A town located on the French shore of Lake Geneva (southern shore), in the north of Haute-Savoie, approximately in front of the Swiss town of Morges.


Thonon-les-Bains is located on the French shore of Lake Geneva, in the north of Haute-Savoie, in the Lower Chablais region.

With over 30,000 inhabitants, it is the second largest town in the "département" (French equivalent of county or state). Set between lake and mountains, Thonon is spoilt by nature and has cultivated a certain "art de vivre".

Upper town and lower town: between lake and mountains

Set against the backdrop of the Chablais Prealps, Thonon-les-Bains is built on 3 different levels, in a naturally arch-shaped bay.

The upper town is where most of the shops are to be found. From here there is a superb view of Lake Geneva, especially from the panoramic viewpoint. Les Thermes (the spa centre) also overlooks the lake.

The "drop" down from the town centre to the lake and the old quarter of Rives is made via steep narrow paths or on the funicular train, invaluable on the way up. Terraces shaded by plane trees, a long promenade along the shore and en route, the Sailing Club and the municipal beach. Thonon comes to an end at the Domaine de Ripaille, after which there is the nature reserve followed by the mouth of the Dranse river.

Pleasure port and fishing port: the call of the sea

With some 800 boats moored in its pleasure port, it's just like being by the sea. You could almost forget that the Alps are so close by!

The fishing port, which is quieter and nestled behind Rives Castle, has an important role to play for gourmet holidaymakers. In all seasons and all weathers, around ten professional fishermen set off from their picturesque little huts in the village with their nets and hoops to confront the immensity of Lake Geneva. Visitors to the area can enjoy the delicacies of Lake Geneva by sampling perch, fera, burbot and charfish - to be followed by the delights of hearty Chablais cuisine.
This guide features more places in the same region, check them out!
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