Elizabeth of Austria, the empress who was popularised by a film series under the nickname Sissi, escaped the cumbersomeness of the Austrian court by travelling. Between 1893 and 1898 she stayed several times in the Lake Geneva Region.
The Empress of Austria and the Queen of Hungary, Elisabeth of Wittelsbach (1837 – 1898) married François-Joseph of Habsburg and participated in reorganising the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Removed from power because of her liberal ideas, she found solace in her countless travels.
In 1893, she started staying in the palaces in Montreux, Territet and Caux with a large retinue. Suffering from tuberculosis, she was always dressed in black. Preferring the silence of the mountains to the bustling lakeside streets, she was a frequent visitor in Rochers-de-Naye, Caux, Bex or Les Avants. During her visit to Geneva on September 11, 1898, she was fatally wounded by an Italian anarchist, when she was about to board the ship that was to take her back to Montreux.
Two sculptures on the lakeside streets in Montreux and Geneva recall Sissi's presence in Switzerland. The Sissi films, in which she is portrayed by actress Romy Schneider in the Fifties, made her immensely popular.