Photos by Rob Tysall – Pro Photography
If ever there was a Swiss town to fall in love with, it has to be Montreux. Ann Evans relives her visit there.
Culture, music, spectacular scenery – you’ll find all of these and more in Montreux, Switzerland. It’s a town that has attracted musicians, artists, writers and travellers for decades. Nestled between Lake Geneva and the Alps, it has a microclimate that allows the sun-filled Lavaux Vineyards to flourish. The area is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Montreux is synonymous with the famous Montreux Jazz Festival, the second largest annual jazz festival in the world, second only to Canada’s Montreal International Jazz Festival. It opened on 18th July 1967 and it’s line up of famous names over the last 50 years seems to have no bounds. From Nina Simone and Ella Fitzgerald to Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Elton John and dozens of other music legends. This year the Montreux Festival takes place from 1st to 16th July. Plus of course, Deep Purple immortalised Montreux and Lake Geneva with their rock classic, Smoke on the Water.
Other famous people who have made Montreux their home or favourite ‘go to’ place includes Freddie Mercury of Queen and David Bowie. They and other top artists including The Rolling Stones recorded albums at The Mountain Studio based in Casino Barrière, Montreux. Since 2013 The Mountain Studio has become, Queen: The Studio Experience – a permanent exhibition honouring Queen and Freddie Mercury.
In the entrance corridor you find a whole wall of messages from fans – just as there are if you wander around the outside of the building, where thousands of visitors have written messages and drawings showing their love and appreciation of the band.
Stepping into their world is a fascinating snapshot of their life with Freddie Mercury’s Lycra jump suits, and the famous yellow military jacket and white trousers he wore for Queen’s legendary concert at Wembley in July 1986.
Playing in the background is Queen music, recorded interviews and film footage, the rooms are filled with photographs, albums, personal items even a replica of the mixing desk. Very poignant are the hand-written notes and lyrics by Freddie for his last two songs, A Winter’s Tale and Mother Love, both of which were written and recorded at the Montreux Studios and featured on Queen’s final album, Made in Heaven.
Take a walk along the lake’s promenade and enjoy the views. You’ll discover Freddie Mercury’s statue in that classic pose of his looking out across the lake. On the cover of his last album Made In Heaven is this image with Lake Geneva and the peaks of Le Grammont, one of the highest peaks overlooking the lake.
For more details about the Montreux Riviera go to: https://www.montreuxriviera.com