🎄«Montreux-Noël»🎄officially opened yesterday, 22nd November, and will run until the 24th December . . . so this is the ideal day for me to share with you MBFF’s experience at this fabulous Christmas event and market, and some astuces too . . .
I had wanted to go to the🎄Marché de Noël de Montreux🎄(part of the🎄«Montreux-Noël»🎄celebrations) for a very long time, and we finally managed to go en famille two years ago. We were not disappointed; it was quite simply féérique!
What are the highlights of the🎄«Montreux-Noël»🎄?
🎄«Montreux-Noël»🎄stretches from the lakeside Christmas market & animations of Lac Léman («Les Quais en Fête»), up to 🎅 Santa’s grotto in Rochers-de-Naye (situated at 2042m altitude, you can reach this by 🚂 cogwheel train from Montreux), and across to the Château de Chillon’s «Noël comme au Moyen-Âge» too . . .
As well as the Christmas market along the quai (comprising 160 chalets, decorated and lit along the lakeside with artisan wares, food, vin chaud, ideas for presents, music . . .), as part of «Les Quais en Fête», you can enjoy:
- the fantastic 🎡 Grande Roue / Big Wheel (a highlight for us!);
- La Place des Lutins – the area for families and children is now next to 🎡 La Grande Roue, with workshops, grilled sausages, the giant🎄Christmas tree . . .) / workshops for children: candle-making, chocolate-making . . .;
- le Village des Bûcherons – with pizza and tea, this is where the local associations meet;
- 🎅 Santa, with his sledge and 🦌reindeer, makes an appearance each evening above your heads at 17h, 18h and 19h (and also at 16h on Saturdays);
- the façade of Fairmont Le Montreux Palace is lit in 3D from 17h to 21h every evening (a new show for this year);
* NEW for 2018 *
- La Maison des Vœux – send a wish to Santa!
- La Place des Lutins – an area reserved just for families, with workshops (CHF 10), grilled cervelas . . .
- L’Espace Gourmand – a whole area dedicated to FOOD & DRINK!
We found that we had enough to do on our visit to «Les Quais en Fête» alone, but you might also want to combine a visit with the other🎄«Montreux-Noël»🎄highlights:
🎅 Santa’s Grotto in Rochers-de-Naye 🎅
Travel on the 🚂 cogwheel rain up the mountain to Santa’s Grotto in Rochers-de-Naye (situated at 2,042m!) . . . meet Santa, get a certificate, see the magical decorations . . . / opening hours: every day (except Mondays and Tuesdays) from 22nd November to 24th December (open Christmas Eve and Monday 24th December!) / the little train leaves Montreux every hour from 9h17 until 15h17 (subject to decent weather conditions!) / more information;
🎄«Noël comme au Moyen-Âge»🎄(Château de Chillon)
There are lutins (elves), jugglers and more medieval characters in the castle grounds, which are beautifully decorated for Christmas / plenty of Christmas aromas, workshops, storytelling, spectacles and festive music! / *good to know – dress warmly, as a medieval castle next to a lake is extra-chilly in December! / when? weekends of 1st & 2nd, 8th & 9th and 15th & 16th December / 10h to 17h / price: adults CHF15, children CHF6 / see Château de Chillon website for more details;
🎄«Montreux-Noël»🎄– MBFF’s advice for families
In order to experience the full magic of the lights, we headed to Montreux in the late afternoon and then stayed until about 20h (we had a little two year old with us back then!) . . .
We did see people with buggies at the market, but personally I was glad to NOT have one, as the market was heaving! Do keep a watchful eye on children and hold onto their hands, for the same reason! Perhaps choose a meeting point (like the very visible Big Wheel), should anyone get lost?
Also, do wrap up warmly; it is especially nippy by the Lac Léman lakeside and on the Big Wheel (we dressed our little one in his ski suit!)!
Getting there and parking
For parking and transport information, see here. There are special car parks set up on the outskirts of town, with free navettes taking you to the market (you will be guided into one of these as your approach Montreux; this is all very well organised – merci, 🇨🇭 Les Suisses!)
We actually bypassed the out-of-town car parks, and ended up parking at Gambetta and decided to walk down the lakeside towards the market . . . the walk took about an hour, but there were playgrounds and sculptures along the way, and it really was lovely . . . on the way back, we took a bus directly back to Gambetta.
Other activities for families nearby
We decided to make a weekend of our visit, knowing that it would be a fairly late night at the Montreux Christmas market. We stayed near Lausanne, and the next day visited the Olympic Museum, which we all thoroughly enjoyed (see website for more details)!
opening hours: the market is open from 10h/11h until 22h/23h, with artisans shutting their stalls at 20h/21h;
To find out more about other magical Christmas markets au Pays du Mont-Blanc, in Haute-Savoie & Savoie and in neighbouring Switzerland and Italy, see MBFF post CHRISTMAS MARKETS au Pays du Mont-Blanc and beyond!