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Compagnie Generale de Navigation sur le lac Leman offers possibility to travel by boat from one to the other spot on the shore of Geneva Lake. But it is more than just a transportation – being on the boat and "discovering" shores of the lake (both Swiss and French) is marvelous experience, and even the shortest visit to any of the cities, towns or villages on the lake would not be complete without it.
CGN web page offers downloadable time-line but also the information about the company history: "[…] Thanks to Edward Church, US consul in France and a boating enthusiast, Switzerland's first steam ship, the 'Guillaume Tell', made its appearance on Lake Geneva in 1823. CGN was formed in 1873 as a result of a merger between three navigation companies. […] This alliance highlighted the predominance that tourism was to have throughout the Lake Geneva area. Efforts continued to increase the size of the fleet, while maintaining the comfort and speed of transport. […]
Then came the Belle-Epoque, a real high point in tourism. Hotels, palaces and railways became the symbols of a period in which luxury was the order of the day. […]
After the war (WWI), the company enjoyed an increase in numbers again and new vessels were launched. In its weakened position, CGN still had to deal with the appearance and development of the automobile and the severe economic crisis that lasted through the 1930s. In 1940, CGN even suspended its services for three months.
Fortunately, there was a positive outcome. From 1943, the authorities intervened in the hope of seeing CGN's vessels plying the lake once again. The National Exhibition in 1964 provided new stimulus, and the acquisition of new and modern units followed […]".
We enjoyed late summer evening on the boat "Geneva", having a ride from Montreux to Lausanne. It was the perfect way to admire the beauty of the lake, Swiss Riviera, French Alps, Lavaux Vineyard Terraces…
Updated Jan 24, 2010
If you’re about to shuttle in the area of Vevey, Montreux, Chateau de Chillon… the best way to do that is to use the electric city bus #1. It runs on a straight lakeside route from Vevey's funicular station, past Vevey train station, on through La Tour-de-Peilz and Clarens into Montreux town center, on through Territet, stopping by Chateau de Chillon, and terminating in Villeneuve. Buses run to and from every ten minutes, and journey time between Vevey and Montreux is twenty minutes. All the buses are equipped with the ticket machines, so – the tickets can be bought in them.
Updated Jan 17, 2010
Now this is definitely a good train ride! The Train des Vignes , the Wine Train, runs hourly from Vevey’s train station on a short but steep line northwest through the Lavaux vineyards - best time for this trip is during the summer and harvest times. The ride only takes fifteen minutes, through Corseaux to Chexbres and terminating at the village of Puidoux on the Vaud plateau, itself served by trains between Lausanne and Fribourg.
Written May 2, 2005