Geneva Festival 2017
Fêtes de Genève
Les Fêtes de Genève, meaning Geneva Celebrations or Geneva Festival, is a 10-day event held annually in the early days of August. Boasting singers, music concerts and shows, street performers and rides, the fair is crowned by the famous fireworks display attracting hundreds of thousands of people in the streets of Geneva.
Dates: 03.08.2017 - 13.08.2017 (ten days preceding the second Sunday of August)
Location: The banks of Geneva Lake (from the Bains des Pâquis to the La Grange Park)
Festival of Geneva
A worthy heir of the Fêtes des Fleurs, the Fêtes de Genève (Geneva celebrations) was first held in 1947 encountering great success. Since then, they have been organised yearly, slowly becoming the most famous festivities in Geneva alongside the Escalade.
Each year, Geneva welcomes a guest of honour, such as Tibet in 1999 (with a special visit of the Dalaï Lama) or Portugal in 2013.
The Fêtes de Genève are preceded by the Pre-Fêtes, a celebration lasting nearly two weeks preceeding the Fêtes de Genève, which is known to be equally fun and a good alternative for those who prefer low-key events.
You will find over 150 food stalls scattered across the city and lake promenade - starting with regular burgers, french fries and chinesse, to more rare, such as authentic African food. Don't miss the Swiss stalls (two by the Ferris Wheel) with wide range of French and German Swiss specialities.
For families, a wide selection of rides, ranging from little carousels for kids to wild roller coasters are a must.
Music scenes hosting both international and Swiss performers, varying from classical music to techno and electro, are spread all around the lake.
The programme of the Geneva Festival changes by the year but some classics remain such as the SlowUp, a 30 km slow bike ride to discover Geneva’s countryside gems and local food specialities (2nd August). Also, specific areas are designated for children activities and animations.
At English Garden, secured and supervised area for children up to 12 years old is arranged, where kids can play on slides, inflatable castles and so on. Entry: CHF 5, free for children up to 3 y.o. and supervising adults. Open afternoon, from around 2pm-8pn.
Artistic maze of all colors, made of inflantable structure, located next to Baby Plage.
Entry: CHF 5, free for children under 3 y.o.
Open: Weekdays: 12:00-20:00; Weekends: 10:00-20:00
Dozens of amusement rides are opened on the lake shores for the Geneva Festival, varying from go karts, small roller coasters, all the way to more thrilling ones, such as Enterprise, Evolution and Pendulum Rides, were one ride costs up to CHF 15. To visit all of them, you'll need about three hundred francs.
Ferris Wheel opens already 2 weeks before the main festival, annoucing the start of Pre-Fêtes de Genève.
The key attraction remains the closing fireworks, 30'000 rockets fusing over the lake and Jet d'Eau in a burst of lights budgeted around 600'000 Swiss francs. Date of Fireworks: 8th of August, 2015, 10pm. Duration: 1 hour. For those who prefer to sit for the show, tickets for seating are available.
Coming back at night
The Noctambus night transport service will take you pretty much anywhere in town all through the night.
Attendees range up to 2 million a year and many rooms get sold out for the time of festival, so be sure to book early if you want to stay in a decent hotel at a reasonable price.
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Though attractions and foods can be quite costly, the Fêtes de Genève per say are free and can be perfectly enjoyed even with little spending. A picnic in the Jardin Anglais or the Parc La Grange is an option for those who want to keep it fairly cheap.
Be very careful with people on the streets luring you into playing Liar's Dice. They always have a snitch in the crowd, enticing you to play for the sole purpose of making you spend money. You won't be able to file complaints against them as you play with consent.
Bureau des Fêtes de Genève – Fondation Genève Tourisme & Congrès.
18 Rue du Mont-Blanc
Case postale 1602
1211 Genève 1 Switzerland
Tel: +41 (0)22 909 70 70
Fax: +41 (0)22 909 70 99
The programme of the Fêtes de Genève changes every year, for more detailed information visit the official website. Don't overlook the map of the festival there, which is very practical and useful.