Visit Evian (Rhone-Alpes, France)
Evian les Bains is a lovely town which sits on the edge of Lake Leman. It is, of course, famous for its spring water. Evian is in the north of the Haute Savoie and Switzeland sits on the opposite shore of the lake. Evian won the award for the best resort in France in the 2011 World Travel Awards.
Evian is a beautiful town which took off with the discovery of its famous mineral and the first baths were built in Evian in 1824. With its position on the edge of Lac Leman - the biggest lake in Europe, and its proximity to the mountains and the building of some fabulous buildings in the early 19th century when baths were all the rage in Europe, Evian now has much to please its visitors. The walk along the lakeside is particularly nice with the lake and views across to Switzerland on one side and some fabulous buildings including the Palais Lumiere, the Casino and the Theatre on the other. You can almost imagine the gentry of the early 19th century promenading up and down along Evian's quays.
The tourist office has a useful map with a walking route of the town which takes in the key buildings.
Some of the highlights include:
The Palais Lumiere
This fabulous building with views out to the lake was built by a Parisian architect at the begining of the 19th century. Its facade is a lovely yellow and white and on its roof is a wonderful square tower and glass dome. Walk up the stairs and in the large entrance lobby there are paintings of nymphs.
Inside, the large hall is a beautiful airy space with coloured light entering through the large stained glass windows. This area was the pump room and water flowed into the red marble basins beneath each of the four statues in the room. Take a look at the floor which is a beautiful wooden polished floor laid out in a star pattern. Upstairs were treatment rooms but these are now function rooms.
The palace is also an art gallery.
Dominating the water-front promenade is the huge Casino. Any Spa Town worth its salt had a Casino in the early 1900s and Evian was no exception. In 1877 Evian was bequethed a 17th century castle which was turned into a Casino. In 1911 this was destroyed and the new casino built. It is dominated by its cupola which was inspired by the Neo-Byzantine style.
Evian's theatre was built in the late 19th century and has a neo-classical facade. Inside it still has its original polychrome and gilded decoration and is still open as a theatre.
The Town Hall - Villa Lumière
The Villa Lumiere has been the Town Hall since 1927. It too is built in neo-classical style. It belonged to Antoine Lumiere whose sons Louis and Auguste who invented the cinematograph. Their work is celebrated in the Museum of Lumiere at Lyon.
Inside the hall and the gilded drawing room (now the wedding room) are open to the public during office hours.
The Cachat pump room
This is a fabulous building and has a wonderful entrance with a cupola of glazed tiles and a huge semi-circular glass window. This was the centre of spa-based social life and contains a reading room and a lounge with the water fountain at the centre. This building is the best Art Nouveau building in Evian and is considered one of the best examples of spa resort architecture in France.
The Cachat spring
The Cachat spring is the most famous of the numbrous springs in Evian and is opposite the Cachat pump room. Its fame began when it cured a mysterious illness suffered by the Baron of La Rochette. The waters of Evian are now famous throughout the world.
Also worth seeing in Evian
Behind the lake front area is the main town with lots of attractive medieval streets, often opening up to give a view over the lake. The market square was the centre of commerce when the lake was a commercial harbour.
Don't miss the musical fountain on Quai Paul Leger next to the marina. A spectacle of water and music that takes about half an hour, the musical fountain is free and operates between May and October.
The funicular railway
Evian still has a working funicular railway. Originally built to take guests between the Cachat spring and the Splendide and Royal hotels it is now open in the summer season for tourists.
Of course as well as tourists to Lake Leman Evian is popular for its spa treatments and Les Thermes Evian have an excellent position opposite the lake.
Close to Evian les Bains
If you are interested in the bottling process of Evian you can visit Evian's bottling plant at their factory between Thonon and Evian.
There is a water garden on the edge of Lac Leman at Evina. The Jardins de L'eau du pré curieux are set in 3.5 km and show various water-based ecosystems. Access is by boat from the Quai Baron de Blonay ( the main quay in Evian).
Boats also leave Evian and take you on a 35minute boat trip across the lake to the Swiss 'riviera ' town of Lausanne. From here you can also take boat trips all along the Swiss lake edge and visit the beautiful towns of Montreux and Vevey and Chillon.
Ripaille castle is 8km from Evian and as well as visiting the 15th century castle and its arboretum you can sample and buy wine from the estate.
Photos of Evian
Click any picture to start the gallery
Tourist classifications for Evian
Evian is classified as a village in bloom (ville fleurie) 4*
Address: Évian-les-Bains, Thonon-les-Bains, Haute-Savoie, Rhone-Alpes, 74500 || GPS: latitude 46.383333, longitude 6.583333
Map of Evian & places nearby
Highlights close by
Thonon les Bains 9km
Suggested tourist attractions to visit near Evian, France
- Jardin d'eau de pré curieux - remarkable garden
- Evian-les-Bains - ville fleurie 4* (2km)
- Le Labyrinthe - Jardin des Cinq Sens - remarkable garden (20km)
- Yvoire - most beautiful village (20km)
- Cascade de la Diomaz - site of natural beauty (21km)
- Roc d'Enfer - site of natural beauty (22km)
- Mole - site of natural beauty (32km)
- Jardin botanique alpin La Jaÿsinia - remarkable garden (35km)
- Voltaire Chateau - national monument (39km)
- Sixt-Fer-à-Cheval - most beautiful village (39km)
Market days in Evian: Regular market(s) are held in Evian each Friday. (Markets are held in the morning unless stated.)
The French version of this page is at Evian (Francais)