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The 140-meter-high Jet d’Eau water fountain is Geneva’s most iconic landmark. Translated from the French words “water jet“, it’s basically a huge water jet shooting 200 kilometers per hour into Geneva’s skyline.
One of the world’s biggest fountains, it shoots out liters of water each second.
History of Jet d’Eau
Initially built for practical purposes in 1886, the original Jet d’Eau was used to regulate water pressure. A pumping station that powered local artisans’ machines needed hydraulic pressure released.
It wasn’t supposed to be a tourist attraction, but it became one. The water jet was moved to its current location in 1891; its height also grew to 90 meters back then. In 1951, a new nozzle replaced it, pushing it up to 140 meters.
500 liters of water flow every second. The Jet d’Eau Cabin is lit by thirteen projectors and the rotunda by eight LEDs.
Services Industriels de Genève manages Jet d’Eau, and volunteers switch it on and off every day. The water fountain doesn’t run all the time. At night and when it’s below zero, it’s off.
Best Views of Jet d’Eau
Because Jet d’Eau is so high, you can see it from a lot of places around Geneva.
In my opinion, you can get the best views of Jet d’Eau from Geneva’s lakefront. Walking along the lake will let you see it easily without any obstructions. You can also walk along a 200-meter jetty (Jetée des Eaux-Vives) near Jet d’Eau and see it up close.
Walking from Quai du Mont-Blanc in Geneva Pâquis and crossing the Pont du Mont-Blanc bridge to Jardin Anglais to see Jet d’Eau is worth it.
Don’t forget to try out the Ferris Wheel at Jardin Anglais if it’s running. The Ferris Wheel offers a great view of Geneva’s skyline for a small fee. Views of Jet d’Eau are great from the Ferris Wheel.
The St. Pierre Cathedral’s Towers have a great view, but from a bit further away. You can also see it while hanging out at the nearby beach.
Touring Jet d’Eau
The water fountain runs from the third week of November until the third week of October every year. After that, it closes for about a month for maintenance. If you’re in Geneva during the day when it’s operational, you’ll probably get a glimpse of it at some point.
Jet d’Eau is turned on from 9:00 or 10:00 AM until 10:30 PM or 11:15 PM in the evening. The exact working hours are on the SIG website. The LED lights are illuminated according to specific themes, like yellow for Childhood Cancer Month, green for 10 days against ovarian cancer, etc.
As mentioned, Jet d’Eau runs as long as the weather and situation permit. As an example, Jet d’Eau was also shut down for 12 weeks during the COVID lockdown in Switzerland to protect those who maintain it.
Guided Tours at Jet d’Eau
Tours are available for groups of 10 to 12 starting at 10 years old. The tour happens every day except Tuesdays, one hour before the jet is turned on. Tours last about an hour and are in English and French. Check with SIG and register there.
How to Get to Jet d’Eau
Walking around Geneva’s lakefront is definitely the best and easiest way. It’s also possible to take the bus to Vollandes and subsequently walk 5 minutes to Jet d’Eau. You can also take the tram, but the walk to the jetty will take longer.
|Address||Quai Gustave-Ador, 1207 Genève|
|By Boat||Genève (Jardin Anglais)|
Genève-Quai Gustave Ador
|By Bus||Genève, Vollandes (5-minute walk)|
Genève, Rue du Lac (5-minute walk)
Place des Eaux Vives (10-minute walk)
|By Tram||Genève, Rive (11-minute walk)|
Genève, Terrassière (11-minute walk)
Final Thoughts: Jet d’Eau
The Jet d’Eau fountain is Geneva’s icon. Even though it’s not as tall as Burj Khalifa or Eiffel Tower, it’s still relaxing and scenic.
I loved walking near it or hanging out in an area with a view of it. Lots of tourists love the vibe of the area. I think that you’ll definitely enjoy visiting it.
Lake Geneva is a gorgeous place in Switzerland. The clean, blue-green water, fresh air, and mountainous surroundings won’t let you down.
If you would like to find more activities to do in Geneva, you can also check out GetYourGuide.com.
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Darla Uhl is the owner of TouringSwitzerland.com. Her home is in the German-speaking part of Switzerland. Having lived almost 20 years in Switzerland, she's traveled extensively all over the country.
Darla's favorite regions to visit in Switzerland include Engadin, Lake Geneva, Bernese Oberland, Ticino, and Valais. She loves spending time with her family, hiking, visiting museums, and reading books.