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LAKE GENEVA, SWITZERLAND  : Compagnie Generale de Navigation sur le Lac Leman (CGN)

MPV vevey at montreux in 2007.jpg

Above: Motor Paddle Vessel Vevey calls at Montreux in 2007, her 100th year. She is the second oldest vessel in the fleet, and after some doubt about her future, she was sent for a major refit, completed in late 2013, which saw her substantially rebuilt, re-engined and restored to her historic profile. Her sister ship Italie followed (see below)

Above : A refurbished Diesel-electric paddler Italie, sister of Vevey, showing her new restored profile at Montreux on 17th July 2019

The CGN operates eight paddlers*, five in steam, built between 1904 and 1927. Services no longer run the full length of the lake, but concentrate on shorter circuits  around the lower and upper lakes. Lausanne to Geneva services call at the touristy village of Yvoire on the French shore but otherwise, services to Thonon and Evian are now commuter shuttle routes. In recent years there has been and increasing separation of the public transport services and those more aligned to tourists and a "Nelle Epoque" subsidiary was recently set up within the CGN organisation. Paddlers are rarely to be found on the public transport routes except as relief vessels and where the "tourist" service between Yvoire and Nyon helps strengthen the existing shuttle service.  
*Motor paddler Helvetie is currently in long-term lay-up.  

Go to the website of CGN for Lake Geneva timetables, news etc 

Up to date information including special sailings (and future timetable plans when known) shown on John Bird's Swiss Steamer Timetables website

The Annual Report & Accounts of the CGN are in the public domain and can be viewed/downloaded from the CGN website 

Montreux (1904)

La Suisse (1910)

Savoie (1914)

Simplon (1920)

Rhone (1927)

Vevey (1907, 1955)

Italie (1908, 1958)

Helvetie (1926, 1977)
Out of service for the long term (As at 2019, a return to service before at least 2030 is highly unlikely). 


MPV (ex paddle steamer) Geneve - in static preservation

List of Paddle Steamers of the past from Guillaume Tell to Valais, the last vessel to be scrapped


Go to the Photograph Collection


The CGN fleet comes out for an annual Parade of Steam early each season, when all operable paddlers sail in various formations for the benefit of enthusiasts and general spectators. The ships are generally fully booked for the cruise on this special day
Click here to see some photos taken on 5th June 2011, kindly supplied by Enrico Crosti who was aboard PS Rhone for the occasion


Association des Amis des Bateaux a Vapeur du Leman (ABVL):
Fund raising organisation for the preservation and restoration of the 8 Belle-Epoque paddlers
Amis des Bateaux a Vapeur a Lac Leman

Association Patrimoine du Leman (APL) :

Covers the wider naval heritage of the lake - but very active in supporting the paddlers

Brief details of the vessels can be found in the following more general Swiss steamer guides:
Dampfschiffe Schweiz
Anton Raber and Peter Horlacher
Verlag Dampferzeitung, Luzern, Switzerland
Brief detals in four languages including English

Paddle Steamers of the Alps
Leslie Brown and Joe McKendrick
Ferry Publications
ISBN 1-871947-19-7
Illustrated profiles of the steamers and operating areas

Schiffahrt auf den Schweizer Seen
Anton Raber
Orell Fussli Verlag, Zurich
ISBN 3-280-00285-0
Illustrated round up of Swiss lake vessels, with fleet lists and sections on vessel design and engineering.

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