At the beginning of this week, Michel Marini went to the city hall to protest against decorations, which he found to be unworthy of a beautiful town like Chamonix. He mainly regrets the famous bear. The big illuminated bear had been placed in front of his shop for three years until it met its end last year when it was decapitated by drunk tourists.
On Thursday afternoon, a large illuminated Christmas ball was installed by three municipal workers at the Place des Alpes, but Michel Marini still feels this is not going to suffice: « Chamonix should be one of the most illuminated cities in France. We receive tourists from all over the world. There should be plenty of illuminated trees. Not to mention that this year they are also removing the animated Christmas market ». A Christmas tradition in Chamonix, the market had been cancelled in November.
There seems to be a general dissatisfaction with the Christmas decorations this year among traders and merchants. « It is not worse than nothing, but there is still no reason to be jolly about it. Last year we had a cable with more illuminations which have been deemed as dangerous and thus removed. », says one trader who wishes to remain anonymous.
Unjustified accusations have been made to three elected officials, Jacqueline Fattier (planning assistant), Michèle Rabbiosi (assistant to the living environment) and municipal councillor, Élisabeth Chays. They argue that the budget for Christmas decorations was not reduced and that Chamonix will be simply beautiful this Christmas: « The budget has been increased since 2017. It is true that the bear had been removed, but its head was broken. The decorations were getting old, it is normal. It is a good thing for the image of Chamonix to have new decorations, especially since there are many tourists who come back every year. »
Traders vs. town hall - who is to say who is right? The final decision might belong to those for whom the city should shine brightly - the tourists. And what do the tourists think of Chamonix during Christmas? The opinions are, of course, divided, with some tourists thinking there should be more decorations, but on one thing most of them seem to agree upon is « Decorations or not, Chamonix is so lovely! »
Decorations or not, there are still plenty of interesting activities to do and beautiful things to see this Christmas in Chamonix, such as the craftsmen's exhibition is Balmat square. Chamonix.net welcomes you to check many wonderful events happening the upcoming two weeks in Chamonix and also activities to be done this winter.