Dwight Peck's personal website

Lake steamers and other boats on Lake Geneva
(lac Léman)

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 June 2005

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 2001
MS Vevey, built in 1907, 65.5m long, renovated in 1913
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 2015
SS Rhône, built 1927, 67.8m long, needs total renovation 2015
Helvétie, built 1926, 78.5m long, out of service since 2002 awaiting renovation

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, 2005

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, 2003

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, August 2006

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 and 2008.

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.

The Ville-de-Genève (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

The Vevey leaving Vevey, 29 May 2017

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, 2006

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, May 2011


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, April 2005

The official Web site for the Lake Geneva navigation company is at http://www.cgn.ch.

Tons of additional pictures of and information on the ships on Lake Geneva are on Ian Boyle's site, http://www.simplonpc.co.uk/CGN5.html

The Dessert Liner at Nyon, July 2007

Feedback and suggestions are welcome if positive, resented if negative, . All rights reserved, all wrongs avenged. Posted 1 October 2005, last modified 17 August 2017.

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