Conquering the skies: a fascinating journey at the Espace Ballon

Majestic in the sky, hot-air balloons symbolise adventure and freedom. Have you ever dreamt of floating above the mountains, carried by a giant multicoloured balloon? Imagine the magic of the shimmering colours of the envelopes, the gentle roar of the burners and the feeling of infinite freedom as you contemplate the landscape spread out beneath your feet. The Espace Ballon in Château-d'Œx, completely renovated and open since January 2024, offers you an unforgettable journey through the history of aeronautics and an extraordinary aerial experience. All with your feet firmly on the ground!

✎︎ Alpes Vaudoises, ©︎ Alpes Vaudoises, ※︎ May 2024

©️Alpes Vaudoises

What we loved ❤️‍🔥

  • Becoming a balloonist for the duration of a virtual reality flight 👀

  • A 100% immersive flight without leaving the ground🤩

  • Discover the fascinating world of hot-air balloons 🔥🎈

  • The perfect family activity 👩‍👧‍👦

Become a balloonist: flight simulator

When we arrive at the Espace Ballon, located in the heart of Château-d'Œx, we start our visit with an activity that's unique in the world: the flight simulator. The objective? Immerse yourself in the skin of a balloonist thanks to a virtual reality helmet. Three gondolas are available for you to try out this extraordinary experience.

The flight simulator gondolas ©️Alpes Vaudoises

With helmets on, it's time to fire up the burners and take to the skies! Before our amazed eyes, we slowly float above the faithfully modelled village and valley. The experience is impressively realistic (to the point of feeling a few shivers of vertigo!). It is then time to learn how to dose the heat injected into the burners to attempt a soft landing. Feeling a little "floating", we reluctantly take off our helmets and continue our tour of this amazing place.

A totally immersive 4-season journey

We now head for the second Espace Ballon simulator, located behind the envelope that majestically a six-meter diameter screen. The 20 kilos of fabric and air in the envelope, together with 6 spotlights, take us on a journey through the seasons, as they pass before our astonished eyes. Sounds, smells, - nothing is left to chance to give visitors a total immersion in the landscapes of the Pays-d'Enhaut, and we even get to go inside a mountain chalet during the preparation of the famous Etivaz PDO cheese!

Total immersion in the landscapes of the Pays-d'Enhaut ©️Alpes Vaudoises

Bertrand Piccard and Brian Jones's round-the-world balloon flight

The next part of our tour is dedicated to the feat achieved by the two balloonists in 1999: a non-stop round-the-world flight in a hot-air balloon. They set off from Château-d'Œx on 1 March 1999 aboard the Breitling Orbiter 3 and landed near Dakka in Egypt after a 20-day flight. A series of short films and archive images take us through the stages of this extraordinary journey.

The space dedicated to Piccard and Jones' exploit ©️Alpes Vaudoises

The pioneers of the sky: history of the first balloon flights

The tour continues, using a variety of multimedia aids to discover the history, technology and scientific advances that made it possible to take to the skies and float gracefully in the air, all in a space designed to combine fun learning with immersive experiences.

The envelope behind which the 4D simulator is hidden ©️Alpes Vaudoises

The visit ends with a visit to the museum shop, which offers a wide range of related products (with a special mention for the wooden cutting board in the shape of a hot-air balloon), which will delight all lovers of these elegant and always somewhat mysterious balloons.

An aerial board where you can savour delicious local products ©️Alpes Vaudoises

Practical Information

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