A brief history of the Jet d’Eau


Visitors to Geneva will probably hear about the Jet d’Eau before they even arrive – but this is more than just another big fountain. The fountain’s name translates as ‘Water Jet’ and it is a feature that stands out as remarkable in a number of ways, not least for its sheer size as one of the tallest fountains in the world. Its actual origin was not about aesthetics or making a big statement, but based on utility.

Image Credit- Restu20

It was first built in 1886 to help act as a pressure gauge for the La Coulouvreniere hydraulic plant. The fountain was first installed just off the shore in Lake Geneva, but was later moved to a more central position in the bay. This gave it more prominence and enabled it to adopt its role as the symbol of the city. It is to Geneva what the Eiffel Tower is to Paris or Big Ben to London, a metaphor for the strength and ambition of the city of Geneva and Switzerland as a country. Not surprisingly, it appears on the city’s tourism website. Visitors can see an impressive sight, which is backed up by the statistics. The pumps move 500 litres of water and the water leaps 140 metres into the sky.  It is completely free to visit and it is illuminated by coloured lights after dark. However, it does not operate constantly.

Between September 16th and November 3rd it operates from 09:00 to sunset from Monday to Thursday, and from 10:00 to 10:30 p.m. at weekends, when the lights go on. In winter (November 4th-2nd March) it operates from 10:00 to 16:00. It is possible to walk along the concrete pier jutting out into the lake and get close to the fountain, although it should be noted you are likely to get wet if you do.

Being so accessible to anywhere in central Geneva, this is not only a must-see attraction, but one that is very easy to get to.

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