Places of interest in Montreux
Le Petit Palais
Located just opposite the Montreux Palace, the Petit Palais, initially known as the Pavilion, was built in 1906 by Eugène Jost, the architect who built the Montreux Palace between 1904 and 1906.
A jewel of early 20th century Montreux architecture, the building has a large conference room that can accommodate up to 1500 people, while 150 guests can take their seats in the dome arranged for lunch concerts and other tea dances.
The aim was to create a sports meeting place for guests, who could enjoy roller skating and bowling in the lower room. Later, the Montreux rink-hockey club hosted international competitions.
On the roof of these premises forming a terrace, at the level of the Grand-Rue, a predominantly female clientele gathered in a tea-room and spent their time drinking tea and pastries.
The nightclub "Strobe Club"
This space was later converted into a nightclub in 1968. This was the great era of the "Strobe Club", a fashionable nightclub with psychedelic lights, in which Claude Nobs, still working at that time at the Montreux tourist office, organized parties. Montreux thus had the first light-show with strobe effects on the continent. The place was also the scene of numerous drug cases for several years.
Advertisement published in the newspaper on December 5, 1969:
The success of the Strobe Club lasted three years, until the fatal fire at the Montreux Casino in 1971. The Strobe will then be closed to install a temporary Casino instead, until the reconstruction is completed.
The Hazyland era
Then, the nightclub chain "Hazyland", owned by Hazy Osterwald, the pioneer of Swiss jazz and main shareholder of a company that owns several establishments of the same kind in German-speaking Switzerland and abroad, opened its doors in Montreux on July 1st 1976. The establishments of the "Hazylands" chain are usually arranged in a "western" style, the club of Montreux will respect and preserve the architecture of the building. The establishment will be a "classic" dance hall, no attractions, no disc jockey, but a regularly renewed cabaret orchestra that will entertain the entire city and its many delegates. About two hundred people will be able to take place in the room and one hundred and fifty on the terrace.
In 1991, the Montreux Palace, owner of the premises refused to extend the lease of Hazyland, they immediately requested a dance licence for his Harry's New York Bar (currently named Funky Claude's bar) and located a few steps from Hazyland.
On 10 January 1994, after a stay of execution by the court, which granted it an extension, Hazyland definitively closed its doors. No agreement could be reached between its then operator Claude Friedrich, who took over the management of the establishment in 1979, and the Montreux Palace to extend the lease that expired in June 1991.
Le Petit Palais
The building became the "Petit Palais" in 1994 after renovation work began in January of the same year. They cost nearly ten million swiss francs. The general manager of the Montreux-Palace at the time, Alfred Frei, summarized the two objectives that guided the renovation: "to offer new conference rooms in Montreux and to rebuild the dome in the architectural style of the 1910s".
Le Petit Palais now hosts workshops and events during the Montreux Jazz Festival. In 2016, at its 50th edition, the Festival named its electronic music club the "Strobe Club", in memory of the late disco club that occupied the Pavilion in the late 1960s. The club will be installed for a few years in the gardens of the Petit Palais before finally moving to the 2m2c Convention Centre in 2018.
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