My Visit at Chaplin’s World – an Account of the Newly Opened Swiss Museum

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It’s taken me quite some time to finally come around writing this post. Lots of things happened since my visit to Chaplin’s World but it was an experience hard to forget. This newly opened museum is a unique place for every Chaplin fan which we all want to visit some day. I was lucky enough to spend a day in Vevey this July. What I saw, amazed me greatly and I came home with lovely memories that I’m happy to share – even if I’m half a year late!

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This is where we parked our car.

We started out in the car park which is done beautifully and where you can already sense that this is Chaplin’s own universe!

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Above you can see the map of Chaplin’s World. As you can see, it consists of three different lots: the Manor, where Chaplin spent the last two decades of his life with his family, the grounds that connect to it and the newly built studio which was planned for the visitors. One’s first impression is the souvenir shop where one can buy the tickets – and plenty of other Chaplin themed stuff after the entry. More on that later! For now, let’s start with the Studio where we decided to begin our tour.

The Studio

Things I adored:

  • The thematic rooms: a London street, a circus tent, a studio, an editor’s room, a barber shop, a restaurant, a prison room, a bank, a busy street and a music hall setting all in the manner of Chaplin! Sweet memories coming back from all his movies! I was especially fond of the rocking house from The Gold Rush!
  • Wherever you looked, there was a movie going on. You could feel the care with which they were chosen room by room.
  • A couple of hand-written letters and some costumes he used to wear in The Kid were on display.
  • Some of his awards, which I’ve never seen before, were exhibited here, such as two of his Academy Awards and his accolade from the Queen. I was pretty impressed by them.

Things I would have done differently:

  • A bit too much effort was put in the looks and considerably less in the amount of information. That is, I learnt practically nothing new. I suppose this part of the exhibition is for the newcomers – and I’m actually pretty sure that those who weren’t familiar with Chaplin before are going to get interested in him after seeing this.
  • The wax statues were a bit too eclectic for my taste. I was fond of the statues of Charlie and his friends and aquiantance: such as Sydney Chaplin, Douglas Fairbanks, Paulette Goddard, Virginia Cherill, Buster Keaton, Eric Campbell, Jackie Coogan and many more. But I doubt it was the best idea to mix these statues with those of Woody Allen, Michael Jackson and Roberto Benigni.

The Gardens

Things I adored:

  • The wonderful view on the Manor. Lots of photos were taken!
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That’s something I would call a nice place for a home.

Things I would have done differently:

  • Basically everything. This was the only part of Chaplin’s World that let me down. Though advertised as a lovely place for a stroll, the gardens are quite the contrary. In reality, they consist of nothing more but vast amounts of grass, only a few trees and even less benches to sit on. It was very hot when we were on our visit and nothing really protected us from the sun.
  • There were a couple of misty hints on information boards along the pathway at a tennis court and swimming pool that used to be there in Chaplin’s time but nothing was properly explained or reconstructed. It didn’t quite match my expectations.

The Manor

Things I adored:

  • Everything seemed to have been reconstructed with great care. Among the rooms that were shining in their one-time glory was Chaplin’s study and bedroom, Oona’s room, the living room, the dining room and the bathroom.
  • Some of the rooms had new functions, such as the amazing “travelling room” which featured details and videos on Chaplin’s travels around the world, from his World Tour to his later family holidays. My other favourite was the so-called “celebrity room” with amazing photos of famous people Chaplin met in his Swiss years. There were plenty of new things I wasn’t familar with in both rooms.
  • Some family photos I’ve never seen before. They were exhibited in a lovely way!
  • Personal furniture and other objects. I saw the desk where he wrote his autobiography. I saw the bed and chest of drawers which used to stand in his bedroom. But his piano, his violin, his passport and even his camera were on display! It was like visiting his home as a guest!
  • Some interesting abandoned manuscripts could be seen, mostly in his study. Partly hand-written extracts from scripts as well as his autobiography were especially interesting.
  • Home videos I’ve never seen before, running in the dining room and in Oona’s room as well!
  • TIP: Don’t forget downloading the Chaplin’s World app to your phone as I did. It certainly contains lots of useful information, as the brochure with the map is not a really thick one.

Things I would have done differently:

  • In my opinion it wasn’t quite decided whether it wants to focus on Chaplin’s whole life or only the years he spent here. I wish more was revealed of the way of life he carried on in the Manor. Instead, we got some information that had nothing to do with his Swiss years. However, it was informative, and designed with good taste. I think the Manor was definitely the peak of Chaplin’s World.

The Souvenir Shop and the Restaurant

I was absolutely satisfied with what the shop had to offer. I’ve never seen so many Chaplin themed books and DVDs at the same place before! I tried to be moderate, so I came home with a fridge magnet, a mug, a bag and a key ring which I somehow managed to destroy in the course of the previous month. I’m pretty disappointed in my own clumsiness, but it has nothing to do with Chaplin’s World.

As far as the restaurant is concerned, it seems they tend to create one which doesn’t depend on the museum, as there were so many people eating there during lunch time (probably more than the half of them not visitors of the museum) we couldn’t find a place for a cup of coffee. Later on we managed to catch up with it.

Vevey

On a final note, I would like to point out Vevey’s love for Chaplin. In the evening we had time for a short walk at the lakeside and managed to take a couple of photos with Chaplin’s statue.

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The best place for Charlie

My previous dream was to visit Chaplin’s World. It seems I have a new one. I’m absolutely convinced that working in Chaplin’s World as a ticket salesman or muesum watchman would be the perfect summer job I could dream for!

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All of the photographs I included in this aricle were taken by me!

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10 thoughts on “My Visit at Chaplin’s World – an Account of the Newly Opened Swiss Museum

  1. This is so amazing! I didn’t even know that a place like that existed, and I was only ever going to visit Switzerland to see his grave and the homes of Audrey Hepburn and Sophia Loren, but even those I thought I could possibly do without. Now I simply have to go one day and see this!

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  2. Thanks for this virtual tour of this museum. (I feel like I’ve been on a mini vacation!) I’d never heard of it before, but I think it would be well worth a visit now that I’ve read your post.

    I hope you’re seriously thinking of working there for a summer job. You would add so much to a visitor’s experience. 🙂

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  3. Dominique

    I’m very glad you were able to visit the Museum. I visited it on the opening weekend in April last year. Three visits: pre-opening visit on Friday, Gala evening on Saturday night and finally public opening on Sunday. I was a little disappointed to learn that many of pieces of furniture were only copies (CC’s bed for instance). However, I loved the general atmosphere of the Manoir, especially due to Chaplin’s music that is discreetly displayed in every room. Did you have time to visit Corsier: the Chaplin park, and the cemetery?

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    • I was so happy to read your message! Your visit must have been a great experience! I wasn’t actually aware that some of the furniture was copied. It’s good to know! No, I didn’t pay a visit to the cemetery and I’m just not quite sure about what you mean by the Chaplin park. Is there a separate park somewhere in Corsier? I wish I knew more about it 🙂

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      • There’s a park named “Parc Charlie Chaplin” very close from the church and cemetery in Corsier. Inside the park, there’s a sculpture representing the Tramp’s bowler hat and cane. That memorial was unveiled in the 80’s by Lady Chaplin. More recently, a bench with CC’s silhouette has been added (there are benches of that kind all along the banks of the lake of Geneva, representing famous people who have lived there).
        On the way to the Manoir, there are also 2 buildings whose entire walls have been decorated with drawings inspired by CC’s movies or life. I can privately email you pictures of all of that if you wish so.

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      • Your pieces of information are really exciting! Yes, I’ve seen those houses on our way to the museum and I found them absolutely amazing!
        However, this park is totally new to me and I would be really grateful if you could send me a couple of photos of that. I think I know your e-mail address (I can see them if you send me messages on Tumblr) so perhaps I could send you an e-mail first if it’s convenient for you!
        I hope to hear from you soon!

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