Chaplin’s World

, INDULGE

The memories of Charlie Chaplin will live on the shores of Lake Geneva forever.

There is plenty to see and do in the Vevey town of Switzerland, given that it is located in the UNESCO World Heritage Site region of Lavaux and set on the shores of Lake Geneva. You can spend days, even weeks, gazing at the stunningly scenic vistas and exhaust countless memory cards with amazing pictures. And now, Vevey has a great new attraction – Chaplin’s World- a  museum on the estate where the  legendary actor-filmmaker Charlie Chaplin spent the last 25 years of his life.

There is plenty to see and do in the Vevey town of Switzerland, given that it is located in the UNESCO World Heritage Site region of Lavaux and set on the shores of Lake Geneva. You can spend days, even weeks, gazing at the stunningly scenic vistas and exhaust countless memory cards with amazing pictures. And now, Vevey has a great new attraction – Chaplin’s World- a  museum on the estate where the  legendary actor-filmmaker Charlie Chaplin spent the last 25 years of his life. Since the museum was inaugurated last year, it has been visited by thousands of Chaplin fans and admirers from around the world.

It is the first-ever museum in the world dedicated to the life and work of this legendary actor.Into the Chaplin World The sprawling grounds of Chaplin’s World is divided into three parts, which take us on a journey through the professional and personal life of Chaplin.

These are the aesthetically landscaped gardens; his living space,  the Manoir; and the Studio, which presents his cinematographic work and everything associated with it. As you enter the museum, you will be greeted with a short film on Chaplin’s life and work interspersed with famous scenes from his films. The walls of the corridors are lined with displays containing vignettes from his youth.Revisiting the Chaplin ageAs you enter the Studio, you will see wax figures of celebrities who were close friends of Chaplin —  Albert Einstein, Woody Allen and Michael Jackson to name a few.

Besides the life-size photos and other exhibits that you will witness, there are four wax replicas of Chaplin at different stages of his life, in the museum. Bowler hat, tight jacket, baggy pants, boots and multipurpose cane — the clothes and accessories that formed the iconic outfit of the character, The Tramp – that immortalised Chaplin are displayed in a glass cabinet. We looked on with awe at the splendidly recreated film sets at the Hollywood Boulevard.

We recognised many a scenes from the films we had seen-like Gold Rush, The Great Dictator, The Kid, Modern Times, etc. There was an editing room with shelves containing  spools of films. The multimedia displays, which were playing some of his silent films, made the Studio visit evenmore interesting.swiss mansionWe went into Chaplin’s carefully preserved and redone residence which had furniture and other items he had used during his stay there.

There were other relics from his family life, lots of family photographs and a lovely sketch of Oona Chaplin (his last wife). There were pictures of famous people who had visited him. Each room showcased a particular facet of his life. Here, one discovers the man behind the movies! This residence and the Studio together trace Chaplin’s rise in life from a childhood spent in poverty and difficult circumstances to great wealth and fame as a Hollywood legend and internationally acclaimed artiste. We strolled around the verdant gardens of the 35-acre Manoir de Ban enjoying the views which made Chaplin choose this site. We wrapped up our tour with a visit to the gift shop that had a wide array of Chaplin memorabilia and creative souvenirs followed by lunch at the thematic Tramp restaurant.

Words: Aruna Chandaraju; Photography: Charlie’s World

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