La Gruyère is indeed a part of Switzerland one could think it has been artificially built to please Japanese Tourists. But as a matter of fact, it is all very genuine and a place on earth I really like because it is not so overcrowded like other parts of my homeland. It is a very mellow landscape, cows on lush meadows, creeks running through it and historical buildings and castles on top of the hills.
There is a lot to see and do. Let’s start in Gruyères, set high on top of a hill with a castle and a picturesque old town. The famous cheese inherited its name from the very same village, and you guess correctly, there is of course a cheese factory on the foot of the hill which you can visit. You can watch the cheese makers, taste and buy cheese and other very delicious treats. In the midst of the village, a totally untypically Swiss “thing” to visit is the HR Giger museum (The Alien guy) and his bar. It is very special indeed. I do not really like the guy, but the architecture of the bar is a must-see! Absolutely extra-terrestrial! The castle is worth a visit as well and so are the various restaurants.
Unfortunately, when we were there the “Auberge de la Halle” was closed, that was very disappointing as apparently they serve fresh morels filled with minced veal. Sounds so yummie. We ended up at the Restaurant Des Remparts and had a very delicious dinner. Meat on a hot stone, sounds a bit like a massage, but it was really very nice and decent in the price too! One specialty would of course be the cheese fondue in 120 different variations, and as a dessert, double crème de la Gruyère with meringues and red berries. I did…resist! The meat alone was more than enough!
There are a few hotels in/around Gruyères, the one we discovered and stayed for one night is a true gem. Le Broc’aulit, not to be mistaken for Broccoli 🙂
The old Auberge was transformed in a wonderful Bed & Breakfast a few years ago, most of the ancient parts have been maintained because the building is under protection of historical monuments. Somehow, we seem to be very lucky when booking hotel rooms directly on hotel websites! When we checked in, we got an upgrade to the Suite. This was a really special treat as the room is facing the village of Gruyères and the Moléson. Waking up to a clear blue sky, looking outside the window was really like living a fairy tale! The Moléson is the highest mountain in the region, you can go on top by funicular or cable car, it is 2002 m high, nothing compared to the real alps, but since it sits in the pre Alps it looks quite impressing compared to the hills surrounding it.
Broc has 2200 habitants and 2(!!) railway stations…why? One has been built right in front of the Cailler Chocolate factory, as a courtesy to the many people who work there. And here we go with one of the main reasons why a stop in Broc is a must. Cailler offers visitor tours where you can taste all their products and you can also do courses and learn how to make your own Pralinés (no need for me, I helped Daddy for many years doing the finest one on earth).
There’s of course more to see and do, visit the hot springs, hike around the lake of Gruyères, bike, ski, visit Bulle, Romont and Fribourg. But ours was just a stopover and we had no time to do all of this…but, we will be back for sure.