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Things to Do in Gruyères

Cheese lovers have likely already penciled Gruyères at the top of their itinerary, but the pretty medieval town has more to offer than its long history of cheese making. Boasting an idyllic alpine setting in the Canton of Fribourg, Gruyères is undeniably photogenic, with its sloping cobblestone streets and beautifully preserved medieval buildings. The car-free town lies in the shadows of the 13th century Château de Gruyères, the one-time home of the Counts of Gruyères, and along with exploring the castle, popular pastimes for visitors include hiking in the surrounding hills or visiting the Château de St-Germain, now home to a collection of works by Swiss surrealist HR Giger.

Of course you can’t leave town without sampling some of the town’s namesake cheese and the best way to discover the secrets of Gruyères cheese is with a visit to La Maison du Gruyère. Part factory, part museum, this is one of the town’s top attractions, where you can watch traditional cheese making methods, enjoy free samples or dig into Gruyères Fondue at the on-site restaurant.
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HR Giger Museum (Musée HR Giger)
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Gruyères is a Swiss village world-famous for the production of cheese but this cute little Alpine enclave has an eccentric surprise tucked up its sleeve. Known for surreal and sometimes disturbing paintings, film props, album covers and – most famously – the mechanical monster from Alien, the renowned Swiss artist HR Giger (1940–2014) moved here in 1997, buying the medieval Château St Germain. The following year he opened the world’s biggest collection of his work in a wing of the castle; not for the faint-hearted, Musée HR Giger is no ordinary museum but a fully immersive adventure on the dark side of art, made all the more striking by the chocolate-box sweetness of the surrounding village.

Among Giger’s weird and macabre SciFi models, props, sketches and drawings for the film sets ofAlien,Dune andPoltergeist is some of his graphic erotica, all clearly labeled ‘Adults Only’ and displayed in sepulchral gloom. The exhibition also features a short movie on his life, the Academy Award he won for Alien and artwork from his own private collection, which includes pieces by Ernst Fuchs and Salvador Dalí. Following a tour of the museum, most visitors head to the cavernous Giger-themed bar for a restorative strong drink.

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La Maison du Gruyère
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3 Tours and Activities

Gruyère AOP is one of the most famous Swiss cheeses and has been produced from cow milk in the Fribourg region since 1115; traditionally the dairy herds roam free over alpine pastures and eat fresh foraged grass, which is is said to give the cheese its mellow taste and distinctive grainy texture.

Lying in lush foothills between Bern and Lake Geneva, La Maison du Gruyère in the charming alpine village of Pringy‐Gruyères is a one‐stop mine of information dedicated to the history and making of this gourmet cheese. As well as being a working show dairy where around 40 wheels of Gruyère are made each day, clever interactive displays describe the eight production processes that are vital to producing Gruyère, and how they have been handed down through the generations since the Middle Ages.

It’s easy to spend the day at La Maison du Gruyère; several cheese‐making demonstrations each day give the chance to see master craftsmen at work in the gleaming steel kitchens; slabs of Gruyère crafted in the dairy can be bought in the souvenir shop; the restaurant has a menu of traditional Swiss röstis and fondues; and there’s even a dairy‐themed play park for toddlers. For those wishing to see more of the alpine landscapes around Gruyères, two walk itineraries lead up to the mountain pastures to see the cow herds grazing, with bells tinkling around their

necks.

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Gruyères Tibet Museum

The picturesque little village of Gruyères is best known the world over for its cheese manufacture but it is also home to two very different museums: one is the slightly sinister HR Giger Museum, full of SciFi models and paintings. The village’s second revelation is right next door; the Tibet Museum specializes in spectacular historic art from the Himalayan region and is tucked away in the renovated Chapel of St Joseph in Gruyères’ medieval heart.

Founded in 2009, the Tibet Museum showcases Buddhist iconography, textiles, gleaming golden statuettes and ritual artifacts that were lovingly collected over 30 years by Alain Bordier. Displayed in half-light to a background of serene music, the antique furniture and decorative pieces are of the highest quality from across Himalayan Asia, with many more than 1,500 years old.

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