What is it?

The L'Escalade is the most popular festival in Geneva and takes place in the city centre every December as a memory and celebration of proud defence of Genevans from the attack of Duke of Savoy's army. The festival’s tradition began in the darkness of the night on December 11, 1602, when the Duke of Savoy attempted to surprise-attack Geneva with his army, and let his best soldiers secretly climb over Geneva's fortification walls to get hold of the city gate from inside, open it and let his troops in. This is where the word escalade comes from – French word escalade when translated to English means scale or climb. The activities of L'escalade are held annually on the weekend closest to December 11.