It’s known that Prince Mahidol and Princess Srinagarindra of Thailand chose to live with their young daughter and two sons, including late H.M. King Bhumibol Adulyadej, in Lausanne, Switzerland. Their Queen Grandmother Sri Savarindira had suggested that the family clan live there to enjoy its fresh air and serenity for the sake of elder son King Ananda Mahidol’s health, and also due to the political unrest at home. To this day, one can still find traces of memories of H.M. King Bhumibol lingering around the city.
Beau Rivage – Lac Léman
It was here that Prince Mahidol and Princess Srinagarindra, King Bhumibol’s parents, stayed for their honeymoon in 1920. It was the most fashionable hotel in town, with its grandiose façade facing Lac Léman on which white swans glided, and the breath-taking snow-capped ranges of the Alps beyond. Brothers King Bhumibol and King Ananda went sailing on Lac Léman during the summers of their happy childhood.
Parc du Denantou
Parc du Denantou is the sweeping park on the banks of Lac Léman. Amidst its lush meadows and greenery sits the fountain called Fontaine des Singes or Monkey Fountains. This sculpture of three monkeys – one closing their eyes, another their ears and the third their mouth – was created by Edouard-Marcel Sandoz in 1934 and became the favourite spot for King Bhumibol during his adolescence to practise photography. Another landmark here is Le Pavillon Thailandais or The Thai Pavilion which was unveiled in 2007 in honour of King Bhumibol’s 60th coronation anniversary.
Lined with numerous blocks of flats, Avenue Tissot was where the Mahidol family resided during their early years in Switzerland. Number 16 was the royal residence which Princess Srinagarindra rented for her family, and which is now occupied by an office. Behind the building is the playground where King Bhumibol, King Ananta and Princess Galyani Vadhana practised riding their bicycles. The three royal siblings were always seen helping their mother carry groceries back home from the nearby market, and at the neighbourhood post office sending letters back to Thailand.
Ecole Nouvelle de la Suisse Romande
Established for over a century this private school, attended by the three royal siblings, is still open. Time cannot wear away its classical buildings and surrounding courtyard and gardens. King Bhumibol attended this school since kindergarten and chose to study French literature, Latin and Greek as his major course, with gardening and woodworking as minors. Both King Bhumibol and King Ananta roomed as boarders for the last two years of their studies here, in order to learn how to live by themselves.
Palais de Rumine
Palais de Rumine once hosted The University of Lausanne from which King Bhumibol graduated. The university moved to the suburbs over forty years ago and the Palais was then reconstructed to house museums, a library and public offices so the public can still appreciate its Florentine Renaissance architecture. King Ananta studied Law, and Princess Galyani Vadhana studied Chemistry. King Bhumibol originally studied Sciences, but changed to Political Science and Law with his sudden coronation. Their mother Princess Srinagarindra attended special classes in Latin, Philosophy, Literature and Sanskrit.
51 Chamblandes dessusv
On the hill above Lac Léman, there was once royal residence named Villa Vadhana Palace situated at 51 Chamblandes dessusv, in the town of Pully. The mansion was a three-storey building with thirteen rooms, garage and basement, and surrounded by fruit gardens bearing apples, plums, peaches, cherries and pears. Although the royal mansion has since been pulled down and rebuilt to become a three-storey block with flats for rent, visitors can still appreciate the beauty of the lake from the same point that King Bhumibol and his family once did.
Presented by Rangsimun Kitchaijaroen
Cover Photo Credit to Dmitri Kessel from LIFE