Gruyeres-Densely packed day?

Sep 3rd, 2014, 04:19 PM
  #1  
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Gruyeres-Densely packed day?

Finally making it to Gruyeres in a few weeks, daytrip from Solothurn(2:12-2:42 transit time one-way).
Because I will be short on hours, arriving 10 a.m at best, I'm trying to prioritize must-sees. These include #1)Broc Fabrique for chocolate tour/devour/buying, AFTER Gruyere to limit chocolates purchase carrying/melting.
#2) Lunch in Gruyeres (not La Maison du Gruyeres), probably La Maison des Traditions or Hostellerie St-Georges and
#3) Giger Bar OR Giger Museum.
Your opinions on the Giger choices (?skip the musuem and just have a drink in the bar?) and Chateau (just walk around grounds for views or spend valuable time touring it?). NO INTEREST whatsoever in cheese factory...already visited alpine hut doing so.
mokka4 is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2014, 04:23 PM
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It's a tiny village - and really not that much to see/do. We loved exploring the castle. Also love chocs but dont have to see them made.
nytraveler is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2014, 07:09 PM
  #3  
kja
 
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I was glad I visited the chateau and thought the audio-guide worthwhile.

Enjoy!
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Sep 3rd, 2014, 07:28 PM
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Didn't visit the museum or the bar, looked inside both... Had no interest in either. Just looked weird, to get you in them.

Did do everything else on your list including the castle and enjoyed my day very much!
joannyc is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2014, 09:32 PM
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hi mokka4,

I've visited Gruyeres maybe 4 or 5 times -- I love the countryside there. I've never been interested in the Giger choices though. I didn't make it inside the castle until about my 4th visit, and I was sorry I hadn't been there earlier. It was fascinating, and it made history come alive. It really helps to illustrate the history of the region and its ruling families.

I also like to go behind the castle grounds and the cemetery there -- beautiful rolling hills behind.

I would strongly recommend you try some of the creme de Gruyeres (Gruyeres cream or double cream) while there. Two popular ways are to drizzle it over puffs of meringue or put berries in a bowl of it. It is a-mazing.

In all my visits, I've never been interested in seeing the Cailler factory at Broc-Fabrique (you probably realize that it's not located at Grueyres but is a 30-minute train ride away). I've heard that the wait for a tour through the factory can be as long as 90 minutes. I think that will be your biggest time expenditure of the day.

Have fun as you plan!

s
swandav2000 is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2014, 09:51 PM
  #6  
kja
 
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OMG, the double cream in Gruyeres is, indeed, amazing! I had mine with meringue at Le Chalet de Gruyeres, where one can (or at least could) order "just" a half serving. SO good!
kja is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2014, 09:57 PM
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hehee, they now sell "Gruyeres creme" in grocery stores and cheese stores in Vevey & Montreux. I always come home SO FAT!

s
swandav2000 is offline  
Sep 4th, 2014, 01:16 PM
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Unfortunately, I have a serious chocolate addiction. Can't come to terms with travelling so far, and NOT going to Cailler. No real interest in HOW chocolate is made, but they had me at "tasting room with no time limit"! (Imagine a delighted child's eyes on Christmas morning or a drunk at an open bar-okay, sorry, not PC--and you will have an idea of the draw).
But I do realize that I would have to be back down to Gruyere station to catch the 14:58 for Broc arrival at 15:24. This is the closest I want to cut it to ensure that I gain timely entrance to Cailler, and still have at least 20-30 minutes to "taste"! (Broc Fabrique closes at 6 pm).
swandav: I am hoping to wait no more than 30 minutes in late September and in mid-afternoon on a weekday...think its possible?
Leaning toward skipping Giger Museum and 'just' sipping an Alien coffee at the Giger Bar, but don't anticipate that saving a lot of time.
My #2 reason for visiting IS to taste the relish local specialties, and can't imagine that would take less than 75-90 minutes, so you see how the hours just evaporate! Can the castle GROUNDS be toured without entrance fee? Most comments I have read about the castle focus even more on the views. Interior with intro may have to wait for another visit!
mokka4 is offline  
Sep 4th, 2014, 05:00 PM
  #9  
kja
 
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I don't know if this information will help, but FWIW:

I visited the Cailler factory on a weekday in late May of 2013. I took the 15:58 train from Gruyeres to Broc (via Bulle) and had less than a 30 minute wait for the (mandatory) tour. (I was, however, willing to forgo the tour and tasting if I got there too late; it sounds like your priorities are different!) I thought the tour more interesting than I expected (I hadn't expected much) and the tasting less delightful than I had envisioned (but maybe my expectations were too high, or maybe the options weren't as wide as they might have been if it wasn't the last tasting of the day). YMMV.

Remember that the main part of Gruyeres -- which includes all the places you mention -- is a bit of a way from the train station in Gruyeres (on the order of a 1.5 kilometer downhill walk from the castle to the train station), or there is a bus, but then you need to factor in the schedule....

As I recall, the ticket gate for the castle is at the entrance to the grounds -- but I could be wrong about that! As I mentioned in my earlier post, I enjoyed the castle. And I liked the castle for its interior, not just the views. I found it smaller and less crowded (and therefore more intimate) than the Chateau de Chillon and - at least when I was there -- it included the very very tiny, but interesting, Centre International de l’Art Fantastique. That said, some of the views from the castle were magnificent -- and, as I recall -- many of the best views were not possible from the castle grounds. If I am mistaken, or if things have changed since I was there, I hope someone will jump in to correct me!

Since one if your goals is to sample the regional cuisine, I'll add that I enjoyed not only double-cream-and-meringue, but also raclette and dried meat at Le Chalet de Gruyeres. It wasn't cheap, but it was tasty!
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Sep 4th, 2014, 06:08 PM
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I seem to recall that the only entrance to the castle lets you in to both it and the grounds. We spent most of our time indoors (it turned drizzly after our fantastic lunch on the terrace overlooking the valley) and we happily spent a couple of hours exploring.

Not sure why go for a chocolate tasting - there is every type you would want all over Switz and you can just buy whatever you want when. But perhaps I;ve been to too many breweries, cheeseries, etc - and been pretty disappointed by all of them. Can;t imagine gorging on choc - and without that what's the point. We did LOVE touring Dom Perignon in Eparnay - but we both love champagne and that tour was interesting,
nytraveler is offline  
Sep 4th, 2014, 09:40 PM
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Hi again,

I'm afraid I just can't tell how long the wait will be in late September. If you haven't already seen it, here's what the site itself says:

"General informations

The visit takes 1 hour to 1½ hour.

During July and August, week-ends, bank holidays and on rainy days waiting time might be up to 2 1/2 hours. Thanks you for your understanding.

For hygiene reasons pets are not allowed."

That information is posted here:

http://cailler.ch/en/maison-cailler/visit-us/tarifs/

As for the castle grounds, my recollection is different from the above. I recall walking all over the grounds and behind the castle at least one time before I ever went inside.

I'm another one who would rather visit a chocolate atelier than a chocolate factory. I would be more interested in something like this:

http://www.schuh-interlaken.ch/en/co...hokoladen-show

Or just buying a variety at:

http://www.confiserie-zurcher.ch/fr/.../chocolats.php

You know -- whatever you decide, the day will be special and wonderful -- it's a great and beautiful area. I do think you'll want a return visit!

s
swandav2000 is offline  
Sep 5th, 2014, 01:06 AM
  #12  
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Thanks everyone. Will have to consider long and hard when the day is at hand .
mokka4 is offline  
Sep 5th, 2014, 03:30 AM
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I've been to Gruyeres several times and always enjoy it. I like it best in the autumn, especially when the mountain peaks around the area start to have a bit of snow.

Re Giger, I've done both the bar and the museum. The museum is a bit "hard core" so if you're not a die-hard Giger fan, you can easily skip it. And if your interest is only mild, simply take a peek inside the bar. It's interesting looking but my experience has been that the service, coffee drinks (cappuccinos) and cocktails are not good.

I know you don't have time, but for other Gruyeres fans who'd like to see something similar that's completely off the tourist radar, try Romont. It's a hilltop village with a castle, except the hilltop village is not tourist-oriented, it's a community where people live and work and you can drive through. The castle is home to a very good stained glass museum. You can get to the base of Romont easily by train, but there's no bus to take you up to the top. It's a steep, but not long walk (and there are benches every 50 metres or so along the way).

http://www.vitromusee.ch/en/vitromus...he-castle.html
WeisserTee is offline  
Sep 5th, 2014, 03:32 AM
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Just and FYI, the Swiss McDonalds have a sundae made with warm, dark Cailler chocolate. Not bad!
WeisserTee is offline  
Sep 5th, 2014, 05:54 AM
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Thanks WT, maybe Romont on the next trip (I liked Solothurn so much on my daytrip last year, that I am making it my home base THIS year. So who knows?)
Can't go into McDonalds in Switzerland though--its against my religion ;-) .
mokka4 is offline  
Sep 5th, 2014, 06:06 AM
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Weisser Tee, you've recommended Romont before -- and I'm taking you up on it! I've scheduled a day in Romont on my next Montreux trip in Nov.

s
swandav2000 is offline  
Sep 5th, 2014, 06:23 AM
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Swandav, if you go and the white cat who hangs around the castle comes to greet you, remember you may pet him only three times. On the fourth time, he will take a swing at you. It's his thing -- all the locals know it.
WeisserTee is offline  
Sep 5th, 2014, 08:26 AM
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Another vote for Romont. The location on a hill is very nice, it's rather off the beaten path, and the museum in the castle is very interesting.

Solothurn as a base sounds VERY appealing

Love Gruyeres, too.
Ingo is online now  
Sep 5th, 2014, 09:36 AM
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Thanks for the info, WeisserTee! I love cats; it'll be hard to restrict myself to three pets. Ah well. Looking forward to discovering another gem.

s
swandav2000 is offline  
Sep 5th, 2014, 09:55 AM
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One other thing -- down the street from the castle is the local cemetery (enclosed by the city walls on two sides, as I recall). Great views and photo ops from there. Not a bad place for an eternal rest!
WeisserTee is offline  

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