Up on the slopes of Montreux sits somewhat Gothic looking Clinic Valmont. Architected by Henri Verrey and established by Dr Henri-Auguste Widmer, specialising in mental illnesses, digestive, nutritional and nervous disorders, the clinic welcomes those who need to get their lives fixed, mostly well-heeled ones.
The building dates back to 1905 and has a history of ups and downs. Downs mostly due to the rich and famous running out of their money during the World War II.
Presently, the clinic maintains an image of a luxury spa-hotel that offers medical services including plastic surgery operations. The restored corridors and halls of the clinic bear a mixture of modern and historical interior features. There are modern and not so modern paintings and sculptures, colourful vases empty of flowers but ready to receive any if such materialise, books in a small and cozy library that faces the lake, and a grand piano in a sitting room before the entrance to the restaurant 'Côté Lac'. The restaurant is open both for patients and public. A good gesture of the clinic no doubt but personally, I would not want to share meals with the rich and famous yet sick and weak clientele of the clinic, but tastes differ as they say. In the corridor leading to the restaurant there is a list of creative and not so creative people, artists, writers and politicians, who had been the clients of the clinic in the past. Among them are Zelda Fitzgerald (the wife of Scott Fitzgerald; she had a long history of mental illness and actually died in Switzerland in a similar to Valmont clinic), George Simenon (French detective writer and journalist), Vladimir Nabokov (Russian-American writer and a former Russian aristocrat), Gustaf Mannerheim (Finish general), Rainer Maria Rilke (a Bohemian-Austrian poet and novelist) and many others. The text commemorating their stays in the clinic is in French.
During our visit we happened to pop in at 1pm or so, and the clinic was bear of any personnel at any of the receptions. The counters were crowned with huge bowls filled with perfect round red apples, the Sleeping Beauty fairytale kind of ones. The medicine scented corridors displayed the same emptiness and undisturbed quietness as the receptions did. Apparently everyone departed for lunch as we were explained later by a mysterious looking cyclist who was not a client nor a member of the staff but who nonetheless emerged from the building with a knowing look.
Even if you are not famous or rich or sick or weak, it is still worth while to visit this historical spot and walk in the park that surrounds the clinic, admiring the lake views and contemplating on the life. That alone might cure you from any mild disfunction.