Festival International de Ballons à Château-d’Oex, Switzerland

The official Chateau d’Oex balloon landing

The 34th Festival International de Ballons took place in Château d’Oex, Switzerland between 21 and 29 January 2012.

The festival is one of the greatest gatherings in the world of fans and flyers of the most graceful form of flight imaginable.

Hot air balloons that ranged from remote controlled miniatures to enormous craft shaped like airships took to the air for a week long fiesta of majestic flight in the heart of the Pays d’Enhaut, the most spectacular region of the Swiss Alps.

The nine day programme included daily flights and competitions, opportunities for passenger flights, the stunning night burn with scores of illuminated balloons and the David Niven Cup, awarded to the pilot able to fly the furthest distance.

Here are a selection of photographs taken at this year’s festival.

The iconic church at the centre of Chateau-d’Oex
The take-off and landing spot
Two balloons to the south-east of the town
Take-off, dozens of balloons take part in an afternoon’s flight
A scene from the church high up in the centre of the town