots from Italy, who brought their artisanal skills and set up workshops and businesses. The beginning of woodworking, clocks and cheese people!

No European history lesson is complete without the predictable mention of Napoleon. Yep, he “liberated” the region from the Bernese. It is debatable how badly the region wanted to be liberated. Depends on who you speak to.

The Promenade Fleuri and Chateau Chillon With a Dog in Montreux Switzerland

With Dad at the train station …

Finally, in the 19th century, the tourist industry became THE major commercial outlet, with the grand hotels of Montreux attracting the rich and cultured from Europe and America. The area quickly became known as “The Pearl Of the Swiss Riviera”. And of course this led to the famous Hotel Management Schools in the region and to Mom’s reason for being there 20 years ago.

Montreux is also known for music. Most notably the Jazz Festival. A lovely July event that has been around since 1967. The festival was originally held at the old Montreux Casino, which burned down in December 1971 during Frank Zappa‘s performance (as referenced in “Smoke on the Water” by Deep Purple). Now there is a convention Centre for the music and a new unassuming Casino.

Lots of famous musicians have come to Montreux, for the festival and the recording studio. Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Prince, Santana… the list goes ON and ON.

Promenade Fleuri and Chateau Chillon With a Dog in Montreux Switzerland Montecristo travels

Me and Da Man! Freddy Mercury!

But Freddie Mercury is the name that stands out the most. In November 1995 (after he had passed) Queen released Made in Heaven, an album featuring Freddie Mercury’s previously unreleased final recordings from 1991as well as outtakes from previous years and reworked versions of solo works by the surviving members.  The album cover features the Freddie Mercury statue that overlooks Lake Geneva in… you guessed it… Montreux!  Why is there a statue here? Because this is where he had written and recorded his last songs at Mountain Studios.

I went to pay my respects. I am always moved by those that have passed too soon. Fan or no … it just doesn’t seem right.  And the statue is the perfect place to start your stroll to Chateau Chillon, on what may be one of the world’s most beautiful promenades: The Lake side Promenade Fleuri.

The name says it all. Fleuri means “in Bloom” and it’s not just a name. It’s true.  This walk is absolutely mandatory. With or without a canine and even on a rainy day. Because the views are breathtaking.

Each section has a different colour scheme. Ten miles of pathways and sheltered bays, bordered by exotic flower beds and palm trees. You’ll find a few places to stop. Hidden nooks, or little coffee stops – complete with small dog play mates.

Walking towards the famous castle … Chateau Chillon!

The mountains, the lake … the castle.  More than 300,000 guests visit the Chateau Chillon every year. You can view wall paintings dating back to the 14th century, the subterranean vaults, parade halls and the bedroom preserved in its original form that dates all the way back to Bernese rule. The entire complex consists of 25 buildings and three courtyards protected by two walls and is not … pet friendly. So you will either have to do a hand off or … miss it.

What is open to canines is a most beautiful outer courtyard and garden. A hand-off would be easy to do. Relaxing and picturesque. Find a nice quiet spot along the lake, and just breath in the clean air and serenity.

The Promenade Fleuri and Chateau Chillon With a Dog in Montreux Switzerland

This is just so beautiful

There is something about this castle on a rock in a lake. You can feel the hundreds of years of ships passing by on Lake Geneva.  You can sense how important this route was.  Why control of this castle was paramount. Chillon belonged to the Counts of Savoy from the 12th to the 16th century and then … Bern conquered this “water castle” and then … well Napoleon and blah blah blah.  It’s gorgeous. It’s all you need to know.

Make sure to check out Byron’s graffiti on the wall in the cells – where he go the inspiration for his Poem The Prisoner of Chillon.

If by now you are totally pooped, you can take a bus or train back right from the Castles front gates or … you can re-trace your steps and walk back.

The Promenade Fleuri and Chateau Chillon With a Dog in Montreux Switzerland

I love this sign … you don’t need to speak French to get it.

The view beckoned and that is what we did. Arriving in Montreux exhausted. But happy.  Where we hoped back on a train returning to Geneva.

In review: The promenade between Montreux and Chateau Chillon may well be one of the world’s most beautiful. Although very long, it is also flat and thus you will find all ages strolling along its various sections. From the area near Montreux proper with its fancy hotels, cafés and restaurants, to the more residential area and beautiful homes… to the vineyards and ultimately your reward: Chateau Chillon. A must if you are ever near Lake Geneva. (for more photos visit my FB page album!)

22 Comments on “The Promenade Fleuri and Chateau Chillon With a Dog in Montreux Switzerland

  1. Charmin as usual, mon ami. I can’t really see your new blog lay out as I am commenting on my phone, from a hotel in Spain, or more precisely, from a hotel in Catalunya. It does seem that your blog is optimized for mobile devices which google tells us now is very important. Ciao Bello.

    • Oh – thank you for letting us know our mobile friendly approach is dead on. We did “test it” in the Google app – and it came out as “Awesome” but I believe the user rather than the app. So thank you!

  2. I worked in the hotel industry for awhile and loved it!! Montreux sounds lovely. I haven’t been to Switzerland, I’ve thought about it but never got there. Perhaps it is worth a visit.

  3. I have never been to Switzerland … and honestly I don’t know if we will so reading about this and seeing the amazing photos allows me to enjoy it vicariously. Thank you.

  4. It looks lovely there. It must have been interesting for your mom to see her college haunt 20 years later. Someday I’ll have to go back and visit the city I went to college in. It would be interesting to see how much it’s changed in the time I’ve been away.

  5. Woww you are so lucky! Traveling to Switzerland must have been a dream come true. All the picture look so nice now I want to visit too as I have never been to Switzerland

  6. It’s always a weird thing going back to places you lived years ago. Sometimes it feels like you never left and other times like it happened to someone else.

    Switzerland is on my list for sure. And you had me at – check out Byron’s graffiti on the cell walls!

  7. I always love your posts and where you travel to, I have been to Switzerland but not Montreux and would love to revisit that country one day. It is so pristine and magical.

  8. So lovely – that castle is a dream. I have never been outside the US and Canada, but that sounds like a place worth seeing if I ever get the idea that flying is ok. I love reading your travel reports.

  9. oh my gosh! How cool is this! I wish we could come visit too. We’ve wanted to go abroad with Navy …but now that a little pup may come into our lives, who knows 😉

    Thanks for sharing!
    -Alex and Navy

  10. Your family always find the best places to stay, so I’m not surprised to learn that your mom has a degree in hotel management. It looks like you had a great time and I didn’t know that Montreux was known for music.

  11. What an enchanting post and what a magical place. Even a dash of Mercury 🙂 I never knew he had recorded there, and it touches my heart after the recent movie.

    Thank you for a magical post and if you ever need a cat to carry your bags Harvey has said he would volunteer 🙂

  12. We have not been to Switzerland – it is on our short list of places we must visit! I appreciate the dog friendly tips – this will help us plan. Your photos make me so incredibly jealous – beautiful!

  13. How beautiful! I continue to be jealous of the wonderful places you’ve traveled. I didn’t know about the musical venue where so many musicians recorded music. I loved the music from Queen.

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