Across the street (Avenues des Sources) from the free flowing Evian water is the Art Nouveau styled pump room. This was the primary pump room used during the height of the spa era for Evian. The pump room was designed by the same architect that created the current casino, J. A. Hebrard, and was to represent a “water temple.”
Originally built on the site of the first spring (St. Catherine’s fountain before being renamed after Mr. Cachet who owned the property on which the medicinal waters were found), the pump room was built in 1903. The terrace on the Avenue des Sources side of the building used to be enclosed and held morning concerts. There is a belfry on this side of the building as well. Below, on the ground floor and accessible by walking down the side alley next to the building, is the actual pump room, which was a reading room with the fountain in the center of the room. Today is still owned by Evian water and visitors can visit it as well as get information about the water and the bottling plant nearby.
The Source Cachet, the original Evian water source, is located just up the hill from the central pedestrian shopping district in Evian on Avenue des Sources. This is the location where, in 1789, the spring water was ‘discovered’ on Mr. Cachet’s property. Over the years, the fame spring about the curative results for those who drank the water and baths were created in Evian. In 1826, the Duke of Savoy permitted the water to be bottled.
The water is actually not mass bottled in Evian – there is no factory in the town – but rather in the nearby town of Amphion (tours available in the summer). But at the source of the water runs freely and you can fill up your own bottles at any time of the day or night from the source, which is outside and across the street from the Source Cachet – Evian spa, housed in an interesting Art Nouveau building on Avenue des Sources (with its actual entrance on the street below). Check inside this building for details on the tours of the water processing plant.
And for fun, who could forget Evian’s marketing advertisement from 2009, Evian Roller Babies!
With its foundations dating back to 1355, the Hospice Medieval is the oldest building in the town. It sits quietly and obscurely along the pedestrian shopping district with just a simple sign and some flags to give it some notice.
Historically, the house belonged to a lady named Pernette Grenat of Evian who donated her house and financial means to helping the poor and needy, including pilgrims and lepers. Through the years, additional donations kept the charity in operation, although under other names.
Although modified in the 17th century, the building has kept some of its original beauty. The beautiful wooden gothic style doorway has a stone coat of arms at the top and the clock tower was given a gabled roof in the mid-1800s. The building was later made into Evian’s Hotel de Ville (Town Hall), from 1860 until being abandoned for the current city hall. Today is houses community service organizations for the city of Evian.
A favorite spot for visitors to Evian is the casino, located right on the main road (D1005) by the water. Inspired by neo-Byzantine styles, this large domed building stands out since it is so big and well lit.
Historically, the casino was an integral part of the spa town, providing a place for visitors to relax and have some fun. The original casino was built in the late 1800s, but this building was destroyed in 1911, making way for the current building to be built in 1912. The architect was J. A. Hebrard, who also designed the Source Cachet pump room and the Royal Hotel.
If you are into gaming, the casino is open every day of the year and has four restaurants within it. Blackjack, slots, tables are all inside. The staff at our hotel had high praise for one of the restaurants connected to the casino, Au Bureau Pub & Brasserie, located just outside of the casino. We attempted to stop by for drinks one evening, but the place was packed so we walked on by. Perhaps next time we’ll get there earlier and be able to enjoy this restaurant.
The best thing about Evian is its location on the southern shores of Lake Geneva. On a clear day, I can imagine this place is absolutely gorgeous and full of people strolling on the pedestrian pathway beside the lake. We were there over a rainy Easter weekend so the views were not good, but that didn’t keep people from walking along the shores enjoying their holiday.
There is a paved path that goes for a mile or so; it looks like there is construction work to expand this park like area. A children’s playground was full of happy kids on Easter Sunday. There are places to get a snack along the path (open only in the summer time) and the ferry to the other side of the lake is here as well. The pathway is a good place for walkers and joggers alike as it meanders through the park area along the shores away from the busy road.
Don't forget your bottles when you search for the Source (spring) in Evian. There were people with fairly large bottles and when we realized anyone could get water from the spring, we quickly emptied our little water bottle and refilled it. Being the budget traveller, I always buy a bottle of water and then refill it at the hotel sink as we travel. This time I got real Evian and wished I'd had a larger bottle. Sigh . . .
The town is charming, especially on market day. There is a walk along the lakeside with plenty to see and conveniently placed benches where you can sit with a sandwich or an ice cream and watch the antics of the ducks and swans on the lake. People watching is pretty good too.
The Palais Lumiere is one of many beautiful buildings alongside the park and Lake Leman.
It is one that caught my attention with its two tone white and beige stonework, and the square Tower and huge glass Dome.
This fabulous building with views out to the lake, was built by a Parisian architect at the begining of the 19th century. It used to be a Spa building!
The side walls of the entrance porch are decorated with two mounted canvases "Nymphs at the Source" and "Nymphs at the water's edge." Looking into the mirror, it was like looking into a Hall of mirror's!
The main hall with its beautiful stained window's, was once a place of high society that was both an office waiting room and bar. This area was the pump room, and water flowed into the red marble basins beneath each of the four statues in the room. Take a look at the floor which is a beautiful wooden polished floor laid out in a star pattern. Upstairs were treatment rooms but these are now function rooms. The Old Baths have been converted into a cultural and convention Centre of international renown.
The palace is now an art gallery.
They hold exhibition's here all the time, so if you check the website, you can find out what is on.
OPEN... 10:30-7 PM
IF you like lovely architecture, then you must have a look at the Hotel De Ville, which is also known as Villa Lumiere.
The former summer residence of the Lumiere family, this gorgeous villa, built in the Renaissance-inspired French classical style, became the Evian town hall in 1927.
It belonged to Antoine Lumiere whose sons Louis and Auguste invented the cinematograph. Their work can be seen in the Museum of Lumiere at Lyon.
Inside, is the hall and the gilded drawing room, also known as the "Salon Dore or "Golden Lounge", a room with yellow silk curtain's and golden panelling, this is the lovely area where Marriage's are now celebrated!
Don't miss the bronze sculpture, by the Lyon-based artist Pascal Devaux, of a lioness guarding the monumental oak staircase.
Outside, there are some very interesting door's and statues.
Non-guided visits to the foyer, the grand lounge and the "Salon Dore" from 9 to 11 a.m. and from 1:30 to 5 p.m. from Monday to Friday all year long.
Castle Ripaille, to me looked like a big Manor House.
It was built in 1434 by the first Duke of Savoy. Originally, there were 7 Tower's, today, only 4 remain.
These day's, it is mainly a private estate that produces Wine. We saw the vineyard's surrounding the Castle. Some part's of the Castle can be visited
Please check the website for opening times, as they do vary throughout the year.
This is the name of the nice garden's located across the road from the Art Gallery and Town Hall.
This garden area had nice lawn's, Tree's and Shrub's, lot's of Red Rose's and plenty of seating. Just across the road is the view of Lake Leman. I found a nice "Swan" fountain and some sculpture's in the park.
There is plenty of parking by the park.
Another building close by in the same area, is the huge Casino.
In 1877, Evian was bequeathed a 17th century castle which was turned into a Casino. In 1911 this was destroyed and the beautiful new casino with its neo-byzantine cupola was built.
The casino is one of the main place's in Evian to enjoy evening entertainment. The usual gambling games which include roulette and blackjack, plus slot machine's are all here. The casino has a self contained bar and restaurant.
The website gives more detailed information.
The first thing I noticed as we were entering Evian-Les-Bain's, were the Rose bushes.
It was end of May, and they were in full bloom and really lovely. This Town really took pride in the way it looked. Rose bushes were in the centre strip of the road and they were in the public garden's.
Not only Rose's, but the Town had lovely parks with other flower's and some nice bird bath's and fountain's.
What a pleasure it was to be here in this well kept Town.
Should you have a slightly longer visit than us, a couple of things that might interest you:
-visit the Evian bottled water plant in nearby Amphion, the booklet I picked up said the visit (visite usine) was free for individuals between June 12-September 17 at 9, 10:30, 14:00, 15:00. Closed Saturday and Sunday. Email email@example.com
-visit the Casino
-go for a boat ride on Lake Geneva (Lac Leman)
-go for some spa treatments
-visit the Precurieux water gardens
Beautifully situated at the border of Lake Geneva, this is the place to be for gambling, concerts, entertainment.
Casino of Evian
Quay Baron de Blonay LP 8
74501 Cedex Evian-The-Baths - France
Tel.: 00 33 (0)4 50 26 87 87
Instead of paying for overpriced Evian water in bottles, simply go to the public fountain in Evian, with water direct from the spring. Located just a block off the main street in town, behind the Evian offices, you can fill up your bottle(s) with spring water directly from the source.