Looking for a great place to take the family or out of town visitors? Chaplin’s World, dedicated to the life and times of Charlie Chaplin, could be one for you!

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By Rachel Bristol-Reid

The museum, which opened in May this year, was the venue for this month’s PTA outing.  Set in the former home of Charlie Chaplin, the Manoir de Ban at Corsier-sur-Vevey is about a 50-minute drive from La Chât and proved to be a little gem for those searching somewhere different to visit.

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Mingling with fans of the great filmmaker we were able to admire the spectacular lake and Alpine views from Chaplin’s refurbished former family home, where he lived with his wife Oona and their eight children.

The house, full of memorabilia and photos of the comic legend’s life, remains much as the great film-maker left it when he died in his sleep on Christmas Day 1977, at the age of 88.  But… The house itself comprises just one half of the museum.  In the adjacent 16-metre-high studio visitors can learn about Chaplin’s early humble beginnings in London and his meteoric rise to become one of the biggest names in the film industry at only 26.

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The Manoir de Ban and Chaplin’s library

This is not a dusty old museum, rather a family estate filled to the visible rafters with interactive exhibits, wonderfully recreated sets and embedded film screens.  Visitors can experience what it was like to walk down “Easy Street” or be in a cabin teetering on the edge of a cliff, like in “Gold Rush”.  There are plenty of opportunities to pose for photos, such as in the barber’s chair from “The Great Dictator” or in the restaurant where Chaplin ate in “The Immigrant”… And with the chance to don a bowler hat & cane even the youngest members of your family are sure to be entertained!

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“No-one knew what to expect from this museum but it’s really great to see and a whole lot more than we imagined.  You can tour the museum at your own pace – and it has the added bonus that everything is available in English, French & German” said Jo Perry, organiser of the PTA Outings Programme.

“It’s great to find somewhere different to visit in the Lake Geneva region which could appeal to kids and adults alike…  I’ve certainly had a great time today!!”  Y2 parent.

“Jo has done an amazing job of organizing yet another great PTA outing to a fantastic place… And in the words of Charlie Chaplin “We just love Switzerland more and more each day”” Y3 & Y5 Parent.

It’s been a long while since I watched a Charlie Chaplin movie but watching those old black and white comedies again today has made me laugh out loud – and judging by the giggling of those around me the laughter is contagious…  I’d definitely recommend Chaplin’s World to visitors as a great way to spend a couple of hours.  Thanks for discovering this place and for organising such a great PTA day out Jo!

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Visit: http://www.chaplinsworld.com

For more information about future PTA Outings contact Jo Perry: joper7168@gmail.com

Charlie Chaplin (short biography)

Charles Spencer Chaplin was born on April 16, 1889 in Walworth, South London. He made his first appearance on stage in 1894 in a London music hall to replace his mother who had been taken ill during the performance.

He began his career as an actor on the English stage in 1903. Chaplin toured the United States as a member of the Karno troupe in 1910. Four years later, he made his first appearance in films for the Keystone Studios.

Chaplin’s “Tramp” character first appeared on screen in one of his early Keystone shorts, “Kid Auto Races”, in 1914. The character helped make him a leading Hollywood star. Chaplin founded United Artists together with Douglas Fairbanks, DW Griffith and Mary Pickford in 1919.

He defied the arrival of sound in films with the release of commercial and critical successes, “City Lights” (1931) and “Modern Times” (1936).

In 1947, he was accused of being a communist sympathiser and left the United States for good in 1952, and settled in Switzerland.

He made his last film, “A Countess from Hong Kong”, in 1966. Chaplin returned to Hollywood to receive a special Oscar in 1973. He was knighted by the Queen of England two years later. He died aged 88 and is buried in the nearby Corsier-sur-Vevey cemetery, along with his wife Oona.