[ note: the Christmas market did not happen in Montreux in 2020, due to Covid-19 regulations ]
🇨🇭🎄 « Montreux-Noël » normally runs from the end of November until Christmas Eve (2019 was its 🎁 25th birthday, the first edition having been last century, in 1995!) . . . so let 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 wider🎄 « Montreux-Noël » celebrations) for a very long time, and we finally managed to go en famille four years ago. We were not disappointed; it was quite simply féérique!
What are the highlights of 🎄 « 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 real highlight for us!
- 🧝♀️ La Place des Lutins – the area for families and children is now next to 🎡 La Grande Roue, and 🎄 the giant Christmas tree, with 🎨 workshops for children: chocolate-making, 🕯 candle-making . . . and grilled sausages!
- 🌲 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);
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 21st November until 24th December 2019 (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! / 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 🥎 Musée Olympique, which we all thoroughly enjoyed (see website for more details)! Lausanne is a beautiful city, especially at this time of year, with: 🥨 Bô Noël Christmas market and 🎆 Lausanne Lumières light show;
🗓 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 upcoming article: 🎄 CHRISTMAS MARKETS au Pays du Mont-Blanc and beyond! ]