Peck's personal Web site
steamers and other boats on Lake Geneva
A collection of occasional photos of the wonderful boats on Lake Geneva
You may not find this terribly rewarding unless you're included here, so this is a good time for casual and random browsers to turn back before they get too caught up in the sweep and majesty of the proceedings and can't let go.
The Belle Epoque lake steamer the Italie
steams out of Evian, France, in June 2005. The Italie is the third-oldest
of the astonishing eight-ship fleet of Belle Epoque paddle-wheelers on Lake
Geneva (Lac Léman), all constructed between 1904 and 1927 -- built
in 1908, its diningroom is a work of art; Kristin and her friends recently
had lunch aboard between Geneva and Nyon and recommend the low-cost plat du
jour in elegant surroundings.
Another steamer leaving Evian docks -- this is La
Suisse, built in 1910 and, at 78 meters long, nearly the biggest of the
Lake Geneva Belle Epoque fleet. It's 16 meters across at its widest point. 26
La Suisse has got to be one
of the most beautiful ships ever built. It was last renovated in 1971 and
seems to be okay for a while, whereas the Italie (above) will require a complete
renovation in the next five years.
The transcendentally beautiful fleet of Lake Geneva "Belle
Epoque" steamers are presently being renovated and fundraising is well
under way. They are
SS Montreux, built in 1904, 67.8m long, renovated
MS Vevey, built in 1907, 65.5m long, out of service for the moment
MS Italie, built in 1908, 65.5m long, out of service since 2005
SS La Suisse, built in 1910, 78m long, needs renovation within 15 years
SS Savoie, built in 1914, 67.8m long, recently renovated
SS Simplon, built 1915-1920, partly renovated 2005, 78m long, needs renovation
SS Rhône, built 1927, 67.8m long, needs total renovation 2015
Helvétie, built 1926, 78.5m long, out of service since 2002 awaiting
If you want to send money, visit the website http://www.cgn.ch/plain_site/sauvegarde_de_la_flotte.
The Italie arrives to pick up
the luncheon crowd in Rolle, 7 September 2005 [as of 2012, the Italie is out of service in the Lausanne docks].
The Italie and the splendid
gardens of Rolle's lakefront
The Italie and Rolle lakeside,
The Italie, bound towards Genève,
passes the little Henry-Dunant coming into Rolle,
with ritual toots of their whistles.
The Henry-Dunant (built 1963,
50m long, named after the founder of the Red Cross)
The wonderful Belle Epoque Simplon
(1915-1920, renovated 2005, length 78m) pulling into Nyon dock, July 2006.
At 78 meters long, the Simplon
is as long as La Suisse and second in length only to the Helvétie
(78.5m), which is now awaiting renovation and out of service.
The Simplon and the pedalos
boats for hire at Nyon, July 2006
The Vevey at the Yvoire docks,
La Suisse, pulling out of Rolle
on the noontime run, August 2006
La Suisse, gliding between Rolle
shore and the Ile de la Harpe.
La Suisse bound for elsewhere,
La Suisse may be the loveliest
boat ever built
(More photos of the Suisse) (A cruise aboard La Suisse in 2012)
The Rhône (built 1927,
67.8m long) coming into Nyon at 1 p.m., 26 July 2007
The Rhône in July 2007
The Rhône preparing to
cast off, with the NaviBus Coppet waiting to get
in to the dock just behind it.
More photos of the Rhône.
The naval parade, Morges, 20 May 2012
A cruise on La Suisse, October 2012
A cruise on the Savoie, 27 June 2013
Other boats on Lake Geneva
This is the Lausanne, 7 September
2005, obviously not one of the Belle Epoque fleet or even a steamer, passing
between the village of Rolle and the Ile de La Harpe. The Ile de la Harpe,
built in 1844, is the only island in the Lake of Geneva, except for "Queen
Victoria's Tree" near Villeneuve. It's artificial and was intended to
protect the port facility to the west from winds and waves, where wood from
the Jura was loaded onto barges for Geneva.
The Lausanne (built 1991, 78.8m
long) heading back out onto the lake.
The Lausanne coming into Nyon
dock in 2004. Presently, in July 2007, the Compagnie Générale
de Navigation (CGN) operates 17 boats on the lake, including the eight Belle
Epoque steamers, with two new speedy commuter boats due to hit the waves in late 2007
Here's the list.
The General-Guisan (built 1964,
50m long), preparing to ferry us across to Yvoire
on the French side of the lake, 2003
The Lausanne at Nyon
This is the new "grand vedette" Morges (30
meters long, max 200 passengers), inaugurated in Morges on 22 December 2005,
here making the Nyon lunchtime run on 17 January 2006.
The Morges is called the "Morges"
because the town of Morges and Rolle and suburbs put up a big piece of the
circa.3 million francs to get it built. In addition to its quotidien chores
down our way, it's also possible to have an evening fondue and lake cruise
on board in the "upper lake" (the Montreux-Vevey region) on the
weekends. No fondues today -- except for the pilot, the boat is empty.
The vedette, or launch, Col-Vert
(built 1960, 28.3m long) on the lunchtime run to Nyon, 18 January 2006.
The Chablais, built in 1974,
46.1m long, leaving Nyon dock on 26 May 2006.
The Chablais (named for the
region at the head of Lac Léman) was once painted a chaste white, but
now it's the . . . . Dessert Liner, featuring
the Frisco company's "Extreme" ice cream cones.
(launched 1978, length 47m) arriving on the noon run at Nyon pier, July 2006.
Lake Geneva's first "Navibus", the Coppet
(named for a lakeside village between Nyon and Genève), launched in
May 2007, capable of 50km an hour on its route among Nyon, Geneva, and Thonon
and Yvoire in France.
The Navibus is jet-propelled and meant chiefly for commuters -- "Park
'N Splash" to and from Geneva -- and gets to Geneva from Nyon in 36 minutes:
much slower than the highway in the off-hours but twice as fast as the rush-hour
shuffle. The next Navibus, the Genève,
goes into service in October 2007, and the "grand vedette" Valais
will be braving the waves in 2008.
The Henry-Dunant pulls into
Nyon docks as the Navibus Coppet is crossing
back from the French side and . . .
. . . they beep their horns at one another as they pass.
Nyon, 6 June 2007.
The Navibus "Coppet" coming in to Nyon,
April 2008, with the grand vedette Morges moored at Rive-Est.
A different kind of lake boat -- this is the solar-powered
catamaran (solar panels on the roof) that ferries people from the docks at
Evian, France, to the nearby Ramsar wetland education centre at Pré
Curieux, June 2005.
La Suisse passing the Château de Chillon, October 2012
The Vevey pulling out of Montreux, October 2015
Some other steamships
The Lake of Thun
The good ship "Blümisalp"
leaving Thun docks on its way across the Lake of Thun to Interlaken.
What a lovely way to spend the day, July 2006.
The Blümisalp heading out onto the Lake of Thun,
The Lake of the Four Forest Cantons
The "Stadt Luzern"
leaving downtown Lucerne on its way out onto the Vierwaldstätter See.
Four of Lake Lucerne's steamers date from 1901 to 1913, but this one is the runt of the litter, built in 1928.
The Stadt Luzern,
A paddle steamer, the Stadt Wien
("City of Vienna"), on the Danube
near Vienna, July 2003
The American "paddlewheel steamer" out of Alexandria
Bay in the Thousand Islands in the St. Lawrence
River between the USA and Canada, August 2004. The paddle wheel in the back
is a mere affectation; it isn't connected to anything, and it flaps idly about
in the current.
The lake boat near Gandria on
Lake Lugano in Ticino, April 1984.
A festive boat on Lago Maggiore near Locarno,
The Dessert Liner at Nyon, July 2007
and suggestions are welcome if positive, resented if negative,
All rights reserved, all wrongs avenged. Posted 1 October 2005, last modified 10 November 2015.