Canton de Vaud - Lake Geneva region | Swiss Tour 2020
Updated: Feb 28, 2021
Since it’s our home Canton, we thought we knew Vaud pretty well so it was great to learn that there are still plenty of treasures to discover in our region.
We set off early on a Sunday morning in February and after a week which saw 19degrees and sunshine followed by snow, we decided to err on the side of caution and wear warm clothes and plenty of layers. Our destination was beautiful Château-d’Oex and we were travelling there in style! We left our car at Montreux train station and headed for the MOB GoldenPass platform where we were taking the Belle Epoque train. If you are a fan of Switzerland, you have probably seen pictures of this stunning train - we certainly had and we could believe we were fortunate enough to try it.
A real return to the luxury of great trains of the past, the Belle Epoque is a sumptuous treat of a train ride with plush seats and beautiful ornate decorations. Jude thought it reminded him of the train in Harry Potter (or Happy Popper as Alba calls him) and found it extremely exciting to choose his seat and settle in for the ride.
We decided to take the pushchair for this outing so we folded that and left it in the luggage area while I held Elio on my lap and the soothing movement of the train meant he was quiet as a mouse and was happy to watch what was going on around him. The scenery is spectacular! We climbed up through Montreux with the view of the lake and mountains emerging as we went, and Jude and Alba were excited to see the sudden increase in snow when we left a particular tunnel! The hour long journey went really quickly and we were soon disembarking at Château d’Oex. Our first stop was the tourism office to meet with Alexandre and collect the information for our first activity. It’s a short walk and we received a warm welcome on our arrival when Alexandre gave us a booklet with details of a trail to do around the village. It’s a great idea where you go from point to point on the map looking for decoupage exhibits which are displayed in various locations. In the booklet is a question to answer about each picture and completed entries have a chance to win a decoupage of your very own!!
We set off for the closest on the map which led us uphill to the church, which offers an incredible 360 degree view of the region. It’s such a good idea and a great way of discovering the village as you walk from one exhibit to the next. The children soon got the hang of what we were looking for and raced ahead to find each clue on our map. We were fortunate to have a lovely sunny day which really made it a lovely family activity.
The map took us to a nice playground so we paused for a while to let the children play before heading to the last point on our map which was the riding school!
No, we weren’t about to witness the sight of Jean riding a horse, we were here for lunch! More precisely we were trying the Char à fondue which is a full fondue meal on a horse drawn carriage!! When we first heard about this idea we were so excited and couldn’t wait to try and it really didn’t disappoint. We had to give some thought to how to manage Elio and we decided that we would take his pushchair with a detachable chair part and strap him onto the bench and it worked perfectly. After we said hello to the horses, we clambered aboard the covered carriage, lit the flame under the fondue pot and began our ride! What an experience!
The ride took us in a big loop through the village and the outskirts with wonderful views of the countryside and mountains at every turn. The food was great and we all loved the novelty of it. Alba likes to manage her own fondue these days and did a brilliant job controlling her food even over the bumps! It was clearly pretty tiring though as the gentle movement of the carriage meant she kept falling asleep as soon as she finished eating. I asked if she would like to lie on my lap and she slurred “nooooo I want more luuuunch”! Jude is a pro by now and demolished his share washed down with some delicious warm tea while Jean and I opted for some white wine. We had already fed Elio so he was free to enjoy the ride and he was so peaceful, we were amazed that he was so calm!
All too soon, we were back at the start and thanking our hosts and the horses for this beautiful experience! Back up to the main road and we arrived at the Espace des Ballons. Outside is the actual vessel that was used in the 1999 trip around the world which is hugely impressive.