Begin by exploring the Grand-Place, a mammoth market plaza, the town's nerve center and largest parking lot, facing Lac Léman. The corn exchange on the north dates from the early 19th century. As you walk in this area and along the quay, you'll enjoy views of the Savoy Alps.
For a slice of local life, head for the Café de La Clef, 25, rue de Conseil (tel. 021/921-22-53; www.clefdesol.ch), where Jean Jacques Rousseau stayed in 1730. This is the landmark cafe of Vevey, and over the years it's seen a parade of who's who from Oona Chaplin to Le Corbusier. As you drink your libation, you can enjoy views of the pillared marketplace out front. The decor is dowdy and unfashionable, just how the habitués like it. If you're around at lunchtime, drop in for local Swiss specialties, including lake fish such as perch or even a fondue in winter.
Church of St. Martin, boulevard St-Martin (no phone), dating from the 10th century, is on a belvedere overlooking the resort. It has a large rectangular tower with four turrets, and there's a good view of Vevey from the tower. Its interior has a dusty-looking collection of excavations that, along with the church itself, is always open.
A statue by John Doubleday on the new square Chaplin, quai Perdonnet, commemorates the area's most illustrious former resident, Charlie Chaplin. Chaplin moved here from the United States in 1952 with his young wife, Oona O'Neill, in part to escape accusations of Communist sympathies. Except for brief interludes, he remained in Vevey until his death in 1977. When he died, he was considered a popular, unpretentious (and fabulously wealthy) local citizen. The life-size statue erected in his honor represents the little tramp in baggy pants -- the character Chaplin made famous -- gazing out at his favorite view of Lake Geneva and the Alps in the distance.
Chaplin actually lived in the little village of Corsier, above Vevey, which dates from the 2nd century. Its church is thought to have been established by the Abbey of St. Maurice; inside you can see some 15th-century paintings. Villagers dedicated a park to their famous resident. Although the stately villa he occupied cannot be visited, the comedian is buried in the cemetery (Cimetière de Corsier), a 3-minute walk downhill from the village. Bus nos. 11 and 12 go from Vevey to Corsier.
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