Chaplin’s World: celebrating the artist, family man, and citizen of the world

Chaplin's World in Vevey

TEN YEARS in the making, the newly opened Chaplin’s World in Corsier-sur-Vevey wins over visitors of all ages with an immersive look into its beloved subject’s life that cleverly mixes memories, imagination, humour and oodles of heart.

In September 1952, Charles Chaplin left his home in Los Angeles and boarded a ship in New York with his wife Oona and their young children to attend the premiere of his latest film “Limelight” in London. The next day, the US attorney general revoked Chaplin’s re-entry permit largely based on the latter’s political views, which were thought to be pro-Communist.

When Chaplin received the news he cut his ties with the United States and within four months had settled into the Manoir de Ban, an elegant mansion at Corsier-sur-Vevey with a 3.5 hectare estate and stunning views over Lake Geneva.

“Nothing is permanent in this wicked world – not even our troubles.”
– Charlie Chaplin

Here he spent the last 25 years of his life, living and realizing his creative projects in peace, accepted by the local population and revelling in family life and the beautiful surroundings on his doorstep.

Recently, the refurbished Manoir and its gardens were opened to the public along with a new purpose-built, “Hollywood-style” Studio, restaurant and souvenir shop that make up the impressive museum-experience called Chaplin’s World. You could say that America’s loss was Switzerland’s gain.

Chaplin's World museum
Chaplin’s World restaurant (left), ticket office (centre) and purpose-built Studio (right)

The Studio complex – Chaplin the artist

The Chaplin’s World adventure begins in the Hollywood-style “Studio” with a short film that both figurately and literally raises the curtain on Chaplin’s early years of hard scrabble in South London. We see the setting and meet the characters – flower sellers, policemen, street waifs and orphans — that would populate his early films.

In one cavernous room after another we step into the sets of Chaplin’s films — Easy Street, The Kid, The Circus, City Lights, The Pawnshop, The Immigrant, The Gold Rush, Modern Times, Monsieur Verdoux and more. Along the way we learn about Chaplin’s evolution from ensemble cast member to star, to director, editor and studio owner that grew from his unique brilliance, a desire to grow artistically and a relentless pursuit of excellence.

“A tramp, a gentleman, a poet, a dreamer, a lonely fellow, always hopeful of romance and adventure.”
– Charlie Chaplin

Cleverly interwoven in the scenes are some of Chaplin’s comedic peers such as Harold Lloyd and Buster Keaton as well as subsequent generations of performers and directors influenced by his genius: Federico Fellini, Roberto Benigni, Woody Allen and even Michael Jackson.

This might be over the heads of the youngsters on hand were it not for sets that are visually stunning and cleverly interactive: who doesn’t like to break out of prison (with the help of rubber bars), get a close shave, or pose for a photo as one of Chaplin’s famous characters?

There are, of course, photos and film clips, original costumes, posters, magazines and numerous awards to bring us in touch with events that happened almost one hundred years ago but still feel relevant today.

Chaplin's World Manoir de Ban
Garden view of the Manoir de Ban from the extensive grounds that Chaplin loved so much.

The Manoir de Ban – a family home

The next step in the Chaplin’s World experience takes us only steps away into the beautiful manor house that was home to Charlie, his wife Oona and their eight children for 25 years. It’s deeply moving to walk through these private rooms, still furnished with personal possessions and memorabilia and looking as if time has stood still.

Here we find out about the private Chaplin, the family man and citizen of canton Vaud, where he was embraced by the community, as well as Charlie the world traveller and social reformer.

“We all want to help one another. Human beings are like that. We want to live by each other’s happiness, not by each other’s misery.”
– Charlie Chaplin

He crossed paths with the leading minds of his generation and was deeply influenced by their beliefs: his views on industrialization and its effect on the working classes made their way into his film Modern Times, which was unfavorably viewed in US as too political. His masterpiece The Great Dictator, a satire about Adolf Hitler, was perceived as challenging the prevailing tendency towards US isolationism.

Scenes from Chaplin’s World:

In the long term it wasn’t enough for Chaplin to earn fame and fortune. Ahead of his time not only artistically but in his social views, he wanted to make the world a more loving and just one for everyone.

Chaplin’s World brings out all the emotions — sadness, happiness, wonder, curiosity and respect for this man of enormous talent, compassion and vision. Considering Chaplin’s belief that “we think too much and feel too little,” he would have been pleased with what it achieves in his name.

“In this world there is room for everyone.”
– Charlie Chaplin


Chaplin’s World
Route de Fenil 2
CH-1804, Corsier sur Vevey
Open daily from 10am – 6pm except 25 Dec. & 1 Jan.
Practical Information
Chaplin’s World on Facebook and on Instagram

3 responses to “Chaplin’s World: celebrating the artist, family man, and citizen of the world”

  1. This interactive Museum is a must see, not only for Chaplin lovers but for everybody – one can (must) spend hours to fully appreciate Charlot’s films, their themes and their context, all of which are timeless…


  2. I’d love to see this! It looks to be a wonderful mash up of film history, Chaplin’s home and family life and a visit to a beautiful setting. Great pictures, too, Cook!



  3. What an amazing exhibit of his work and life. I’d love to see this next time I’m in Switzerland. It would be a very interesting and fun way to spend a day!


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