Place of Crête
In 1792, the first libery pole was erected in Thonon on this square and to make it stand out from the others, the town council appointed Eugène Dessaix to display the following motto engraved in large letters on a square: Vivre français ou mourir (live French or die).
Two centuries later on August 16th 1944, the French flag flew at the top of a large cedar tree as a symbol of the town’s liberation from the members of the Resistance.
The trees on the square, such as chestnut and walnut trees, bring a touch of greenery to it. The walnut trees bear testament to a custom that died out when the Revolution ended whereby a walnut tree was planted on the square each time someone officially became bourgeois in Thonon.
A fountain which was formerly on Place du Château now stands in the middle of the square.
Pre-Revolution, the bourgeois locals came solemnly every year to practice popinjay on the square or “papegai” as it is called here.
This was a popular sport (using a crossbow, bow and arrow or arqubuse rifle) because of what the winner got out of it.
For over five hundred years, the square has built a new reputation for itself by attracting pedlars and traders to the annual Foire de Crête.
There are houses on three sides of the square and two religious centres on the east and west sides (a little old seminary and the Institution de Sacré-Cœur).
The Institution de Sacré-Cœur’s impressive buildings are also worth a look with their Byzantine style chapel.
- In centre of town
- Close to a public transportation
- Car park
- Coach parking
- Pets welcome
- Unguided group tours
- Unguided individual tours