The lovely lakeside town of Thonon-les-Bains, in the French Rhône-Alpes region, may just offer the perfect holiday package. With an idyllic location on the shores of Lake Geneva, it's also nestled into the foothills of the Alps, and this unique vantage puts it on the doorstep of a vast area of spectacular natural beauty. |
Thonon-les-Bains is just over an hour from Geneva by road, making it an extremely accessible destination. As the busy central hub of transport for the entire Alps region, Geneva International Airport services regular flights from the UK, including numerous budget carriers. The easiest and fastest way to get directly to the door of your accommodation in Thonon-les-Bains is to pre-book a Geneva airport taxi driver to meet your flight and take you the rest of the distance by road.
As the airport is located right on the border, your Geneva airport taxi driver will take you straight out of Switzerland and into France to follow a route to Thonon-les-Bains, parallel for much of the way to the shores of the famous lake. You'll be able to catch your first land-based glimpse of the 140-metre Jet d'Eau (you can also see it from the air as you land) shooting up from the centre of the lake, before you continue through Douvaine, Massongy, and up to Thonon-les-Bain. The scenery along the way is pretty spectacular, with Lac Leman (as it is called by the French) on one side and the dramatic mountainous landscape of the Rhône-Alpes on the other.
Thonon-les-Bains enjoys an elevated position with magnificent views over the lake, so if you're staying in the centre of town, ask your Geneva airport taxi driver to take you for a spin down to the port of Rives, just below, or if your accommodation is lakeside, ask for a quick detour through the centre to get your bearings.
Attractions of Thonon-les-Bains
With its lakeside setting, much of the activity in Thonon-les-Bains revolves around the water, but the town itself has some lovely architecture and several chateaux you can visit.
Chateau de Sonnaz
The town is relatively small and the main sites of interest are easy to navigate on foot. First stop is the beautiful 12th century Chateau de Sonnaz, which is home to the tourist office and also the interesting Museum of Chablais. From here you can take in some wonderful views over Chateau de Monjoux, the port, and across the lake. A short walk away is the crumbling Porte des Lambards, which is all that remains of the ancient ramparts that once surrounded the town.
Eglise Saint Hippolyte
The 12th century Eglise Saint Hippolyte is the oldest church in the town and is built on the foundations of an even older religious site dating back to Roman times. A curious blend of Baroque and neo-Gothic styles, the church has been restored a number of times over the centuries and the walls and ceilings are adorned with intricate frescoed scenes from the Ascension and the life of its namesake.
Place du Marché
Via a short stroll along the ancient Rue Chante Coq (the town's oldest street), past the Chapelle of Visitation, you can find the Place du Marché, which is the real heart of the town. The square is enclosed by a number of beautiful buildings using the unique Chablasien style of architecture.
Half the fun of the lakeside attractions is getting there because, while you can walk if you feel like it, there's a much more refined way of taking you the short distance in the charming funicular, which trundles its way down the hill and into an elegant Belle Époque station. Lakeside, you can take boat trips over to the Swiss side and up to Montreux, relax in one of the many cafes that line the promenade, and experience the sublime relaxation of the famous thermal baths.
The simple request to your Geneva airport taxi driver to "take me to Thonon-les-Bains" will deliver you to a picture-perfect lakeside town with the perfect blend of history, culture, and relaxation. Who could ask for more than that?
Lukas Johannes is a driver for Shuttle Direct, the number one provider of shared and private airport transfers all over Europe and northern Africa. If you’re looking for an affordable Geneva Airport taxi, Lukas and his colleagues can make sure that you and your luggage get to and from the airport swiftly and safely.
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