When I arrive in Montreux, I get to the Promenade Fleuri as soon as possible. The Promenade stretches from Vevey to Villenueve (it really doesn’t -- there is a one-mile stretch between Clarens and La Tour-de-Peilz that runs next to some large villas that line the lake, but that’s the only caveat, and the villas are beautiful and interesting, so try it anyway!), uniting the resorts of Vevey and Montreux with the Chateau de Chillon and providing a nice but long walk. Along the quais, there are many benches to sit and read or simply stare at the majesty of the lake and the mountains in the distance. These benches are a great spot for people-watching, and I have seen the unwashed fringes of artistic European society stroll side by side -- literally -- with Chanel-suited matrons exercising their little terriers along the quais.
Of course, there are plenty of cafes to enjoy a cup of coffee or a glass or wine along the way to replenish your strength. I favor the café of the Hotel Eden au Lac because it’s in a populated area and the people-watching is prime here. I also favor the La Pavillon café at the Port de Territet for the opposite reason: less traffic here, less activity, calmer. There is a small playground just beside the cafe, and I usually find one or two young families to watch when the spectacular scenery of the snow-covered alps in the distance across the lake bores me. If you have managed to walk all the way to Villeneuve, reward yourself with a wonderful pizza & beer lunch at one of the lakeside cafés in Villenueve (these cafés offer specialties of fresh fish, but I haven’t yet developed a taste for fish . . . )
In addition to the flowers along the quais, the city gardeners construct witty and elaborate sculptures along the promenade, changing their statues every few months. The first one I saw used colorful flowers to represent paint spilling from large cans, with large straw brooms to represent paint brushes; another year there were six-foot spiders in the trees and four-foot ants along the way; one year there were large cows; last November I saw the gardeners working on six-foot godzillas and lizard monsters. Each time I return, I look forward to seeing their latest efforts!
If you are not up to doing the entire length of the quais in one day, the walk is easily divided in two: from the Forum in the center of town (or the Casino), go east to Villeneuve, passing the Chateau de Chillon on one day, and from the Forum go west to Vevey on another day. You can return to Montreux by bus or train, or, if you visit during the summer months, take the ferry for the short trip back to Montreux. The ferry stops running in late September or early October.