Located at the very heart of the harbour area, the Jet d’eau is the emblem of the City of Geneva and its main tourist attraction. It is an integral part of the landscape and occupies a special place in the locals’ hearts.
The Jet d'eau: from the Coulouvrenière hydraulic factory to the harbour
In 1886, a Geneva-based company pumped and distributed pressurised water for use by craftsmen’s machines. In the evening, demand would fall and to reduce the pressure in the pipes, there was an opening at the very end of the Coulouvrenière pumping station. A water jet would spout a few metres into the air.
In 1891, the City of Geneva decided to install this water jet in the harbour, accompanied by electric lighting. However, it was only from 1930 that it was illuminated on a regular basis.
How it works
Projecting half a cubic metre of water per second 140 metres into the air requires two powerful motor pumps weighing more than 16 tonnes in total and supplied with some 2,400 volts, generating almost 1,000 kilowatts of power. The water, drawn from a circular basin, is pushed towards the outlet nozzle where it reaches a speed of 200 km/h.
Drops blown by the wind sometimes reach the Bains des Pâquis, considered by many as the best vantage point to admire the Jet d’eau from the other shore. Some like to watch the show from one of the towers of the Cathedral Saint-Pierre. Others prefer the nearby Jardin anglais. Visitors who don't mind getting wet can take a much closer look from the jetty only a few metres from the base of the outlet nozzle.
It is nevertheless at night that the Jet d’eau can be seen in all its splendour, thanks to a sophisticated lighting system. Its snowy appearance, resulting from the presence of millions of minute air bubbles, is in complete contrast with the surrounding darkness, lending the monument a magical aura.
The Jardin anglais
On the southern shore of Lake Geneva, only a stone’s throw from the Jet d'eau and close to the luxury boutiques of the old town, the Jardin anglais is one of Geneva’s most lively parks. During fine weather, runners, roller-skaters and cyclists can be seen here along with numerous families enjoying a stroll under the shady trees. A firm favourite with tourists for its view over the harbour, the northern shore and the Jet d’eau, the Jardin anglais hosts numerous events every year, notably the Fêtes de Genève in summer. Visitors also like the bronze Four Seasons fountain and the kiosk, both dating back to the 19th century.
A landing stage – the point of departure for numerous tourist excursions on the lake aboard the traditional boats of the CGN (Compagnie générale de navigation sur le lac Léman) – stretches along the shore beside the Jardin anglais. Nearby, in the direction of the old town, is Rue du Rhône, which is lined with luxury boutiques including jewellers, watchmakers and leading couturiers, and the surrounding streets which are greatly appreciated by shopping fans. Finally, stretching away beyond the Jet d’eau towards the Port-Noir are Baby-Plage, Genève-Plage and, further away, Parc La Grange and Parc des Eaux-Vives.
Article modifié le 04.02.2021 à 16:11