Exploring the Swiss towns of Fechy and Gruyere

Posted by Kirsten Smart on 22 September 2011


Nestled between orderly rows of vineyards, high up on the hills outside preoccupied Geneva is Fechy. It is a little Swiss town that overlooks the massive Lake Léman and from our B&B (B&B Fechy) we could see Mont Blanc and Evian over in France as well as the Swiss towns that border the Lake.

Geneva was far too crowded for us and Fechy only took a few minutes to walk through so we decided to take the ferry from Lausanne over to Evian. Famous for its spring water, Evian is a bustling little place whose streets are lined with markets and stalls selling wares for half the price they would be in neighbouring Switzerland.

After taking advantage of the bargains, we sat down to lunch in the warm sun and it was there that we witnessed our first flash mob of fifty or so children suddenly breaking into a choreographed dance. Five minutes later the weather unexpectedly broke into a choreographed dance of its own, pouring down on us and forcing us back onto the ferry.


The rain followed us persistently to Gruyere, which is gorgeously picturesque in a stereotypically Swiss way. Its green hills were dotted with bell-collared cows and broken up by the occasional stream, as full as the cow’s udders now that it was raining.

We wondered over to the Cailler (Nestle) chocolate factory, which we were extremely impressed by (and not only because I think good chocolate is the answer to world peace). Crammed with tourists, each tour left like clockwork every four minutes. The tour was entertaining and informative and ended in a tasting room filled tables practically groaning under the weight of every kind of chocolate imaginable- a vision of what I spy heaven looks like (except the choccies weren’t being fed to me by a shirtless Brazilian soccer team). Of course we made like my mother and filled our pockets with as many testers as we could and scurried back out into the rain and straight on to a cheese factory (have I mentioned my husband is semi lactose intolerant?) which was far less popular with the tourists, but no less interesting- who knew cows eat 200 kilograms of grass a day?

With our stomachs full of chocolate and cheese we headed to our B&B (B&B la Pinte de Lys), a charming place next to a stream with cozy beds and wooden interiors. At breakfast we were treated to fresh milk, cheese, bread and jam, all produced on neighbouring farms and delivered a few hours earlier. We wished we could stay longer, but we had to head onwards and upwards to Zurich.

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