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Tucked in a tiny enclave of Canton Geneva, surrounded by Vaud and also no more than a few kilometres from the French border, gentle CÉLIGNY is about as endearing a rural gem as you could hope to find, enjoying waterside lawns, vineyards all around and through the village, an atmospheric church and château (not open to the public) and an air of undisturbed tranquillity hanging over its fountained square that proved particularly balming for the actor Richard Burton, who spent the last few years of his life here. If you walk up into the village from the tiny station, across the square and then head left, cutting around a parking area, you’ll eventually stumble on the Vieux Cimitière, a damp and mossy grove on the bank of a little stream (the other bank is Vaudois territory) that is Burton’s final resting place.
Céligny’s real treasure is the Hôtel du Soleil on the village square (022/960 96 33, fax 776 08 00; closed Mon eve & Tues), a characterful country auberge with friendly staff that has a wide choice of light, imaginatively prepared food, including delicious fresh perch; menus are Fr.25 or so. You’d do well to reserve a table to eat, especially in summer – the place is well known to the locals and to La Côte’s many expat families – although you might just as well savour the atmosphere over a glass or two of wine on the terrace. A handful of comfortable rooms on the upper floor (b) add to the appeal.
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