"If you want peace of mind, come to Montreux." These were the words with which Queen singer Freddie Mercury, who died in 1991, expressed his love for the town on Lake Geneva.
In 1996, a statue was erected on the lakeside promenade in Montreux in memory of the life and work of the charismatic musician.
Freddie Mercury was born in Zanzibar in 1946 to Indian parents. In 1970 he began his career in London with the rock band Queen which remain one of the most important bands in music history.
The singer visited Lake Geneva with the band in 1978 to record the album "Jazz". Fascinated by the breathtaking panoramic views of the Alps and the unique atmosphere of the Vaud Riviera, Mercury acquired a property with a view of the lake and purchased Mountain Studio where "Made in Heaven" – his final album with Queen – was recorded.
Every year, thousands of Freddie Mercury fans from around the world make a pilgrimage to Lake Geneva to lay flowers, letters and pictures at the memorial to the singer. The statue of Freddie Mercury stands in Montreux's market square right next to the lake. It shows the singer in a typical pose with the microphone stand in his left hand and his right fist raised proudly to the sky. Mercury is wearing a military-style jacket and trousers – the outfit he wore at the legendary Wembley Stadium concert in 1986. The three-metre-high bronze memorial was created by Czech sculptor Irena Sedlecká and was unveiled in 1996 in the presence of famous faces such as Montserrat Caballé, Claude Nobs, Brian May and Roger Taylor, as well as Freddie Mercury's family.
As well as the Freddie Mercury statue, Montreux has a wealth of other places of interest. Take your time and stroll along the flat lakeside promenade to admire the fabulous views of the Alpine foothills as well as the exotic flowers that adorn the shores of the lake whatever the season.
The promenade will take you all the way to Chillon Castle, a magnificent waterside castle that is Switzerland's most-visited historical building. Stop off for a break at one of the delightful cafés and restaurants or sit and relax on one of the many benches along the lake shore. The old town centre is also worth a visit with its charming buildings. It is home to the Montreux Museum, for example.