>>>Chaplin’s World: The Tramp’s Swiss Hideaway
Photo: Chaplin's World™ © Bubbles Incorporated

Chaplin’s World: The Tramp’s Swiss Hideaway

The first museum dedicated to Charles Chaplin, one of the most influential figures in the history of cinema, has opened at his home, beside Lake Geneva, Switzerland.
C
harles Chaplin, son of an English family of music hall artists, and an actor who became famous through the character of a humble tramp, spent his last 25 years at Manoir de Ban, a mansion set in parkland beside Lake Geneva, Switzerland. “With such happiness, I sometimes sit out on our terrace at sunset and look over a vast green lawn to the lake in the distance, and beyond the lake to the reassuring mountains, and in this mood think of nothing and enjoy their magnificent serenity,” wrote the actor and film-maker about the refuge from McCarthyism, where he found peace. The witch-hunt that clamped down on liberal ideas in the United States at the height of the Cold War, led him to exchange Beverly Hills for Corsier-sur-Vevey, until his death, on Christmas Day, 1977.
The film-maker married four times, and three of his children have also worked in the film industry.
Photo: Chaplin's World™ © Bubbles Incorporated

The Studio

The professional side of Chaplin is remembered at the Manoir de Ban Studio, through screenings of his work, and original objects, like his iconic walking stick and hat, and an Oscar he was awarded. Scenes from his most famous films have been recreated: from The Gold Rush to Modern Times and The Great Dictator.

Making Manoir de Ban into a museum to pay homage to one of the best-known figures from the history of film, and tell people about his achievements, has not been not an easy task. In the year 2000, architect Philippe Meylan and museographer Yves Durand launched the idea, and obtained the support of the Chaplin family. “He wanted people to remember him. That was why he was such a perfectionist when making his films,” admits Eugene Chaplin, one of the eight children of the film-maker and his wife Oona O’Neill. Even though the real reason for the project was not the historic reconstruction of just another house, Grévin, the owner of several wax museums worldwide, was also brought in.
After a seven-year wait to obtain the building permit, it took two years to restore the mansion, originally constructed in 1840, and to build an extension and convert the farm and garage into an area for offices, ticket sales, a shop and a restaurant. What’s more, a complaint from a neighbour, not wishing to see their tranquillity disturbed by thousands of visitors, delayed the project for five years, until it was finally opened in 2016.
Chaplin’s career began in silent film, where his physical humour and gestures triumphed.
Photo: Chaplin's World™ © Bubbles Incorporated
Chaplin’s World is an entertaining museum set between lake and mountain, near the Swiss towns of Montreaux and Lausana. Making use of the latest breakthroughs in set design and multimedia, the themed trip around the 3,000 m², designed by Confino, allows the visitor to discover Charlie’s private life, and explore his public figure. In some of the rooms of the mansion, furniture and personal items have been recreated, to show how he lived with his family, their customs and visitors, and the celebrations he would organise.
Charles Chaplin and his wife would often have lunch in the park, under a different tree each day.
Photo: Chaplin's World™ © Bubbles Incorporated
“I spent a large part of my childhood in Corsier-sur-Vevey, where I went to school,” remembers Michael Chaplin, another of his children. “I would often bring friends home to play in the park. I remember how some of them would be disappointed because my father was that old man with white hair. “That isn’t Charlie,” they would say. And it is true that the tramp, whose adventures always ended up on the road, never lived here. But now, in Chaplin’s World, he can finally settle down in a good home.

Related articles

The Alpine splendour of the Grand Train Tour

Who hasn’t dreamed of travelling through lush green scenery, admiring crystal-clear lakes and picture postcard villages? Travelling through the Swiss...

The largest hotel swimming pool in Europe

The Palaffite Hotel stands on the shore of Lake Neuchâtel, in Switzerland. Or in it. Guests stay in the bungalows...

Life behind a mask

In Burkina Faso, FESTIMA, a festival devoted to African masks, is held every two years, featuring parades and ritual dances.

In the heart of the Mediterranean

When you have the likes of Rome and Venice to compete with, you could easily be ignored. But not so...