Caux in the Belle Epoque

By Andrew Stallybrass

Caux Belle Epoque Andrew Eliane Stallybrass J Coté June 2022


Sunday 19 June 2022 saw crowds of visitors and local people gathering in the park of the Caux Palace for the inauguration of a ‘Caux Belle Epoque’ self-guided walk.

Caux Belle Epoque Andrew Eliane Stallybrass J Coté June 2022
Eliane and Andrew Stallybrass with Jacqueline Coté,
president of IofC Switzerland 

Some 150 people heard Olivier Gfeller, the Mayor of Montreux, officially open the nine information stands. These carry texts and photos in three languages, with QR codes leading to an audio-guide with further information, texts, photos and film clips.

The tour starts at Caux station, with the construction of the railway line, and continues with the Caux Palace and its clientele, the chapels and restaurants of the village, winter sports (bobsleigh, curling, skiing and skating), the Grand Hotel (where the Empress Sissi of Austria stayed), and ends in Haut-de-Caux, just above the Caux Palace.

The Belle Epoque, from the start of the 20th century up to the outbreak of the First World War, was the hamlet’s most glorious period, when it attracted a world elite and many of those days' rich and famous. 

Many of the villagers manning the food stand and offering guided tours were in period costume, and, after the official speeches, a local group offered period dances and music, also in costume. Some 60 people took the opportunity to join guided tours of the period’s two most important constructions: the Caux Palace and the Grand Hotel. The day ended with a performance of Brahms’ ‘Ein Deutsches Requiem’ in the Caux Palace’s theatre as part of the Caux Musical Season. 

The day marked a further strengthening of the sense of shared purpose and destiny between the local community and political authorities and IofC Switzerland, who have owned the Caux Palace since 1946, when they saved it from demolition by turning it into a conference centre.


Caux Belle Epoque banner A. Giovannelli June 2022
On the terrace of the Caux Palace (photo: Adrien Giovannelli)





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