Charlie Chaplin in Switzerland : spending a day in Corsier and Vevey
While you're exploring the beautiful Lake Leman towns of Geneva, Lausanne and Montreux, pay a visit to Vevey and spend a day walking in the oversized shoes of the Little Tramp.
Hollywood legend Charlie Chaplin moved to Switzerland with his wife and children in 1952 after a McCarthyist political persecution surrounding Chaplin's left wing sympathies and humanist ideals eventually led to the revocation of his US visa. He bought a pretty white mansion, Manoir du Ban, overlooking the famous vineyards of the region and the distant snowy mountains, where he lived for the remaining 25 years of his life. Four of Chaplin's eight children were born in Switzerland, they attended a Swiss school, and he spent many happy years in Corsier-sur-Vevey writing and hosting friends like Marlon Brando, Salvador Dali and Winston Churchill at fabulous parties.
1. Start your day at Chaplin's World, Corsier-sur-Vevey -
In 2016, Manoir du Ban was opened to the public along with a huge immersive museum called the Studio, which walks you through the sets of Chaplin's best loved films. It's all very interactive - you can play on the scenery, try on costumes and take photos in numerous locations with realistic waxworks while learning about Chaplin's acting, writing a directing careers.
The house is beautifully laid out with original furniture and family photos. Multiple times you'll discover waxworks of Charlie and his wife Oona, which really bring the home to life. Look out for a surprise visit from a family friend, Albert Einstein! Before you leave, take a stroll through the extensive grounds with ancient trees and gorgeous mountain views.
You can read our full blog about visiting Chaplin's World here.
2. Charlie's grave -
When Charlie died in 1977, he was buried in the small local graveyard, Cimetiere de Corsier-sur-Vevey, not far from his Swiss home. It's easy to visit -you can either walk for about 20 minutes, following the road down hill from Chaplin's World past the vineyards, or take bus 212 from outside the entrance to the Village stop.
Charlie Chaplin's grave is a neat, square, floral plot with two headstones for himself and his wife Oona (she was buried alongside him in 1991). Shockingly, just a couple of months after he was buried, Charlie's body was stolen and held to ransom for $600,000 by two men. After an extensive police intervention including tapping all 200 phone boxes in the area, they were caught and Chaplin was reinterred, this time surrounded by concrete to prevent anyone else trying the same thing.
Just to the left of the Chaplin plot is the simple grey stone grave of another movie star of the Golden Age: James Mason, a friend of Charlie Chaplin who lived near by and died in Lausanne in 1984.
3. Charlie Chaplin statue on by lake -
Following the main road to the bus stop outside the funicular station, take bus 201 or 216 as far as the train station and then walk to the waterfront, or it's only about a 23 minute walk. On the promenade where Charlie and Oona would take evening strolls, looking out over the sparkling water of Lake Geneva, is a bronze statue of Charlie Chaplin, dressed as his most famous character, the Tramp, with bowler hat, hooked walking cane and tatty clothes. Placed there 5 years after Chaplin died, it was made by British sculptor John Doubleday.
4. Finish your day with a sweet treat at Laderach -
A short stroll away on Rue du Theatre - Swiss chocolatier Laderach sells 'Charlie's Shoes' - miniature chocolate recreations of the Little Tramp's footwear. Now you can recreate the scene from Chaplin's the Gold Rush where a starving Tramp eats his own shoe. Sold in a round metal tin like a movie reel (or shoe polish) this will make a really cute souvenir from your Charlie Chaplin themed day.
For more Swiss chocolate, check out our blog about Lindt: Home of Chocolate, near Zurich
You might enjoy some of our other Swiss blogs!
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