meet me in Montreux

I grew up listening to the music of Deep Purple, and the song “Smoke on the Water” resonated through my head when I heard I was going to Montreux, the charming Swiss city on the Lake Geneva shoreline.

montreux-switzerland

It seemed appropriate that my first day in Montreux featured a dark, almost smoky sky, as a reminder of the Deep Purple song, “Smoke on the Water.”

musical memories in montreux

Indeed, part of the time I was in the area, there was a lot of fog and mist (which actually added to the charm and mysticism of the vistas), but at the time, it did look like smoke on the water.  There really had been a fire back in 1971 when the band had come to record their Machine Head album at the Montreux Casino. And today, you will find a monument commemorating Deep Purple next to the casino–which was reopened in 1975 after having been destroyed by that immortalized fire.

Home to Mountain Studios, Montreux remains a Mecca to the music industry. Rock enthusiasts regularly visit the life-sized monument of Freddie Mercury in Place du Marché overlooking the lake. The day we were there, the grey day was brightened by the bouquets of fresh flowers offered in memory to Mercury by his devoted fans. Freddie Mercury was the front man of the British band Queen and chose to live in Montreux because of its beauty and tranquilty. Queen recorded much of its music in Montreux before Mercury’s untimely death in 1991.

montreux-switzerland

This life-sized statue of Freddie Mercury is a tribute to the famous rock star who once lived and recorded his music in Montreux.

montueux-jazz-fest

How wonderful it would be to take in the music of the Montreux Jazz Festival. Do you think they’ll invite me?

And for jazz enthusiasts, the Montreux Jazz Festival runs annually in early July. It is second in size only to the Montreal Jazz Fest held in Canada. I can imagine how much fun it would be to find myself in Montreux in July for the Jazz Fest! Music featured at the festival is not exclusively jazz, so lovers of all contemporary world music are bound to find something they enjoy over the two-week run. The 51st Montreux Jazz Fest is scheduled for June 30-July 15, 2017.

hotel-victoria-glion

I really enjoyed strolling the beautifully landscaped grounds of the Hotel Victoria in Glion, Switzerland.

hotel-victoria-glion

My cozy room at the Hotel Victoria in Glion, Switzerland had stupendous views of Lake Geneva and the valley.

hotel-victoria-glion

The view from my room at Hotel Victoria in Glion-sur-Montreux. You can see the walking path and pool in the left of the photo, and the lake runs across the full gamut of the hotel. A truly idyllic setting.

glion-funicular

The funicular takes you from Glion down to the city of Montreux and Lake Geneva.

I was hosted for two nights at the beautiful Hotel Victoria, a four-star Relais et Châteaux property located in Glion-sur-Montreux thanks to Alpenwild Swiss Tours. Glion is located at the top of the hill overlooking Montreux and Lake Geneva. It is truly a magical setting, with cows grazing in the grass and breathtaking views in every direction. Join me next week for more about Montreux.

Doreen Pendgracs

Known throughout the Web as the "Wizard of Words", I've been a freelance writer since 1993. I'm currently researching and writing volume II of "Chocolatour: A Quest for the World's Best Chocolate". Volume I was published in September, 2013.

65 Responses

  1. Jeri
    Twitter:
    says:

    I’ve not been to Montreux, but can relate to associating “Smoke on the Water” with Lake Geneva. On the day I drove from Innsbruck to Zurich, it was nearing dusk and the fog was settling in over the water. It was truly magical. I also love that Queen has a connection with Montreux as well. Their music will always be on my list of favorites.
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  2. Janice Chung
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    says:

    I enjoyed Montreux as well and feel so fortunate to have been able to visit during the Jazz Festival. The duvet covers on your beds look SO comfortable and what a view! I now wish I had taken that funicular up to Glion!
    Janice Chung recently posted…You Might Have These Encounters In Nice and Mittelbergheim, FranceMy Profile

  3. Patti
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    says:

    There’s something really fun about a funicular, isn’t there? And, those beds look super comfortable. Would love to spend some time in Switzerland, only flown out of Geneva and saw nothing but the hotel and the short ride to the airport. A reason to return!

  4. Donna Janke
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    says:

    The setting really does look magical. I love the view from your room.
    Donna Janke recently posted…Elephant Seals at Piedras BlancasMy Profile

  5. Ramona McKean
    Twitter:
    says:

    Beautiful musical memories, Doreen! I did not know much if anything about Montreux before. Thank you. 🙂
    Ramona McKean recently posted…If It be Your Will, a Tribute to Leonard CohenMy Profile

  6. Phoenicia
    Twitter:
    says:

    The views really are breathtaking. Knowing me, I would probably spend all day on the funicular – going up and down to take in the views. Your hotel room looks cosy and non-fussy – sometimes just what one needs.

    Interesting that this resort has a connection with the late Freddie Mercury. I can see why he chose to spend time here.
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  7. lenie
    Twitter:
    says:

    Doreen, the photos you take are always so fantastic they make me feel that I’m missing out by not being there in person.
    I’ve read about the beauty of Switzerland and your photos certainly give truth to all I read. As I’ve mentioned before, how very blessed you are to have a job that takes you to places like this.
    Keep sharing your trips – they are most enjoyable to me.
    lenie recently posted…Tis the Season for…CHARITY SCAMSMy Profile

    • Thank you SO much, Lenie. It always makes my day when I read a comment such as yours that lets me know I’m hitting the mark in enticing you with tales of chocolate travels. Much more to come, so do stay tuned, and if you know someone who would equally enjoy the site, please send them my link. 🙂
      Doreen Pendgracs recently posted…meet me in MontreuxMy Profile

  8. Jackie Smith
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    says:

    What a delightful getaway experience it looks like you had! I’ll add this to my ‘some day’ list.
    Jackie Smith recently posted…Greece: A taste of wine countryMy Profile

  9. We visited Montreaux long ago, pre-Freddie Mercury statue, and I remember it being so beautiful. We were on a tight budget then, but I would love to return and stay at the Hotel Victoria. What an amazing view to wake up to!

  10. Carol Colborn says:

    Oh my husband would love to go to this Jazz Festival, maybe in 2018 since 2017 is already scheduled. Hotel Victoria seems like the place to stay.

    • Hi Carol: the Hotel Victoria is a lovely place to stay. But be aware that the funicular has limited hours of operation. So if you are attending events like the Jazz Fest in town, you’d have to either have a rental car or take a cab back up the hill at the end of the evening.
      Doreen Pendgracs recently posted…meet me in MontreuxMy Profile

  11. Elaine Jackson
    Twitter:
    says:

    The photos are fabulous. I almost feel as though I have been there. I’ve always loved “Smoke on the Water” so it’s great to have a visual .

  12. Rachel Heller
    Twitter:
    says:

    Even with the grey weather, Montreux looks lovely! I haven’t been to Switzerland since the 1980’s, but this series of yours is making me want to go back!
    Rachel Heller recently posted…Stasi Museum Berlin: The Dark Heart of East GermanyMy Profile

  13. Margaret Anne Fehr says:

    What great photos! They really capture the charms of this magical place! Your are truly evolving as a gifted photographer!
    Just wondering what your camera of choice is? I’m in the market for an upgrade to my old Canon elph point and shoot and would appreciate your input.

  14. Wonderful images as always Doreen. My two favorites are the statue of Freddie Mercury (BIG fan!) and the view from your room – spectacular!
    Marquita Herald recently posted…Envy: The Emotion That Thrives In The Bad Neighborhoods Of Your MindMy Profile

  15. Linda
    Twitter:
    says:

    Such a beautiful region! Hope to get to the Montreux Jazz Festival. I visited the Lavaux region, also on Lake Geneva, a few years ago. Charming villages and spectacular views from the vineyards.

  16. What beautiful photos! I’ve never been to Switzerland but would love to visit it. I didn’t know it was a meccas for jazz. When I think of the Swiss I think of chocolate and skiing!
    Jeannette Paladino recently posted…Be Thankful to Our Veterans by Giving Them JobsMy Profile

  17. We visited Montreaux many, many years ago, long before Freddy had passed away! We were driving around the lake as part of our road trip through Switzerland. I always remember how beautiful it was and the fact that a jazz festival was held there. Thanks for the memories Doreen
    Jenny Freedman recently posted…A Walking Tour Through Prague’s Early HistoryMy Profile

  18. I wasn’t aware of the association of Montreux with rock music – or with jazz. It looks like a great place to visit, especially with that funicular going up the hill by the lake.
    Karen Warren recently posted…Enjoying the Eccentricities of Coromandel’s Driving Creek RailwayMy Profile

  19. Susan cooper
    Twitter:
    says:

    Hi Doreen, Who knew Montreux had such a musical history. And it is quite lovely. Looks worth a visit someday for sure.
    Susan cooper recently posted…Individual Chicken Pot Pies: #RecipeMy Profile

  20. noel says:

    I haven’t visited Montreux and always wanted to go for any of the music festivals, looks like such an amazing place.

    • Hi Noel: Yes, it’s amazing how much you can find out about these smaller cities since you seat digging. the larger cities have the budgets and presence to tell the world about everything they are doing. But the smaller cities have to hope we find them by whatever means possible. I’m thrilled that I discovered the Montreux Riviera. I will definitely be back.

  21. You just caused me to add another beautiful and intriguing city to my list of European destinations. Wow to lovely
    RoseMary Griffith recently posted…Travel Adventures Don’t Have to Be RiskyMy Profile

  22. Janice
    Twitter:
    says:

    Doreen – I’ve been to Montreux and loved it, even though it was only for one night. My husband and I stayed at the Bon Rivage in La-Tour-de-Peilz when they were setting up for the jazz festival. So we just missed it by a day or two. The hotel you stayed at looked a lot like ours!
    Janice recently posted…Kona Coffee Heaven: Greenwell FarmsMy Profile

  23. I went to the Montreux Jazz festival back in the 80s and loved everything about the area. Thanks for the reminder.
    The GypsyNesters recently posted…Lights, Camera, Action at The Palace of VersaillesMy Profile

  24. Sue Reddel
    Twitter:
    says:

    Montreux has such a wonderful musical history! We would love to visit during the Jazz Festival. Your view from the hotel looked magnificent. Bookmarking and hoping to visit one day!
    Sue Reddel recently posted…Nuremberg Christmas MarketMy Profile

  25. Sushmita
    Twitter:
    says:

    Doreen the images are breathtaking! Especially the first. The truly a magical setting, with cows grazing in the grass and breathtaking views in every direction made me link to the Bollywood songs shot in Switzerland. Would love to fulfill my Bollywood fantasy some day! Thanks for sharing
    Sushmita recently posted…Need for Creativity & Innovation in EntrepreneurshipMy Profile

  26. neha
    Twitter:
    says:

    I’ve not been to Montreux but I can clearly see from your post why that song came to your mind. Such a beautiful mystic place
    neha recently posted…Revolving Compass is nominated for Liebster AwardMy Profile

  27. I would love to get to Montreux one day and your room on the lake at Hotel Victoria looks like a perfect base for exploring the area and tasting some chocolate!
    Irene S. Levine recently posted…The Florida Keys: Cuisine, adventure and Key lime pieMy Profile

  28. A wonderful post about Montreux, Swiss.
    It seems like a fascinating place, I am not into that kind of music, but the scenery and architecture is breathtaking,
    Thanks for sharing this with us.

  29. Linda Aksomitis
    Twitter:
    says:

    I loved my visit to Lake Geneva — it was such a beautiful part of Switzerland! I had just one foggy/rainy day up in the mountains and your photos brought back memories. Thanks!

  30. Montreux was one of Steve’s favourite cities when he lived in Europe. He went to the Montreal Jazz festival for 7 straight years. The coolest thing about the Jazz festival was the way famous artists would just show up at different pubs in the city and perform. They had their big concerts too, but you could also see them in person at small venues playing impromptu. The best time was when Phil Collins, BB King, and Van Morrison all ended up at the same pub. They just jammed together and had fun. Nothing was prepared or rehearsed, but it was the best show Steve ever saw. Legends playing for free at a local pub. This was more than a decade ago. I hope they still do that.
    The Travel Ninjas recently posted…Cute Monkeys Steal the Show at Uluwatu TempleMy Profile

  31. Wow! Steve is so fortunate to have had those experiences in Montreux! I can’t imagine being in the same pub with Van M, Phil C & BB. That would have blown my mind! Thx for sharing that Montreux memory.
    Doreen Pendgracs recently posted…Swiss chocolate travel to GruyeresMy Profile

  32. What a great post, I loved reading about Montreux and its relation to the music industry. I had no idea. Thanks for sharing.
    Nathalie recently posted…Bologna and a tumultuous first monthMy Profile

  33. Abigail
    Twitter:
    says:

    To be honest, I haven’t heard about Montreux before. But it looks beautiful and will definitely add this to my travel bucket list. It does look photogenic too!
    Abigail recently posted…Behind the Scenes of My Dominican Republic FilmsMy Profile

  34. Chris
    Twitter:
    says:

    I’m amazed I had no idea there was a music mecca such as this right in the heart Switzerland!

    I love it how the pursuit of chocolate can teach you so much more about the world 🙂
    Chris recently posted…The Ring Road: Northstar Guesthouse to Reykjavik (Day 6)My Profile

  35. Vyjay says:

    Montreux is so enchanting. Actually it has to be, considering it is part of the heaven called Switzerland. Blend the beauty of the place with some enchanting music and definitely, the air would be intoxicating.
    Vyjay recently posted…Offbeat and Romantic Honeymoon Destinations in IndiaMy Profile

  36. Alessandra says:

    What a lovely place and the views are stunning! Montreux seems like a perfect getaway to enjoy music and have a romantic escape.

  37. we love Montreux I went to school there. The views are amazing.

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