Have you ever heard the song “Smoke on the Water“? It was inspired by an incident in Montreax as it clearly lays out in the first line. In 1971 during a Frank Zapra concert, the casion burnt down due to a fan with a flare. The band Deep Purple was nearby and was inspired to write the song. The casino was rebuilt with a recording studio in it.
The city is known for music, in particular its famous jazz festival held every summer in July, The city is decorated with various music notes, visible in the iron work around town.
I took the cog railway up to Rochers de Naye. There were beautiful views over the lake and a historic hotel along the way. It made a number of stops on the way up to the top of the mountain.
Up at the top was a restaurant and a small gift shop of course. There were a number of hiking trails down and around which would have been interesting to take. I took a small hike around the area up to a radio tower and then in the opposite direction to visit an alpine garden. It was tucked in among the landscape and had plants from all over the world. In the distance you could see a lake with a dam. Also at the top were fenced in marmots for our viewing pleasure.
If you purchase your ticket online you can get a nice discount and also a credit at the restaurant.
On the way down there were paragliders! They came by too quick to snap a photo. There also was a bar at one stop with lots of hikers stopping to have a drink and take in the great outdoors.
Montreax is also famous as the home of the former recording studio of Queen. A statue of Freddie Mercury is right on Lake Geneva. In 1978 they came to the studio to record after a tax law made it better to record outside of London and in Switzerland instead. The band originally formed in 1970. In 1979 Queen purchased the studio. They worked on a number of their albums there. The studio is and was a part of the casino and is right on the water.
The local surroundings and activities inspired some of Queen’s songs, including the Tour de France which inspired Bicycle Race and Fat-Bottomed Girls.
David Bowie lived nearby and worked on a track with Queen one day. You may have heard of it – Under Pressure.
Freddie Mercury apparently didn’t like the isolation of Montreax so much until he began his own health struggles with AIDS. After they finished their innuendo album the band did not tour and instead dove into making their next album to distract Freddie and best utilize him in his declining state of health at his request. Made in Heaven was the result although he never did get to hear the finished product. 20 million copies were sold worldwide and it was their fastest selling album.
Freddie died in 1991, the same day his publicist officially confirmed he had AIDS. The studio was sold in 1993. It now houses the Queen Studio Experience, which opened in 2013. Just outside is the Queen Tribute Wall as well.
The statue of Freddie on the lake was donated by Queen and the Freddie Mercury Estate.
The train ride there was beautiful with tiered vineyards and beautiful countryside.
This was one of the featured aerobic statues around town…