About Gruyeres (the Village, that is)

Gruyères

This past weekend we went on a road trip about 2 hours southwest of Zürich, and found ourselves in the very heart of cheese country – Gruyère of course!  But wait, shouldn’t that be Gruyères as it is written in the above photo?  Truth is, we drove all around la Gruyère, stayed in Gruyères and ate way too much of le Gruyère!  There must be a typo somewhere in there, no?  After being terribly confused myself, having read articles on the region and the cheese in both English and French, I couldn’t figure out who was making the error.  There was no mistake at all.  It turns out there are in fact 2 spellings and even 2 different genders in French.  Here’s a breakdown: Gruyères (plural with an ‘s’) is the name of the village that’s situated in the region of La Gruyère (feminine singular), where you can find the cheese that goes by the same name, Le Gruyère (masculine singular).  Any which way you spell it, it’s a picturesque, medieval town in a beautiful region, and one delicious cheese!  Which, by the way, has no holes… but more on that later!

Gruyères

When you walk up the hill and enter the small town of Gruyères, you’ll be immediately taken in by its charm.  There is only one small cobblestone street, yet there is enough to see, do and taste to fill up your day – and your stomach.

Gruyères

Pick your side of the street with its quaint old houses and hanging signs, and fall into any of the many restaurants offering dishes with local products.  Fondue, raclette, soupe du chalet, croûte en fromage, rösti au fromage…

Gruyères

Gruyères

In all of the above dishes, the cheese of choice is Gruyère of course – the most famous product of this dairy rich region.  Not far behind is the immensely thick and rich double cream that is served atop meringues and fresh berries.  Be prepared to read next all about the multiple fondues we had this weekend (traditional recipe included), the many tons of sugar from those meringues, and the frightful quantity of butterfat from the cream.  For now, I’ll leave you with these images of Gruyères, a village right out of a storybook with its ancient castle to visit as well, rich in history going back over 8 centuries.  Imagine climbing up the dungeon walls and looking out at the valley.  That should work up an appetite on your end for the following posts to come…

GruyèresGruyères

In Gruyères, I’d recommend staying at the La Fleur de Lys, a hotel on the main street with a traditional wooden interior and comfortable rooms.  Just keep in mind that a Swiss “double room” actually just means two single beds pushed together.  A generous buffet breakfast is included and is a great way to start the day – fresh breads, butter, jams and honey, thick Swiss yogurt and of course a selection of local cheeses.  After treating myself to the entire buffet, the waitress still couldn’t believe that was all that I wanted to eat. Completely flustered, I asked her what a typical breakfast was here.  Her answer: fondue.

Hotel Restaurant Fleur de Lys
1663 Gruyères
Switzerland
+41.26.921.82.82
//www.hotelfleurdelys.ch/

You can get a room with a view over the main street, or over the valley, as in the photo below.

Gruyères

12 Responses to “About Gruyeres (the Village, that is)”

  1. Steve says:

    O…M…G… Is that actually the view you had from your hotel room? Please let me know the room number. Just curious, is Gruyeres a “popular” tourist destination? Your pictures are spectaular, and that village is a must see. As for the spellings… way too confusing for a big city boy 🙂 Thanks.

  2. Kerrin says:

    Room #2 ! Thanks for the comment Steve. I wouldn’t call Gruyères a hot tourist destination, but it does get real busy during the summer. Imagine that little street filled with people, restaurants with tables outside in the sun… I’ll have to go back for sure. A few restaurant owners told me during the winter, the town is real quiet – and some hotels even close for a week. The ski resorts steal all of the visitors…

  3. Catherine M. says:

    ah, switzerland. I’ve had such wonderful times there….I can’t believe it’s been almost five years since I’ve been there…time flies so fast….now I’m craving barley soup… 🙂

  4. jk says:

    What a lovely town, we could have spent MUCH more time there…can’t wait to get back! I hope you’re going to mention the very unusual.. bar near the top of the street, too!

  5. Kerrin says:

    jk, you got me! I thought I could get away with not mentioning the bar and museum at the top of the street 🙂 The HR Giger Museum is dark grotesque art meets weird gothic surrealism – not exactly my thing. And the adjacent bar is in the same style. They just seemed so out of place to me, far from the charm of Gruyères. Giger is Swiss and is known for creating the special effects in movies like Alien and Poltergeist. Now does that go with the quaintness of this town?! 😉

  6. Niko says:

    This is cool and educational 🙂 thereby reducing some of the guilt that comes with reading about dessert so much.

  7. Monika N. says:

    Gruyere is well worth a visit indeed. I’ve never seen it with snow, though. Wonderful!

  8. Vera says:

    Gorgeous photos, Kerrin! I so need a vacation!

  9. Jenn says:

    This place looks like a fairy tale! And all that cheese…mmm…

  10. Marie-Isabelle says:

    GRUYERES is really beautyfull under the snow….
    But I just would say that I know another village which is called GRUYERE without “S”. This one is french and takes place in Jura montain. I was there about 37 years ago, when I was visiting my father’s customs !
    Isn’t fun ?

  11. zbjernak says:

    i would be in the freiburg region.. and will stay in charmey, chateau d’oex
    and will visit gruyeres, bulle etc….. on this long weekend.

    intersting, and ur post makes me really want to try the fondue.. hehe

  12. Geoff says:

    I’ve never been to Gruyères in the snow, it looks lovely! But I can vouch for there being a few tourists in the summer 😉

    Great blog btw!

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