Gruyères : practicalities
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Panoramic view of the 'Lac de la Gruyère'  : Click to enlarge picture
Lac de la Gruyère
© Jacques Kuenlin
Trains from Lausanne to Fribourg pass through Palézieux, where you must change for the local GFM trains that wind slowly through the gorgeous countryside to Bulle, and then further on to Gruyères-gare at the foot of the village; it’s a short but stiff walk from the station up the hill to Gruyères, or you could time your arrival to coincide with one of the half-dozen buses a day shuttling between Gruyères-gare and Gruyères-ville. The Palézieux–Gruyères trains trundle on to terminate at Montbovon, on the MOB line between Montreux and Gstaad. If you’re approaching from Fribourg, take a GFM express bus to Bulle and switch onto a train there. One lunch-time bus a day goes direct to Gruyères-ville from Bulle station.

Everything in Gruyères is on the village’s single street. The tourist office is at the car park end (mid-May to mid-Oct daily 9am–noon & 1.30–5.45pm; mid-Oct to mid-May Mon–Fri 10am–noon & 1.30–5pm; 026/921 10 30, www.gruyeres.ch and www.lyoba.ch). There are only a few hotels, all of which take one or two days a week off in the winter, so turning up without a booking is a risky business. Whichever side of the street you’re on, getting a room at the back gives you a view over the valley. The Hôtel de Ville (026/921 24 24, fax 921 36 28, hoteldeville-gruyeres@swissonline.ch; b) is perfectly serviceable, while the pinewood Fleur de Lys (026/921 21 08, fax 921 36 05; c) is a step up in comfort and cuisine. Best of the bunch is the idyllic Hostellerie des Chevaliers (026/921 19 33, fax 921 25 52; c–d), just outside the village above the parking area.

Finding a place to eat is a case of strolling until you spot something or somewhere that takes your fancy. Everywhere offers terraces on both the village-side and the valley-side on which to partake of a substantial range of cheesy delights, as well as bowls of berries slathered in the village’s silky crème-double. The Auberge de la Halle is one of the least pretentious places to get a proper meal, with Fr.17 menus incorporating the house speciality – thick cheesy-vegetable soup. Otherwise, all the hotels offer quality traditional Gruyères and French cuisine, with the Hostellerie St-Georges (026/921 83 00) top choice within the village.

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