Lac la Mer, or Lake Geneva as the British prefer, is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful scenic attractions in the world, and an area of wonderful ambience. The famous paddle-wheel cruises from Lausanne and Geneva are lifetime memories for those who tour the upper section to Montreux or the lower section from Lausanne to the French towns, particularly Yvoire, with its abundant floral decorations on every building and eventually, after ample champagne and local perch lunch, to Geneva.
Go down by Metro to Ouchy on the lake at Lausanne and catch the ‘all stops’ to Geneva. The first stop is a charming village called St Sulpice, nestled between EPFL (Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne) and the lake, which the boat approaches with a loud ‘toot’ of its air-horn. If you alight you will see in front of you an elegant hotel-restaurant, La Débarcadère, a source of fine food and wine especially enjoyable on a sunny day. Looking a little to the left you can find the church of Sainte-Marie-Madeleine from the 12th century, subject of some controversy concerning traditional catholic services.
Along the promenade you may find locals, such as the famous Swiss-German inventor of dye solar cells, Michael Graetzel, cycling intently. If you are especially lucky you could encounter a short dapper old man of about 91 years strolling along humming a tune that you distinctly recall hearing before. He could be Shahnour Vaghinag Aznavourian, the ambassador of Armenia to Switzerland and the permanent representative of Armenia to the United Nations.
He holds many awards and has a square and museum named after him in Yerevan, Armenia. Another famous Armenian, this time from obscurity of French birth to parents who had survived the atrocities in Armenia 100 years ago. Yet Shahnour was ’discovered’ by Edith Piaf at the end of the second World War and toured with her. He has composed over 1000 songs which he sings in several languages. Of course, he has entertained kings, queens and princes, presidents and countless famous dignitaries. He has been named as the most famous entertainer of the last century, more famous than Elvis Presley.
Charles Aznavour is a real man of great appeal and spirit who may even be admired by those he has helped defeat in his tilts at politics. Despite the effects of 80 years on the stage, Charles Aznavour is still a grand and unmistakable performer. You have been very blessed if you have met Mr Aznavour.