Medieval Enchantment and Market
Féerie Médiévale et Marchè
03-04 / 10-11 / 17-18.12.2016
Château de Chillon, Montreux (canton Vaud)
Every year the magic of Christmas takes over Montreux in the fairy-tale setting of the Chillon Castle, an architectural jewel with over 1'000 years of history located in an amazingly beautiful landscape along the shores of Lake Geneva, right at the foot of the Alps…
Montreux is a town located on the shores of the Lake Geneva (Lac Léman), at the foot of the Alps in the canton of Vaud, in Switzerland. Originally a Late Bronze Age village at Baugy, the town developed after the Roman Conquest. A Roman villa from the 2nd-4th centuries and a 6th–7th century cemetery witness the importance in the late Antiquity. In the 12th century, viticulture was introduced to the region, and the sunny slopes of the lake from Lavaux to Montreux became an important wine-growing region. Montreux is first mentioned in 1215 as Mustruel. During the Middle Ages the region was subject to various princes, most notably the princes of Savoy, who managed to unify the territory corresponding to the present canton of Vaud and were generally popular sovereigns. After the Burgundian Wars (1474-1477 AD, a conflict between the French Dukes of Burgundy and the Old Swiss Confederacy and its allies) the territory fell under the rule of the Swiss town of Bern until its liberation in 1798 by Napoleon. The Reformation period made the region around Montreux and Vevey an attractive haven for Huguenots from Italy, who brought their artisanal skills and set up workshops and businesses. In the 19th century the golden age of the tourist industry began thanks to the arrival of the railway line and promotion of the region by many famous writers and artists, in particular Jean Jacques Rousseau. The grand hotels of Montreux attracted the rich and cultured from Europe and America at least until the breakdown of the First World War.
A landmark of today Montreux is represented by the Chillon Castle (Château de Chillon), an island castle located at the eastern end of the lake, on the narrow shore between Montreux and Villeneuve, which gives access to the Alpine valley of the Rhone. Chillon Castle, which was founded as a Roman outpost to guard the strategic road leading from Burgundy to the Great Saint Bernard Pass, is today amongst the most visited castles in Switzerland and Europe. While the oldest parts of the castle have not been definitively dated, the first written record of the castle is in 1005. From the mid-12th century, the castle was summer home to the Counts of Savoy, who kept a fleet of ships on Lake Geneva. The later history of Chillon was influenced by three major periods: the Savoy Period, the Bernese Period, and the Vaudois Period, Inside the castle there are several recreations of the interiors of some of the main rooms, one of the oldest being the Camera Domini decorated with 14th century medieval murals. Over centuries the castle has always inspired artists and writers, from Jean-Jacques Rousseau to Victor Hugo and Lord Byron, from Delacroix to Courbet.
Every year for several weekends in December, the magic of Christmas takes over the Château de Chillon, which for the occasion turns into a medieval town to host the “Medieval Magic and Market”, a themed event, which is part of the Montreux Noël celebrations, and provides the many visitors with an unforgettable opportunity to travel into the fascinating world of the knights and Counts of Savoy. Within the walls of the castle, the daily life of the 15th century is accurately and interactively illustrated in all its aspects by the several Historical Reenactment groups. Every weekend a different theme is illustrates, like for example ancient crafts workshops, music performances, displays of warriors and weapons. Living history displays consists in the live-in reconstructions of a typical period kitchen, a grocery shop, a herb shop, drying ovens, a pottery, a smithy, a tannery. The rich programme includes as well several workshops on medieval crafts, such as shoemaking, candle-making, wood-turning, basket-weaving, wool-spinning, calligraphy and many other. All the demonstrations are accompanied by the sounds of the replicas of the ancient instruments. Musicians, jugglers, troubadours and fire-eaters wander around the market stalls, crowded with craftsmen, all dressed in period costumes, while warriors participate in artillery and archery displays. Medieval music and dances, Christmas stories, the Fairies Market, and a wealth of leisure and educational activities await children and adults alike. Finally, the visitors can also rest for a moment around the roaring fire and partake of medieval dishes.
Montreux Noël offers many activities centred around its traditional Christmas Market to please visitors of all ages, who can meet Santa Claus coming directly from faraway Lapland to his house at the Rochers-de-Naye, discover an authentic Christmas Village in Caux, or stroll through the Medieval Enchantement within the walls of the legendary Château de Chillon. Over two decades the Christmas Market has delighted the some 550,000 visitors coming from all over Switzerland and around the world, and reserves them a warm and friendly welcome in a festival of colours that create a magnificent atmosphere in the heart of the Montreux winter.
Please contact the Organizers for confirmation and further details.
Info & Contact
Marché de Noël Montreux
Address: Grand-Rue 24, Case Postale 1401, CH-1820 Montreux
Tel.: +41 (0)21 9652412
Fax: +41 (0)21 9632894
Château de Chillon
Address: Avenue de Chillon 21 - CH 1820 Veytaux
Tel.: +41 21 9668910
Fax: +41 21 9668912
Montreux City Council
Address: Grand'Rue 73 - CH-1820 Montreux
Tel.: +41 21 9627770 - 77
Fax: +41 21 9627789
Address: Rue du Théâtre 5 CP 251 1820 Montreux
Tel.: +41 848 868484
Fax: +41 21 9628486
Image: Marché de Noël Montreux
Text sources: Marché de Noël Montreux, Wikipedia, Montreux City Council, Montreux-Vevey Tourisme, Château de Chillon
Château de Chillon and Montreux on Google Maps:
Video reportages and promos of the event: