Historic! When Brian Jones and Bertrand Piccard completed the first non-stop flight around the world in a balloon, they took off from Château-d’Oex. It was their third attempt. Breitling Orbiter I, displayed near the Balloon Centre in the middle of the village, is the 1997 capsule used on the first.
1 May 1999, Brian Jones and Bertrand Piccard took off from Château-d’Oex for the first successful circumnavigation of the globe in a hot-air balloon. The flight of Breitling Orbiter III lasted nineteen days and covered 45,755 km. But they had needed three attempts to achieve success. Essential on the way to that final achievement, the capsule used on the first attempt, Breitling Orbiter I, is displayed right in front of the Balloon Centre, in the middle of Château-d’Oex. The Centre’s permanent exhibition relates the adventure of balloon flight in all its aspects: historical, technical and record-breaking, such as that of Auguste Piccard — Bertrand’s illustrious grandfather — who made the first manned ascent into the stratosphere… in a balloon.
In the Pays-d'Enhaut, in the heart of the Vaud Alps, Château-d'Oex enjoys a favourable climate, earning it the title of hot air balloon capital. The station organizes the International Balloon Festival and tells the story of the balloonists at the Espace Ballon, a fun place located in the centre of the village.