Montreux is a municipality in the district of Riviera-Pays-d'Enhaut in the canton of Vaud in Switzerland. It is located on Lake Geneva at the foot of the Alps.
The region was subject to various princes, most notably the princes of Savoy from the south side of the lake. They unified the territory which comprises the present canton of Vaud and were generally popular sovereigns.
After the Burgundian Wars in the 15th century, the Swiss in Bern occupied the region without resistance, an indication of the weakness of the princes of Savoy. Under Bernese rule (1536–1798) it belonged to the bailiwick of Chillon (renamed in 1735 into the bailiwick of Vevey).
Starting in the 19th Century there were three independent municipalities that shared a central authority. This county council was made up of four deputies from Le Châtelard, two from Les Planches and one from Veytaux. The church, the market hall of La Rouvenaz, the secondary school (the building was from 1872 and 1897) and the slaughter-house (1912) were all owned by the county council. Each municipality had its own taxes and a mayor. In 1962, the municipalities of Le Châtelard and Les Planches merged, while Veytaux remained independent.
The Dubliners song "Montreux Monto" on their album Live at Montreux was recorded live at the Montreux Jazz Festival in 1976.
Montreux is the home of Mountain Studios, the recording studio used by several artists. "Bonzo's Montreux" by Led Zeppelin is named after the city where the drums session of John Bonham was recorded in 1976. In 1978, the band Queen bought the studio. It was then sold to Queen producer David Richards. In 2002, the Mountain Studios was converted into a bar as part of a complete renovation of the studio. David Richards has left Montreux to settle down somewhere else.
Queen also appeared in 1984 and in 1986 at the Golden Rose Festival and Queen guitarist Brian May appeared in 2001 at the Jazz Festival. Montreux was also the subject of the 1995 Queen single "A Winter's Tale" on the album Made in Heaven, one of Freddie's last songs before his death on November 24, 1991. The album cover features the statue of Mercury beside the lake.
- Château de Chillon, A historic castle and the country's most visited place, on a small island in Lake Geneva only a few meters from the shore. It was built originally to allow the occupants to extract a toll from people and goods passing between Italy and the rest of Europe on the road north from the St. Bernard pass. The roadway here is wedged between the lake and the cliffs, so there was no way to get around Chillon. The Castle is more famous in modern times for having inspired Lord Byron's poem, The Prisoner of Chillon, based on the true story of François Bonivard, a political prisoner from Geneva who was released in 1536. Byron is said to have carved his name in one of the columns in the dungeon where Bonivard was detained during a few years. The castle is 45 minutes walk from Montreux along the lakeside, or 4 minutes by train.
- Casino Barrière rolls out its red carpet, taking its visitors into a universe of escape, dreams and pleasure. As Switzerland’s first casino, it offers all the cards to spend an unforgettable evening: over 380 coin machines and 25 gaming tables for amusement, three restaurants to enjoy oneself in, two theme bars and some festive activities, and all in an enchanting atmosphere on the shores of Lake Geneva. The Casino also has three banquet and seminar rooms, able to welcome up to 1500 people, with an unbeatable view of the lake and Alps.
- Montreux Museum. At the entrance of the old town, in the former village called Sâles, a group of winegrowers' houses dating from the 17th century accommodate the
Musée de Montreux. Listed in the architectural inventory of the Lake Geneva Region, these adjacent buildings of the 17th century have preserved surprising architectural homogeneity. The Museum Society, founded in 1874, bought these buildings between 1914 and 1920 and presented the first collections of natural science and local farming implements. Today the rooms exhibit collections of numerous and varied objects: coins, cooper stamps, tools for planing and carpentry, traditional utensils, etc. Owing to a recent donation, a beautiful collection of over 2,100 thimbles, as well as countless objects in connection with lace and embroidery works have been incorporated into the museum collection. From the beginnings of history until the tourist age, the museum also proposes a presentation about four topics (history, farming, tourism and hotel business) showing the multiple aspects of the Montreux region.
- Marmots' Paradise. The mountains around Hauts-de-Montreux are threaded with forest trails, isolated villages, caves, grottos, and wildlife. Rochers-De-Naye itself is home to an odd little compound called "Marmots' Paradise" where marmots from all over the world live in an observable system of underground burrows.
- Lake Geneva Shoreline. Taking advantage of the best part of the region’s micro climate, the city’s gardeners imbue the lake shore with colours and perfumes from the many types of exotic trees and flowers. A veritable Montreux speciality, their vegetal sculptures add a most original artistic touch to the whole lakeside area. These ephemeral works of art can be discovered from December to May along the seven-kilometre shoreline.