Lake Geneva is one of the largest lakes in Western Europe, its shores are shared between Switzerland and France hence its French name of Lac Léman. The city of Geneva, famous for watches, chocolates, banks and international institutions lies at the south-western end of the lake. We flew into Geneva to begin an autumn break that will take in Switzerland, France and Germany.
Upon arriving in the city, it won't be long before you are greeted by the sight of Geneva's towering Jet d'Eau. You more than likely will have spotted it as you fly into the airport. The world's tallest fountain at 140 metres high propels 500 litres of water per second into the air and is Geneva's best known landmark. The fountain commands attention from all around the lake and just begs to be photographed,
A short paved jetty leads out to the fountain and you can get a close-up view along with quite a soaking! From here you get a real sense of the power of the water cascade.
It is worth noting that the fountain is weather dependent; too much wind, freezing temperatures and maintenance will effect operating hours. We were fortunate that the autumn weather was still and warm and the jet ran from around 10am to after sunset. There is illumination of the Jet d'Eau at weekends.
There are plenty of ways to see the city from the lake with hire boats, pleasure cruises and the public transport little yellow water taxis called Mouettes.
A short walk into the old town, Vielle Ville in French, presents you with a labyrinth of small streets and picturesque squares filled with restaurants, cafés and shops housed in beautiful historic buildings. Again the photo opportunities here are numerous. For a different view of the lake, take the 160 step climb up the North Tower of St Pierre Cathedral. You will be rewarded with magnificent panoramic views and a better sense of the lake’s layout.
Another favourite lakeside subject with photographers is the the Bains des Pâquis jetty with its elegant lighthouse. It’s surprising just how many locals plunge into the early morning waters here, braving the autumn temperatures well before dawn. The lighthouse offers great views of the lake and the Alps beyond. You'll find the lighthouse is equally rewarding to photograph either early morning or at sunset when the structure is fully illuminated.
Following three very pleasant days in Geneva, we boarded one of CGN's boats for a cruise to Lausanne. CGN (Compagnie Générale de Navigation) is the largest boat operator on Lake Geneva connecting towns in both France and Switzerland. The decision to sail to Lausanne rather than catch the train was proven to be the right choice. We enjoyed warm weather during the 3.5 hours journey with views extending from pretty harbours and golden vineyards to medieval castles and chateaus. Notably Chillon, Morges, Rolle and Yvoire offered beautiful views and we have noted that a return visit is a must to explore these towns on foot. The snow-covered Alpine mountains were constant companions creating a dramatic backdrop.
Lausanne is the second-largest city on Lake Geneva and is the home of the International Olympic Committee. We stayed overnight, primarily to add our support for daughter Jenny who was running in the Lausanne annual marathon the next day. Unfortunately, mixed weather curtailed some photo opportunities but didn't dampen our spirits. Jenny ran a personal best in the marathon and as we left the city with Lake Geneva in the background I had the feeling that this wouldn't be the last time that we visited the area.
All photos taken on Apple iPhone 7 Plus © Adrian McGarry.