Beyond the cheese A region worth visiting.

La Gruyère, between Fribourg and Montreux, has a lot to offer.

Bulle

The administrative capital is well worth a visit, from the castle with its lovely gardens and the museum with its beautifully presented collection of local artefacts, to the picturesque market hall, for years the corn exchange for the entire area. This hall is a rebuild as it was destroyed by fire in 1805, like most of the rest of the town. There are some interesting oddities: the Hotel Moderne was built in 1906 on the lines of the Belle Époque Palace Hotels in Lausanne and Montreux, but went bankrupt a year later and never really found its role in life.

Every month there's an event of some description: a cheese feast in May, a folklore festival in July, the regional fair in autumn, plus markets and various sports. And there are plenty of attractive hostelries serving local specialities – the Café Fribourgeois is popular, as is the Hotel du Cheval Blanc, and I would like to have called at La Cabriolle with its resident goat (not a live one!). Next time.


Le Moléson

This charming mountain can be seen for miles around. Luckily it's easy to get to the top these days: drive or take the bus up from Bulle or Gruyere, and then the funicular to the high alp below the peak. Here you can either relax in the restaurant and admire the scenery, or take the big new cablecar up higher, where there's an even more magnificent view practically all round the horizon. You can spend hours up here (we did): there's a huge viewing platform on the roof of the cablecar station, a self-service restaurant with outdoor seating on all sides, and for would-be mountain goats, a foot-track to the peak itself at 2002m.

Open most of the year round, it's great for skiers in winter and hikers at other times of year – not to mention the unathletic or infirm who just come for the scenery. And when you reach the bottom again (by whatever means of locomotion), there's an excellent shop and restaurant at the end of the carpark, Fromagerie d'Alpage, where you can get a superb creamy moitié-moitié fondue. But it's probably advisable not to follow it with another delicious local speciality, meringue with double cream!

www.la-gruyere.ch

 

Photo: Swiss-image.ch/Roland Gerth

Author: Anitra Green

Has been in Switzerland long enough to be part of the scenery. Studied classics in London, now a railway journalist. Favourite occupations: travelling, hill walking, singing, good food, good wine and good company.


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