Not sure if the French side of Switzerland is worth it? It absolutely is! The region is full of spectacular vineyards, amazing mountains, beautiful lakes, delicious cheeses, and so much more! It’s home to the world’s banking hub, the best and most prolific vineyards of the country, and the iconic H.R. Giger Museum!
Those are just some of the highlights from the most popular towns in the region. Read on to see all the reasons why you should visit the French side of Switzerland and which places you absolutely shouldn’t skip!
Geneva is the number one reason why you should visit the French side of Switzerland. The city is one of the largest in the country, and everything about it is fabulous. It sits on the bank of Lake Geneva and offers dramatic views of Mont Blanc. Geneva is surrounded by the Alps and the Jura mountains, so the views are out of this world no matter where you look.
The city of Geneva is also the global hub for banking and diplomacy due to the presence of many international organizations. The headquarters of multiple UN organizations are in Geneva, as is the headquarters of the Red Cross, so it’s no surprise that the city hosts the highest number of international organizations in the world.
Gruyères is such a great place that it’s reason enough to visit the French side of Switzerland. The medieval town is in the Freiburg canton, and it’s best known for the namesake cheese. But there’s much more to the charming town than fondue dinners – Gruyères is also home to the H.R. Giger Museum & Bar, which are just a short stroll away from the town’s iconic 13th-century castle.
The H.R. Giger Museum & Bar is a must if you’re a fan of the artist’s works. He’s best known for his work on the Alien movie, and you can see a great replica of the monster from the movies in the museum. The Giger Bar is absolutely amazing, but not for the faint of heart thanks to the alien-inspired decorations.
The Tibet Museum is also a worthwhile stop for anyone visiting Gruyères.
Header Photo Credit: Montreux – Pixabay
Situated on the bank of Lake Geneva, Montreux is a beautiful resort town everyone should visit should they get the chance. The picturesque town is so pretty that even Freddie Mercury fell in love with it and rented an apartment in the town. Queen eventually bought a recording studio and Montreux, which is now a museum full of band memorabilia.
If the panoramic views and presence of Queen homages throughout the town aren’t reason enough, go there to see some of Switzerland’s best vineyards. Montreux is also known for charming Belle Epoque buildings, the medieval Chillon Castle, and the annual Montreux Jazz Festival that’s held every July. There’s also the spectacular seaside promenade lined with flowers and Mediterannean trees and it’s probably the most charming part of the entire town.
Lausanne is a beautiful city on the bank of Lake Geneva and one of the top reasons why you should visit this part of Switzerland. The city is best known for being the headquarters of the Olympic Committee, as well as the home of the Olympic Museum and the Olympic Park.
The charming city boasts a hilly Old Town lined with shops and cafes, as well as predominantly medieval architecture. The 12th century Gothic Cathedral is a perfect example of the architectural style prevalent in Lausanne, with its vibrant windows and tall towers. Close to the Cathedral you’ll also find the Château Saint-Maire, another iconic Lausanne landmark. The 15th-century castle served as a government building for more than 200 years, and it remains the seat of the Vaud canton government even today.
There’s also the Sauvabelin Tower higher up in the hills. It is 35 meters tall and it boasts a 302-step spiral staircase that takes you to the viewing platform. The views from the top of the tower are so mesmerizing that the climb is entirely worth it.
Zermatt is a resort town at the foot of the Matterhorn, popular for luxurious accommodation and mountain ascents. It’s one of the most popular ski resorts in Switzerland in the winter, while in the summer the town is filled with mountaineers who are ready to begin their ascent on Matterhorn. There’s even a museum dedicated to Alpinists, as well as Mountaineer’s Cemetery where you can go pay respects to all those who lost their lives attempting to conquer the majestic Matterhorn.
The town is also home to Zermatt Unplugged, an annual acoustic music festival that draws thousands of music lovers to the region every July.