TAKE A CRUISE ON LAKE LÉMAN, SWITZERLAND
by Caro from Taste of Savoie
I cannot believe I have lived in the Geneva area for so long (more than 11 years) and had never taken this great day trip on the wonderfully picturesque lake – Lake Léman, one of the largest lakes in Western Europe. Lake Léman or Lake Geneva as it is also known is a crescent shaped lake with a shoreline in both France and Switzerland and is overlooked by the Alps. The lake has a surface area of 580 km² and is 73km in length.
On a glorious sunny day we drive to Nyon in the Canton Vaud to embark the beautiful ship “Vevey” a diesel-electric water paddle wheel vessel built in 1907. She is part of the Belle Epoque fleet that navigates the lake. Nyon is a charming lakeside town in Switzerland with an imposing chateau in the centre of the town high up on the banks of Lake Léman offering great views over the lake.
We cross the lake from Nyon in Switzerland over to the French port of Yvoire, which has an imposing chateau overlooking the lake. Yvoire is a beautiful medieval town with a small marina that really attracts the tourists in summer! After Yvoire it is back across to the ‘Swiss side’ and the delightful lakeside town of Rolle, which also boasts a beautiful chateau. I love walking along the lake in Rolle with my camera! The small island of Isle de la Harpe, which our steamship navigates around can be seen clearly from the shore and small yachts sail in and around.
Having booked first class tickets, which was a worth-while investment to make the most of this special day out; we enjoy the most beautiful views during our cruise from our traditional deck chairs on the top decks and apéros from the bar. Lunch just has to be the classic Filet de Perche from Lac Leman and we dine on the upper deck affording us shade, yet fresh lake air to make the most of the sunshine, blue skies and unforgettable scenery.
The steamship Le Vevey is such an impressive little traditional ship with her paddle wheel encased in glass, original teak decks and impressive sweeping staircases with brass foot plates. You will be mesmerised by the 1915 steam engines and waterwheel going round.
We make brief stops at Rolle then Morges, a lakeside town known for its annual Fete de la Tulipe in spring in the Parc de L’Independance and the Dahlia festival along the lake side in summer. Then onto Lausanne for a stop long enough for a quick walk around the Ouchy area and the park in front of The Olympic Museum.
After lunch we dock at Vevey where we have time to get off and wander around this lovely lakeside market town. I love Vevey – the home of photography! there is a photographic museum here – Musée Suisse de l’appareil photographique and every 2 years a Photography expo is held all around the town, Charlie Chaplin lived here for 25 years and Nestlé have their headquarters here. The Alimentarium museum is an imposing and grand building on the lake front which documents and displays the history of food and has the wonderful fork sculpture in the lake in front. Then back onto the boat and heading towards our final destination of Montreux, passing by the fabulous Unesco World Heritage site of the terraced vineyards of Lavaux. Montreux of Jazz festival fame is an important and busy town on the lakefront. Second home to many musicians, it has a great boardwalk, fun sculptures all along the lake front with probably the most famous statue being that of Freddie Mercury.
After enjoying a walk along the lake and an apéro in Montreux we take the train back to Nyon. Train journeys in Switzerland are another blog post, but suffice to say this is a ‘not cheap’ but a fabulous and relaxing way to travel around and see this amazingly beautiful country.
This really is a most fun and memorable day out and a great way to briefly see the shoreline of the beautiful Lac Leman from Nyon round to Montreux. There are many different cruise options on the lake. We booked our trip online with CGN and there are many options for a day trip and dinner cruises on the Lac Leman.
CGN offers many different cruises: day or night, meal or no meal and more than 20 destinations or just a 50 minute tour on the lake without stop.
Check out this website for more details.