Here are Evian-les-Bains Best Restaurants, Hotels, Must-Sees and Must Visits!
The car rounds a sharp corner
and our driver, Laurence, pulls over and leaves the car running. ‘Usually, at this point, I stop and show you the beautiful view of the lake and the mountains beyond,’ she says, a slight hint of remorse in her voice. Laurence points to the right: ‘The Rhône River, if you could see it, enters from the east and exits the lake by the west, just over there.’ Already our drive from the Bellegarde train station has been full of tantalizing views of snow-topped mountain peaks and rushing river valleys full of quaint and picturesque French Alpine villages. But alas, our first views down the sloping valley to the beautiful Belle Époque town of Évian les Bains is shrouded in a creamy white covering of cloud. Closer to Lac Léman (NOT Geneva, we’re told), a low hanging fog lingers for our five-day visit, sponsored by the Evian Tourism Board. If you are based in Geneva and looking for a day’s outing, then several excursion companies such as the Compagnie Generale de Navigation du Lac Léman CGN offer a relaxing one-hour lake crossing towards Evian-les-Bains. In no time, you will find yourself not only in a different country but almost in a belle epoch time capsule!
Jump ahead to:
- About Evian-les-Bains
- Winter, Summer? Best time to travel to Evian-les-Bains
- Travelling to Evian-les-Bains
- So many things to do in Evian-les-Bains
- Christmas in Evian-les-Bains
- Sources Cachat
- Palais Lumière Museum
- Hike Evian-les-Bains
- Spa in Evian-les-Bains
- Ski Evian-les-Bains
- Golf in Evian-les-Bains
- Evian-les-Bains Restaurants
- Evian-les-Bains Hotels
- Additional resources for your stay in Evian-les-Bains
All About Evian-les-Bains
Evian-les-Bains is an exciting mix of locals and tourists alike.
Ferry commuters to Lausanne, alpine hikers and skiers from Britain and Germany, spa enthusiasts taking the famous warm and soothing waters of Evian Thermal Spa, Evian les Thermes, all descend on this historic Belle Epoch resort town of 8000 residents, all the while enjoying the mountains, the lake, and of course quenching their mineral water thirst with bottle upon bottle of the town’s ‘Evian Eau’ or Evian water. Much like we did, enjoying Christmas in the French Alps. From the crazy inhabitants of Le Fabuleux Village, ‘Les Flottins’, to a pastry-making class: the classic Mont Blanc, with a renowned local pastry chef, or a healthy hike in the French Alps, there is much to do in Evian-les-Bains!
Best time to travel Evian-les-Bains?
Winter, spring, summer or fall, overall, the climate of Rhône-Alpes is in one word ‘variable.’ Évian-les-Bains summers are warm, winters frigid and wet, partly cloudy year-round. For the year, the temperature typically varies from 31°F to 79°F and is rarely below 22°F or above 89°F. Visit Évian-les-Bains for warm-weather activities from mid-June to mid-September.
Travelling to Evian-les-Bains.
You can easily connect to Evian-les-Bain via Paris or directly to Geneva with from the airport, arriving in Evian-les-Bains by train in just over one hour aboard the Leman Express.
TGV trains arrive from Paris’ Gare de Lyon and whisk you past tantalizing views of snow-topped mountain peaks and rushing river valleys full of quaint and picturesque French Alpine villages. Arriving in Bellecour, you can hop aboard the commuter train and arrive in Evian-les-Bains historic downtown station.
So many seasonal things to see and do in Evian-les-Bains:
Spend Christmas in Evian-les-Bains avec Les Flottins in Le Fabuleux Village:
The medieval torches parade up and down Évian main square each night during the Christmas season, calling all the Flottins, the whimsical Le Fabuleux Village inhabitants built of driftwood-strewn on the shores of Lac Léman, to make merry during the busy Christmas season. Evian-les-Bains does not entertain her residents and seasonal visitors with a traditional Christmas Market. Instead, from mid-December through January 2, the entire town of Evian-les-Bains is adorned with over 1000 fantastic driftwood sculptures et voila, The Fabuleux Village reappears for another holiday season!
Walk uphill through the town to fill your bottle at the Source Cachat, named for the owner of the original spring. Evian-les-Bains is known for it’s healing mineral waters: reported to be a perfect tonic for expectant mothers, newborns, the elderly or those with joint pain. Go directly to the source: the beautiful columned source Cachat, where Eau Evian continuously flows at a temperature of 11.6 °, is named after the family who, in March 1827, sold the spring to a Genevan entrepreneur M. Fauconnet launching the Évian mineral water company, Société des Eaux Minérales d’Évian. The source Cachat is the remaining single outlet for the water, which began its long journey as rainfall and snow-melt high atop the French Alps, taking some 15+ years for the precious water to filter through the glacial sand formations, arriving at the source Cachat. Francois, our guide handily, hands us a couple of glasses for a sampling of the mineral water. I return several times during our visit to fill my bottle from the source Cachat. Clean, fresh, minerally. So good!
Located in front of the source Cachat and housed in the former original 1903 Art-Nouveau pump room on the rue International, the Buvette Cachat, now an exhibition and information centre, showcases upscale shopping and everything you could want to know about Evian’s famous water. From the source Cachat and dating from 1907, the antique electrical funicular (running May through September) will whisk you through the forest towards the many luxurious hotels that line the hills. Grab some lunch or dinner and enjoy the gorgeous views down to the lake.
Take in a Museum
Spend an afternoon at the Palais Lumière, the original Thermal Hall, an incredible example of early 20th-century spa architecture, which housed the Evian Baths from 1902 to 1984, has served as the town’s cultural and convention centre since 2006. Please have a look at what’s on for their 2020-2021 season. (pending COVID conditions)
Take a Summer Hike
In the Alps above Evian-les-Bains, that is! Our guide, the very French Francois of Alp’Evianature, fits us with hiking boots and poles for the drive up and over the Chablais Mountain range’s foothills. We spent a lovely Sunday, surrounded by the only sun and blue sky that we have seen, hiking high up between Mont Blanc and Lac Léman, before literally crossing ten steps across the Swiss border. We stop in Alp’Evianaure’s ‘Igloo’ mountain hut and refresh with trail mix, warm tea, and if we like, a glass of wine in the Sunday sun, enjoying extensive views down to a clouded-over Lac Léman, Evian-les-Bains and further on, the Swiss city of Lausanne.
Take Some Spa Time in Evian-les-Bains
After your rigorous hike and mountain lunch, Evian-les-Bains Thermal Spa, les Thermes d’Evian is the ultimate spa experience offering multiple ways to rejuvenate and relax those post-hike or ski-full day aching bones. Whether they be medical, health or beauty related concerns, les Thermes d’Evian provides a natural way to recharge your batteries ‘from the source’ and is recognized as a legitimate option of hydrotherapy care and well-being from France’s National Academy of Medicine.
Ski the French Alpes
Evian-les-Bains offers an excellent central base for your winter skiing holiday. Many avid skiers rent or own chalets in the mountains and enjoy Evian-les-Bains apres-ski restaurants, museums, spas and try their luck at the Casino d’Evian. And while most resorts are but an hour away from downtown Evian-les-Bains, make sure to bookmark the website viamichelin.com to confirm drive times and distances, toll and fuel costs and suggested routes (i.e. scenic route, fastest route, etc.). The drive times given do not include stops for fuel, food and bathrooms, nor do they consider lousy weather and traffic. In the winter, you may be required to have chains installed on your tires and use them when weather conditions dictate. However, a good set of snow tires will make your drive to the ski hills safe. Make sure you confirm all road conditions before heading out!
High up in the Alps in Haute-Savoie, and halfway between Chamonix and Geneva, the famous Grand Massif welcomes winter sports enthusiasts to a ski area full of skiing and non-skiing activities such a luge, dog sledding, paragliding, snowshoeing and ice climbing over 62 ski lifts and 139 slopes. Grand Massif is a winter sports enthusiasts’ dream depending on your level of experience, and offers a pristine environment and breathtaking panoramas facing Mont-Blanc. Grand Massif has announced it’s opening: Saturday, December 12, 2020, to Sunday, April 18, 2021. Times subject to change due to the COVID pandemic.
Les Portes du Soleil is about a one-hour drive from Evian-les-Bains and a central ‘skisports’ destination in the Alps and is surrounded by thirteen resorts between Mont Blanc in France and Lake Geneva in Switzerland. With over 650 km of marked runs and about 200 lifts, spread over 14 valleys and nearly 1,036 square kilometres (400 sq mi), 308 tracks, and over 30 ‘snow parks’, Les Portes du Soleil ranks among the two largest ski areas in the world. Sometimes you may find yourself starting your day in one country and finishing in another! About the same driving time from Evian-les-Bains, the more popular (and more expensive) resorts of Morzine Avoriaz, part of the inter-connected mountains of the Portes du Soleil, ultimately offer more activities, bars, restaurants, shopping and more, of course, much more glitz.
You may consider basing yourself in Chatel, a charming village known for its Alpine chalets, aquatic center and La Vieille Douane museum, which presents the history of smuggling in the Haute Savoie.
Golf one of the Top 10 Courses in France
A world-renowned golf experience awaits you in Evian-les-Bains. Recognized for its major status with the Evian Championship and ranked for years in the Top 10 of the most beautiful golf courses in France, the Golf Club of the Evian Resort is an experience to remember and add to your golf bucket list. Did you know: the Evian Championship is the LPGA Tour’s fifth and final major championship.
Here are some of Evian-les-Bains Best Restaurants
Of course, the “Gastronomic’ Restaurant at the Hotel les Cygnes in central Evian-les-Bains offers beautifully created seasonal dishes, served in their beautifully restored 1926 dining room, and holds the title of “Maître Restaurateur” since 2010.
Consider taking the funicular, located beside the Sources Cachat, up to the hills above Evian-les-Bains and enjoy the beautiful gardens of the Restaurant La Verniaz before enjoying Chef Stéphane Coffy’s traditional french cooking. The 4-star La Verniaz is one of the oldest hotels in the Chablais, having opened her doors in the 1920s in an original 18th-century Savoyard farmhouse. Famous guests have included Elizabeth Taylor, Charlie Chaplin and the AgaKhan.
Located on the hillside behind Evian, this century-old hotel restaurant with its authentic atmosphere has benefited from the enthusiasm of chef Stéphane Coffy, who offers a classic cuisine with a refined aestheticism, enhanced by a creative touch.Guide Michelin 2020
Restaurant Le Muratore This large 19th-century Haussmann-style house is located in Evian-les-Bains’ historic center on Place Jean Bernex, and a stone’s throw from the Sources Cachat sources, this Belle Epoque ‘old home’ offers a “bistronomique” cooking with regional ingredients, primarily fresh fish from Lake Geneva: char, féra, trout and perch with cheeses from the Chalets d’Oche, high in the mountains overlooking Evian-les-Bains.
Looking for a change from the traditional styles of French food? Sit among the Buddhas and antiques from Tibet, India and Afghanistan, raise your cocktail and enjoy the beautiful sunsets across Lac Léman at the Restaurant Tibetan Café . Chef Franck Faletto offers rotating Plats des Jours, utilizing seasonal and local ingredients and alongside more complex delecacies compliment his simple, yet complex dishes.
See below for additional hotel recommendations
Some Select Hotels in Evian-les-Bains
Best known for its healing waters, Évian-les-Bains is a Belle Époque treasure beautifully placed on Lake Geneva’s French shore or as the locals prefer, Lac Léman. Some of the best places to stay in Évian-les-Bains are historically beautiful in their own right, but if you tend towards a more modern spot to lay your head, we’ve got you covered!
Hotel les Cygnes
Built-in 1926, Evian-les-Bains’ Hotel les Cygnes offers a ‘Roaring Twenties” charm and feel with modern amenities and comforts. And as the only hotel in Evian-les-Bains situated on Lake Geneva, this hotel provides period rooms, ornately decorated in a 20’s classic style combined with modern conveniences. The heated outdoor swimming pool and the hotel’s famous restaurants, which offer your choice of gourmet or bistro options, come highly recommended—a charming base to explore this picturesque part of the Haute Savoie.
The Hilton Evian-les-Bains offers everything that a modern hotel can, including a gastronomic restaurant, bar and breakfast restaurant. Ideally situated across from the Lake Geneva promenade and a five-minute walk to the Place Charles-de-Gaulle, this property is excellent for family or business travel with only a 45-minute transfer from the Cointrin Airport in Geneva. Add an outdoor pool, a beautiful terrace, the TAAJ SPA, weight room, sauna, Turkish bath and solarium and you are ready to enjoy the sights and sounds of Evian-les-Bains!
Hotel Royal, Evian-les-Bains
If you are looking for traditional luxury in Evian-les-Bains, then the Hotel Royal is your destination. This grande dame, built in 1905 in honour of Edward VII, and high above the shores of Lac Leman, has had an all-encompassing two-year makeover, entrusted to interior designer François Champsaur and architect François Chatillon. The hotel has extensive facilities spread over 150 rooms and suites and includes five onsite restaurants, each focused on different culinary styles. Activities abound, including discovering the region by water on board the Evian One, a beautiful 12-meter catamaran skimming across Lake Geneva’s blue waters, and a separate ‘Kids Resort” for some much needed parental time alone. Add a world-renowned golf experience recognized for its major status as the Evian Championship and ranked in the Top 10 of the most beautiful golf courses in France, the Golf Club of the Evian Resort is an experience to remember and add to your golfing bucket list.
Additional Resources to Make Your stay more enjoyable.
Ideally situated on the shores of Lac Léman and at the foot of the French Alps, Évian-les-Bains offers an incredible variety of activities, summer or winter. The Evian Tourism Board should be your first stop before and upon arriving in Evian-les-Bains. And the Ville Evian web site offers so much information concerning history, architecture, culture and heritage. Enjoy!
World Traveler, Writer, and Blogger, Co-Founder and Editor-in-Chief of the followsummer.com travel blog. A former Actor, current shower-singer, and non-hipster foodie. Loves his week-end house in St Marys, Ontario. Dad to Sophia, Ariel, and Hastings three of the best cats in the world.