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Pocket Guide: Thonon-les-Bains

Discover the pleasures of lakeside life when you visit Thonon-les-Bains on the southern shore of Lake Geneva. Known as Lac Léman in French, crescent-shaped Lake Geneva marks a natural border between France and Switzerland.

Lake Geneva is one of the largest lakes in Western Europe, and the lakeside spa towns of Thonon-les-Bains and Evian-les-Bains are delightful bases from which to explore this part of France’s Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region. You’re also a conveniently short distance from some of France’s most popular ski resorts.

Where to Stay in Thonon-les-Bains

Stay in a cosy hotel in Thonon-les-Bains where you’ll have wonderful views of Lake Geneva. You could also consider booking an apartment hotel in Thonon-les-Bains if you want to do some self-catering.

Carry on eastwards along the lakefront to the elegant spa town of Evian-les-Bains, where you can stay in an intimate Savoyard hotel with lake views. For a bit of luxury, stay in an Evian-les-Bains hotel with an outdoor pool and full-service spa.

Things to Do in Thonon-les-Bains

Start at the quayside of Thonons-les-Bains in front of the lively marina. If you fancy a swim, join the locals in one of the large outdoor pools along the lakeside. Hop on the funicular that goes up to the town centre and the 12th-century Château de Sonnaz, which now has a museum, too.

Treat yourself to a soothing soak in the thermal baths, where you can also indulge in a few spa treatments. If you want a closer look at Switzerland, take a leisurely boat trip across Lake Geneva to Montreux, home of one of the world’s biggest jazz festivals.

If you’re staying in Evian-les-Bains, you can relax in one of the town’s public thermal baths and drink at the source of the bottled water that’s sold all over the world. If you’re a golfer, you won’t want to miss the chance to play at the Evian Resort Golf Club, one of the most attractive in Europe and the place to enjoy some impressive lake views.

From Thonon-les-Bains, you’re within easy reach of the Portes du Soleil, one of France’s largest ski resorts. Check out the charming French ambience of Châtel, the buzzing apres-ski scene in Morzine and the futuristic architecture of Avoriaz, as well as small village resorts like La Chapelle d’Abondance. You can even ski straight into Switzerland, as Paradiski covers both countries.

Where to Eat in Thonon-les-Bains

Treat yourself to top-notch Michelin-starred cuisine both in Thonon-les-Bains and Evian-les-Bains. Feast on the lake fish that ends up on many of the menus in the area. As both towns are used to catering for people on spa holidays, you’ll find plenty of creative dishes that aren’t laden with calories. But if you want the full experience of rich Alpine cuisine, you’re in the right spot for cheese fondues and raclette, as well as gorgeous cheese from the nearby Abondance Valley.

Getting around Thonon-les-Bains

The closest airport to Thonon-les-Bains is across the Swiss border in Geneva, and the towns along the lake are all stops on France’s SNCF railway network.