Dwight Peck's personal Web site

Summer 2005

Evian and the Ramsar Centre at Pré Curieux


Ramsar study tour to the far side of the lake

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.

26 June 2005: Ramsar staff and hangers on (like Sybille (centre) from the Swiss Government) are visiting Ramsar sites ("Wetlands of International Importance") and potential Ramsar sites along the French side of Lake Geneva, and eating a big lunch in the Pays de Gavot.

Here Rémy Dolques is explaining the way the management of the Dranse Delta Nature Reserve is carried out, between Thonon and Evian on the French lakeside.

An abandoned gravel quarry nestled between the main course of the river and the campgrounds and yacht marina of Ripaille.

Ramsarians and hangers on birdwatching in a determined manner whilst the narrator takes their photo and glances about for a pub nearby, which there isn't.

Whilst viewing potential Ramsar sites at Maravant in the Pays de Gavot near Bernex, the plateau overlooking Lac Léman, we get a nice view of Dent d'Oche looming. Some years ago, the narrator had a scenic annual running route from the restaurant La Fétiuère (1206m) at the lower right up to the pointy little top (2222m) in 1:12:57. "Running" is a relative term, however, since most of the top part is on a fixed chain.

Ramsar and potential Ramsar sites dutifully visited, here we are in Evian, viewing the famous casino from a solar-powered boat on our way to the Ramsar Centre at Pré Curieux.

And that's it, Pré Curieux (or "weird meadows"?), an old mansion refitted by the city of Evian and some French NGOs as a wetland education centre and garden and outpost of the Ramsar Convention in France.

And that's the solar boat. The panels are on the roof. You need to get it back in by nightfall.

Pré Curieux, the Ramsar Centre in Evian

The guide, Sylvain Rochy (black shirt), explains about the slimy things in the pond.

Constructed wetlands all about the grounds recreate semi-natural habitats for local schoolchildren and Japanese tourists.

Ramsar staff hijinks

Returning to Evian, some but not all of us grab an ice cream and watch the Belle Epoque lake steamer the Italie steam out of port. The Italie is the third-oldest of the astonishing 8-ship fleet of Belle Epoque paddle-wheelers on Lake Geneva (Lac Léman), built 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 de jour in elegant surroundings [but now it is in drydock awaiting renovation: 2014].

The Evian lakefront tourist bus chugs by as Camille of WWF waits in line for her Extréme ice cream.

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.

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. More Lake Geneva steamships here.


Feedback and suggestions are welcome if positive, resented if negative, . All rights reserved, all wrongs avenged. Posted 11 January 2006, revised 23 May 2012, 29 August 2014.


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