Lake Geneva Region Winter News 2013-2014
The world’s most dramatic balloon festival, hotel renovations, traditional Christmas markets and an opportunity to become a Swiss watchmaker for a day are among the highlights of winter 2013-2014 in the Lake Geneva Region.
Château-d’Oex: The International Hot-Air Balloon Festival
The mountain village of Château-d’Oex will play host to the 36th annual Festival International de Ballons from January 25 to February 2, 2014. Thanks to a remarkable microclimate, Château-d’Oex, has become the world capital of hot air ballooning. It was from here that Bertrand Piccard and Brian Jones took off in their balloon, the Breitling Orbiter, in 1999 and became the first men to pilot a balloon around the world. More than 80 balloons from 20 countries will take to the skies in this magical Alpine setting.
Spotlight on Hotel News
Fourteen new rooms have been built in the French-style garden of the Hostellerie Le Petit Manoir, a four-star property located in an elegant 18th century manor house in Morges. The hotel, which previously had just 11 rooms, boasts a wellness area and Le Restaurant du Petit Manoir. It’s run by Chef Julien Retler, who won the Gault & Millau discovery award in 2012 and was awarded one star by the Michelin Guide in 2013.
The five-star Beau-Rivage Palace in Lausanne-Ouchy, on the shores of Lake Geneva, has just transformed 37 guestrooms. Interior designer Pierre-Yves Rochon, famed for creating the look of such properties as London’s Savoy and Four Seasons Georges V in Paris, is responsible for the design. Choosing the lake itself as the recurring motif for this renovation, Rochon utilized mirrors to bring views of water and more light into the rooms. He even made some bathroom walls transparent so that guests could enjoy the amazing lake and mountains views. By the time work concludes in May 2014, 61 more rooms will have been renovated.
The legendary Montreux Noel, Switzerland’s most famous Christmas Market, extends from the quays along Lake Geneva and up into the mountains. More than 150 craftspeople set up stands in colorfully decorated chalets from November 22 to December 24, 2013. An equally festive market can be found at the Lausanne Christmas Market.
The second annual Festival Lausanne Lumières will light up the streets of the lakeside city of Lausanne from November 22 to December 31, 2013. Artists will create light installations throughout the city center, on bridges, streets and building facades.
Become a Swiss Watchmaker
Swiss precision is exemplified by the country’s legendary watchmakers, such as Lionel Meylan of Vevey. Now Meylan and his son, Julien, have opened their workshop to the public and invited them to sit at a workbench and learn about the fine art of assembling a Swiss watch. No previous knowledge is required, just patience. The workshop, which costs $325, lasts for three hours and is by appointment only.
The Swiss Sports Congress has given official approval to Lausanne’s bid to host the 2020 Winter Youth Olympics. The final decision will be made in summer 2015 by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
The Olympic Museum in Lausanne anticipates it will reopen this winter, after being closed for nearly two years for extensive renovations. This institution promotes the union of sport, art and culture and offers an extensive inter-active collection that documents the history of the Olympic Games. A four-meter-tall Omega countdown clock has been installed at the nearby Place de la Navigation in Lausanne-Ouchy, showing the time left until the Sochi Winter Olympics in Russia in February, 2014 and the Rio de Janeiro Summer Olympics in 2016.
This winter, the alpine ski resorts of Leysin-Les Mosses, Villars-Gryon, Les Diablerets and Château-d’Oex-Rougemont are offering free skiing for children up to age nine. There is also free accommodation for children at selected hotels in these resorts in the Alpes Vaudoises.
For more news and information, visit www.lake-geneva-region.ch