Christmas Markets in Montreux, Switzerland
Attending at least one Christmas market during the season is a popular activity while stationed here in Rota. For Americans, Thanksgiving weekend provides the perfect time to travel and kick off the season, though many markets – including all of the popular the German markets have not yet opened. Fortunately, the markets in Montreux kicked off on our second night in town. Charlotte was thrilled and kept repeating that we got to spend “THREE NIGHTS at the Christmas markets!!”
Montreux’s markets don’t come close in size to the markets in Strasbourg that we visited last year, but they were just wonderful. Unlike some markets where stall after stall seems to hock the same ornaments and tchotchkes, Montreux seems to take particular care in selecting a variety of merchants from the region. It was more like a craft show that a string of cheap ornaments. I feel like this attention to expensive, higher quality items is in line with what I imagine from Switzerland.
There was food and vin chaud (mulled wine) aplenty. We ate several delicious crepes and a delicious meal of sausage, sauerkraut, and macaroni and cheese. Seriously, this macaroni and cheese made with gruyere and leeks was the most amazing ever. But, to put in perspective the cost of a meal, this one – two plates of meat and kraut, two bowls of macaroni, two waters, and two beers – cost $75! And it wasn’t even in a sit-down restaurant.
The market stalls are all strung along the shores of the lake, so I truly believe the backdrop would be hard to beat at any market. About halfway down the stretch, there was a small playground, which provided a great break to let lose. Due to our advance work, I was expecting to see lights floating on the lake, but none appeared. One of the highlights, however, was that every hour, Santa Claus flew down the shore in his sleigh adorned with many lights. The actual Santa Claus was in this sleigh high above our heads. When he reached his midway point, the sleigh would stop for him to sing and talk to the crowd. For days, our kids sang this catchy, non-familiar French carol. It was fantastic!