A major heatwave is descending on Switzerland this week so there’s no better moment to take a cool dip in one of the country’s loveliest swimming pools or outdoor nature spots.
If you’re looking for something special near you, a pocket-sized French-German booklet published by the Swiss Heritage Society entitled “Les plus beaux bains de la Suisse” (Switzerland’s Loveliest Swimming Pools) will help you locate your ideal dip, one offering architectural distinction and most probably situated in an area of outstanding natural beauty.
The 51 swimming spots profiled in the 108-page, A6-sized booklet are dotted throughout the country and feature architectural styles dating from the 19th century, including sleek, streamlined Art Deco examples from the 1920s and 30s (my personal favourites) as well as heavier 1960s concrete structures.
Each selection is accompanied by a brief accompanying text offering historical information about bathing culture in Switzerland since the 1800s.
You can order the booklet in the online shop at a cost of CHF16 for non-members and CHF8 for members of Swiss Heritage.
Use it to plan a family or solo excursion that could turn out to be both fun and instructive, but most of all refreshing.
If you’re interested in learning more about Swiss Heritage, founded in 1905 to preserve important Swiss landmarks, check out their website and to learn more about their helpful guidebooks, check out my reviews in Swiss Heritage’s Loveliest.
Geneva’s Bains des Paquis
I wouldn’t be surprised if Geneva’s beloved 19th century landmark the Bains des Paquis numbers among those listed in the booklet. Located smack in Geneva harbor in view of the Jet d’Eau it’s the perfect setting for a dip in the Lake. And from what I hear, its restaurant offers the best deal for a lunchtime meal.
In the Spring and Summer months, enjoy daily sunrise (6am – 7am) concerts during the “Aubes Musicales” music festival. Entry’s free and includes a complimentary coffee. I can’t think of a better way to greet the sunrise, can you?
Lac Leman’s 115 beaches
If swimming in the cool waters of Lac Leman appeals to you as much as it does to me, then you’ll want to consult or download an online pdf. map published by CIPEL (A French-Swiss organization devoted to preserving the waters of Lac Leman) entitled Beaches of the Leman.
The map gives important information about the quality of the water at each beach around the Lake. Website addresses are also listed to help you locate and find out about the water quality at beaches in Geneva, Vaud canton, and France.
Wherever you choose to cool off this summer, whether at an architectural landmark or out in nature, have fun, relax and enjoy, and stay safe.
Main photo: Bains de la Motta in Fribourg, built 1923-24. All photos © Patrimoine Suisse.