ÉVIAN-LES-BAINS IS ALL ABOUT WATER – OBVIOUSLY!
Évian is the perfect day trip destination and, hands down, has the best tourism concept I’ve seen so far!
If you’re a first time visitor, make the tourism office your first stop and grab yourself one of their great tourist maps. You will find information boards in the form of water drops at every tourist attraction in town. All these sights are also perfectly shown on the map. That way you can easily follow the path through Évian they suggest without missing a thing!
Évian is best explored by foot, as its total area is only 4.3 km2 (1.7 sq mi). Not a fan of walking? Book yourself on the evian® experience: they offer 2h and 4h visits by bus and you can learn more about the evian® company, Évian’s mineral water sources, and the resorts’ history.
Here are my personal favorites in Évian-les-Bains:
The Springs of Évian: Source Cachat
This is the reason why you came in the first place: the mineral water springs that the little town of Évian-les-Bains is so famous for – the Évian water gets shipped to everywhere in the world!
Source Cachat is the spot where you get to taste the famous water. Don’t be surprised when you’re not the only one filling your water bottle at the fountain: even the locals come to get their water here. Prepare yourself to wait in a queue for a bit (it is well worth the wait of course). Can you taste the uniqueness of Évian’s water?
Don’t forget to also admire the Buvette Cachat with its gorgeous façade, just on the other side of the street from the spring.
Belle Epoque Hotels
Luxurious Grand Hotels from the late 19th and early 20th century are still to be found in the spa town of Évian-les-Bains. These hotels hosted many royals over time, and one can easily see why. Some of them unfortunately have been taken down by now, but some hotels are still running today, like the 5-star Hotel Royal.
You don’t necessarily need to stay in one of the luxury hotels to enjoy their beauty though – get your cameras ready for their magnificent façades and entrances.
- Hôtel Royal / Royal Palace
- Hôtel de France
- Hôtel Ermitage
- Hôtel Splendide, formerly named Grand Hôtel des Bains (taken down in 1983)
Église Notre-Dame de l’Assomption
Located directly opposite the tourist office and #1 spot on the tourist map, it is well worth a look inside. Notre-Dame de l’Assomption is a Catholic church and is part of the “Saint-André en Gavot-Léman” parish of the diocese of Annecy. Sunday mass is at 10am (check their website [in French] for more information).
Also, check out the cute little alley Rue de l’Église next to the church.
Climb the Hill with the Historic Funicular
Built in the early 20th century, this electric railway takes you from the lower part of Évian up to where most of the luxurious hotels are located. The free “funiculaire” only operates between May and September, so if you’re visiting in winter (like we did), the steep but short walk up the street next to the rails is also very much worth the effort – you will get rewarded by a great view of the resort town, and you get to see all these abundant hotels of course.
Place du Marché
Take a break from wandering around this beautiful resort town and have lunch in its beautiful marketplace, “place du marché”. Lined with cafés and restaurants and their terraces, soak in the real French atmosphere here, and don’t forget to get yourself a little café gourmande (= coffee and a selection of local treats) for dessert.
If you want to get your shopping done or buy your souvenirs, turn left on the upper end of the marketplace and you’ll find Évian’s shopping street right there (“Rue Nationale”).
Built in 1912, it is now the largest themed casino in all of Europe. Enjoy stunning views of Lake Leman from here, as the Casino d’Évian is located in one of Évian’s prime locations directly at the quays.
Today, the Palais Lumière (“Light Palace”) is a media library and mainly hosts exhibitions. But that hasn’t always been the case: The Palais Lumière has hosted the resort’s famous thermal baths back in the days. Check it out, simply because of its magnificent architecture!
Évian’s Lakeside View
Finish your day in Évian-les-Bains with a stroll along the beautiful lakeside of Lake Geneva. Take your time and relax at the beautiful quays – breathtaking views of the lake guaranteed!
I hope you have a fabulous time in Évian-les-Bains! Let me know how you liked it in the comments!