‘For beautiful eyes, look for the good in others, for beautiful lips, speak only words of kindness and for poise, walk with the knowledge that you are never alone.’
In 2019, I managed to tick off the number one item on my bucket list. I finally, after years of idolising Audrey Hepburn, took the journey off the beaten track to Tolochenaz, Switzerland, where she spent the final thirty years of her life. I’m still in a state of disbelief that I managed to visit the tiny little town, and can’t believe I am even writing this blog post. I can honestly say that Tolochenaz is one of my favourite places I’ve ever visited and can certainly see the charm it held for Audrey and why she chose to spend the latter years of her life there.
From Geneva, we took a train to Morges and visited the local Migros to pick up a bouquet of flowers for Audrey’s graveside: I chose a vibrant yellow bunch of roses. We then waited for the 703 bus toward Lussy-sur-Morges and took the 10 minute journey to the village, getting off at Place Audrey Hepburn. As we meandered down the windy road into Tolochenaz, I spotted the monument in the middle of the tiny square: a statue and plaque commemorating Audrey’s life, and I was so excited! I couldn’t wait to jump off and see up close. We ran over to the square and had a look at the plaque, with words from her son, Sean Hepburn-Ferrer. The statue of her face is scarily realistic, and such an amazing recognition of her presence in Tolochenaz. There was the loveliest little water fountain next to the statue, offering a peaceful soundtrack to the quaint town.
We decided to explore the town itself before heading to the cemetery, and there wasn’t a soul in sight. The whole time that we spent in the village, we did not see a single other person. Normally, I would find this slightly eerie but in this instance, it felt peaceful and relaxing. The village is quintessentially Swiss, with a range of charming terraced houses, small cottages and houses with thatched roofs. A rainy day, most of the local business were closed, however we passed a lovely coffee shop and the one and only restaurant in Tolochenaz that looked typically-Swiss and extremely cute! The town was extremely rural with gorgeous views of Lac Leman in the distance, framed by the snow-capped alps, one of the most breathtaking views I’ve ever seen.
We wandered up the hill to La Paisible, the house where Audrey lived for the last thirty years of her life. Surrounded by high walls and greenery, the top of the house peeped over, giving us an insight into her home. With blue shuttered windows and a thatched roof, it was just as quaint and charming as the photos suggested. We were sure to be as respectful and quiet as possible, as there are now new owners of the house who live there, but it was so exciting to be able to see where she lived and raised her children! There is also a plaque on the outside of the house commemorating her time there.
Finally, we walked five minutes further up the hill and through the underpass to visit Tolochenaz Cemetery, where Audrey is buried. It offered beautiful views of both Lac Leman and Tolochenaz itself, and right behind the cemetery is the famous buttercup field where a lot of photos were taken of Audrey, so that was lovely to see. The cemetery is very small, no more than 20 people laid to rest there, so it was easy to find Audrey. Her grave is utterly beautiful, and adorned with photos, gifts and trinkets from fans of all nationalities. I honestly couldn’t believe I’d finally got to explore the town and see her resting place, it felt like a huge privilege and my roses looked lovely on her grave. Despite it being so rainy, it was an amazing day and one that I will never forget.