Alpine Diary: Gruyères – More than cheese to the name!

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This is a short note on a short trip taken two years back. It was a partly cloudy and totally vacant sunday morning when we hopped on a train to Gruyères – a small medieval town near Fribourg in Switzerland that still stays true to its character down the centuries.

Well, you must associate the term Gruyères to a kind of cheese. You’re not at all off the mark in doing so as this cheese, one of the finest in the world, is named after the town where it originated. This post, however, has little to do with the cheese but more with a castle – Chateau de Gruyères, also located in the same town.

 


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A small hamlet at the giant foot of Chateau de Gruyères firmly planted in the ground.

 

 

 

 

Train to Gruyere

Train to Gruyères. Swiss trains – parfait – inside out!

 

 

 

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And here we are!

 

 

 

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As with most places in Switzerland the walk upto the castle from the train station is sure to kindle a poetic spark in the most hard-boiled individual!

 

 

 

 

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On a more lucid day one can see a mountain towering over and behind the castle giving a deserved majestic and dramatic backdrop to the castle.

 

 

 

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But we had to do without it, that day!
C’est la vie – such is life :)

 

 

 

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At the lush entrance of the Chateau, as it is called in French. Many a bollywood stars have danced in and around this picturesque Castle town.

 

 

 

 

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Chateau de Gruyères is a 13th century castle now converted to a museum and a very important Swiss national landmark.

 

 

Over 800 years various Counts have called the Chateau de Gruyères their home. At present it offers in form of a museum centuries of architectural history, dearly preserved. A 30 min movie playing every 30 min (in several languages) will orient you to it’s history and significance.

Additionally one can visit Tibet Museum – that show cases pictures and art from the lap of Himalayas.

Another interesting museum and bar that has been called ‘weird’ ‘interesting’ ‘cool’ among other things is an Alien Bar! It has been done by the Oscar winning artist of Alien movie fame – G.H Giger.

The embedded link gives you an idea what to expect. Honestly, I don’t know how it ‘fits’ into the place but may be that’s just me.

 

 

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A window to the world beyond the thick castle walls.

 

 

 

 

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There are ample places in the castle to take in the ‘zen’ view of the alpine foothills and small hamlets nestled together.

 

 

 

 

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And the Count said, ‘let there be light!’
Somewhere inside the castle…

 

 

 

 

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The castle is well preserved and well kept but to be honest having seen a lots of castles and chateaus…I don’t recall seeing anything riveting or ‘not seen before’.
However I found the kitchen area very interesting!

 

 

 

 

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The part I loved the most.
A french garden in the castle! Beautiful, isn’t it? Also best viewed from the castle.

 

 

The castle is not too big to scale, an hour or two is pretty sufficient to see it following which we made an exit towards the Gruyères town.

 

 

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The pretty town of Gruyères is car free and cobbled stoned. Tranquil and quaint.

 

 

 

 

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The small town square surrounded by houses dating back to medieval times – admirably well preserved.
A small sunday market has books, souvenirs and other bric-a-brac for ones with an eye and palate for it!

 

 

 

 

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I must tell you no one, NO ONE, goes to Gruyères town and comes back without having ‘strawberries and double creme’ – a classic must have when in town!
On a different note, did you notice a crane on a red flag in the pictures? Well, ‘grue’ means crane which inspired the name of the town.

 

 

HOW TO REACH GRUYÈRES?

Gruyères is nestled in Fribourg region of Switzerland, about 1.5 hours from Lausanne or Bern. The journey by car or train is picturesque through views of beautiful valleys, meadows and lakes.

You can use Google Maps for best traffic route and for train journey find the best connections on SBB CFF – the Swiss train website or app.

The cheese factory is right in front of you as one steps out of small train station of Gruyères. While there is a shuttle taking you up the hill near to castle, I will suggest taking this small hike which is smooth on your feet and knees and well worth the views and effort.

 

 

THINGS TO DO IN AND AROUND GRUYÈRES

The visit to chateau and the town would take just about half a day so you can include more activities, especially on long sunny summer days, if you wish.

There are several hiking and biking trails around the area. Quite a popular one is Trail of Counts that goes through several historic villages.

Visit La Maison Gruyères or the cheese factory and watch the legendary cheese in making.

You can also combine this visit with one to Chocolate Factory (I posted it a while ago) and you have a fool proof and drool worthy Sunday of cheese, chocolates, castles and er….aliens?!

 

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Till then…

 

 

 

Comments

  1. No Text, No show???

    • pastlifeseamstress says:

      Recovering from a wrist injury. Want, need, hope and plan to be back and back with a big bang soon 😀
      Thanks for your concern, really! Hope you’re well, as well.

  2. Awesome photography, Clear blue skies, Cozy grasslands & Nevertheless, binding write-up……..

    That’s Pastlifeseamstress!!!

    Puneet

  3. Another chapter on Alpine Diary!!!No words to appreciate —————just a big WoW.Thanks for transporting us to this and many other wonderful places.

    • pastlifeseamstress says:

      Thank you Ankita. Hope to see you back again at another wonderful place in the world! Much love !!