Sunday, January 4, 2015

The Montreux Christmas Market

Shortly after returning home from our road trip to Germany for the Freiburg Christmas Market we found ourselves on the road again, this time en route to Montreux, Switzerland. We were excited to add another new Christmas Market to our current list, as well as to return to one of our favorite Swiss cities. This was our first trip back to Montreux after a few years, and it was just as great as we had remembered.

There's something funny about the ecosystem that is this small Swiss town on Lake Geneva. Despite being surrounded by Alps, it has a somewhat tropical climate. And when I say tropical climate, I mean that tropical plants grow naturally, all year round. Palm trees, on Lake Geneva, while staring at snow capped Alps. You get the picture.

This Christmas Market was very different compared to what we had just left in Freiburg a few days earlier. It was also very different then the other Christmas Market on our Swiss list, Basel. But it was different in a very quintessentially Swiss way. In one word, classy.

Seriously, classy. You won't find many ornaments for sale at the Montreux Christmas Market (I saw about 3 different kinds, with the cheapest being in the 7-9 CHF area for one Christmas ball), but what you will find is a makeshift little "chalet camp" (for lack of a better term), that screams luxury. Log cabins were erected with roaring fires (though as it was pretty warm when we there, only a few were lit), one could choose to drink their cheer and eat their snacks either outside in a festive chalet courtyard, or an "inside" area on the lake, and people congregated en masse. Even the smaller vin chaud stands offered covered areas, decorated in a chalet theme (of course), with heaters. Heck, the port-a-potty was the nicest I've ever seen, and was heated. The Swiss know how to do luxury and comfort, that's for sure.

The style at this market was also different than we've seen at other European markets, with plenty of big fur coats, high high high heels, and leather pants to dot the Christmas Market landscape along the lake. This was reflected in the goods being sold at the market, as there were plenty of leather goods, fur hats, and fancy gloves being sold for the luxury lover on your Christmas list.

We also experienced what was the second most beautiful sunset I've ever seen in my life. (Here was the best.) It really looks like we were in Tahiti, don't you think?

There were artisans at this market as well. This stand featured a glass blower who was making goods on the premises, and he certainly had quite the crowd to perform for. This was as close as I could get to snap a picture.

Something surprising about Montreux's Christmas market? No bratwurst. Yes yes yes I know, it's the French speaking part of Switzerland, but it's a Christmas Market!  What did they have plenty of? Very expensive tartiflette, and churros. Yep, churros. I was unaware that churros were so big in Montreux.

All in all I would definitely return to Montreux's Christmas Market, but more for the people watching and Swiss cheer than a typical European Christmas Market feel. This was no Freiburg, but that's ok. We had a lot of fun, were able to walk the beautiful paths along Lake Geneva under palm trees, and ate some overpriced potatoes and cheese. I also may or may not have procured a set of nesting dolls with Freddie Mercury on it. Winner winner poulet dinner!

Next time I'll remember to pack my leather pants though...

A la prochaine friends...


1 comment:

  1. Looks like such a beautiful town and Christmas market. That family photo with the sunset is definitely one to frame. Gorgeous!