In the quaint medieval city of Gruyères, Switzerland, you may meander the cobblestone streets and tour the delightful old Gruyères cheese factory. But a far more fascinating site here contrasts with the Swiss scenery and piques the modern curiosity. Along the way to the fromagerie is the H.R. Giger Museum, immediately differentiated from its surroundings by the full-sized alien crawling on its façade.
Even if the name H. R. Giger doesn’t mean anything to you, chances are you are familiar with his best known creation. H. R. Giger is the mind behind the titular monsters from the Alien movie franchise, among many other works frightening works of art. Swiss-born, Giger chose the quiet town of Gruyères for his place of residence, and now the town’s medieval walls house a museum dedicated to his works.
The Museum’s interior was designed entirely by Giger himself, in his recognizable cyber-organic style. The Museum is intentionally dark, grim, and slightly disturbing: stepping inside feels like entering an alien’s lair. His oeuvre is available for view, including paintings, drawings, even furniture. The disparity between bucolic Switzerland and the obsessive, bizarre works of Giger will lend a Surreal tint to a day spent in Gruyères.
While you’re in the area, be sure to visit the cavernous “Skeleton Bar,” open 10:00-8:30 daily, opposite the museum. The ceiling is like the inside of a ribcage, with vertebrae twisting along the vaulted ceiling of the ancient castle it is housed in.
A beautiful panoramic photograph of the museum can be seen at the museum’s website.
Know Before You Go
Visit the old Gruyére cheese factory. It is along the same route and very difficult to miss.