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Charlie Chaplin museum gains French backer

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Charlie Chaplin museum gains French backer
Charlie Chaplin's former home near Vevey. Photo: Charlie Chaplin Museum
21:20 CET+01:00
La Compagnie des Alpes, a French ski resort and leisure park operator, is set to invest 9.5 million francs in a proposed Charlie Chaplin museum near Vevey in the canton of Vaud, according to media reports.

The information, not officially announced, has filtered through municipal councils in the Riviera region surrounding Vevy, the ATS news service and Tamedia newspapers reported.

The long planned project involves an attraction celebrating the famous silent movie star and director at the home where he lived for the last 25 years of his life.

Chaplin moved to Switzerland in the early 1950s after leaving the United States, where he was accused of being a communist sympathizer.

He lived at Le Manoir de Ban, a mansion in Corsier-sur-Vevey, a municipality located on a hillside above Vevey, where he died on Christmas Day in 1977.    

The canton of Vaud has promised to lend backers of the project 10 million francs interest-free, provided 10 municipalities in the region agree to guarantee the loan up to eight million francs.

The municipal council of Vevey just approved its share of the financial guarantee for the project, while the Montreux council will decide at a meeting on January 30.

Backers of the Chaplin’s World museum, initially launched in 2002, have met legal roadblocks and funding problems in their bid to get the 55-million-franc project off the ground.

Michael Chaplin, the actor’s son, is a supporter of the project, along with other family members.  

Investors from Luxembourg, who acquired the home, are also involved in the project, while Nestlé, whose worldwide headquarters are housed in Vevey, is a partner.

The reported involvement of La Compagnie des Alpes has raised hopes that the project may finally have found the financial underpinning it needs.

The company operates such French Alpine ski resorts as Tigne, Les Arcs and Flaine, as well as the Musée Grevin waxwork museum in Paris and Parc Asterix, a theme park near the French capital.

Under the reported deal, the French company would obtain a 30 year permit to operate the Chaplin museum for 1.5 million francs a year, plus 2.5 percent of its revenues

The museum’s promoter Philippe Meylan said if all the necessary approvals are received, construction on the museum can start in May, the ATS news service said.

Meylan is hopeful the museum can open its doors by late 2015 or early 2016.

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