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Oh Hello Jet d’Eau: The Water Fountain You Can’t Miss in Geneva

Geneva's might Jet d'Eau rises 459 feet!

It’s so nice when you don’t have to worry about seeing a famous landmark because there’s no way you could miss it. That’s exactly how I felt about the Jet d’Eau in Geneva. I only had one full day of sightseeing in Geneva before I had to fly back home to New York City, and I had a few things to tick off my list. What a relief that the Jet d’Eau, an enormous water fountain in Lake Geneva, was easy to spot from multiple vantage points in this relatively small city. That’s not to say you can see this 459-foot spray of water from every spot in the city. It is possible to visit Geneva and not see the Jet d’Eau. But if you visit Geneva without seeing the Jet D’Eau, have you really been to Geneva?

If you catch Geneva's Jet d'Eau at the right time of day from the right angle, you can see a rainbow.

If you catch Geneva’s Jet d’Eau at the right time of day from the right angle, you can see a rainbow.

Actually yes, if you visit Geneva during the Jet D’Eau’s annual routine maintenance. Every year, the Jet d’Eau is shut off; this year it will be off from September 30, 2013, to October 20, 2013. So don’t visit Geneva then! I’m kidding, of course. But it would be a shame to visit Geneva and not see this famous icon. It was first created in 1886 — accidentally. A hydraulic power station was built to deliver water under pressure from the Rhône river to the city’s fountains, households and factories. One day, pressure build-ups forced the engineers to install a special pressure relief valve, which made the water shoot up. This became a tourist attraction and since 1951, it’s a dedicated water pump that hurls 500 liters per second into the air at 124 miles per hour. All this right at the spot where the Rhône empties into the lake. It’s powerful but elegant, just like Geneva itself.

Bright, cheery flowers on Geneva's Lake set the stage perfectly for the Jet d'Eau.

Bright, cheery flowers on Geneva’s Lake set the stage perfectly for the Jet d’Eau.

12 Responses to Oh Hello Jet d’Eau: The Water Fountain You Can’t Miss in Geneva

  1. Adam
    Twitter: travelsofadam
    August 27, 2013 at 1:13 pm #

    That’s some fountain! I hope to visit Geneva someday and definitely during the summer, so will try to plan my travels around the dates it’s open!
    Adam recently posted..Discovering More to Berlin on a Street Art Tour

  2. Lillie
    Twitter: WorldLillie
    August 27, 2013 at 1:24 pm #

    How neat! I never knew about this. Love the rainbows it creates!
    Lillie recently posted..Do You Need to Rent a Car in Hawaii? Photos of Why…

  3. wanderingeducators
    Twitter: WanderingEds
    August 27, 2013 at 2:55 pm #

    Very cool! I love anything water. And fun, how it was “discovered” accidentally!
    wanderingeducators recently posted..Getting Around Rome: The Advantages of the Roma Pass

  4. Jennifer August 27, 2013 at 4:35 pm #

    Look at that little rainbow it makes! :)
    Jennifer recently posted..Find Happiness.

  5. Andi
    Twitter: andiperullo
    August 27, 2013 at 10:27 pm #

    Love that rainbow shot!

  6. Gabi (The Nomadic Family)
    Twitter: nomadfamtravels
    August 28, 2013 at 2:05 pm #

    The water fountain is just awesome.Thank you for sharing this.gabi

  7. Jennifer Miller August 28, 2013 at 11:48 pm #

    Haven’t been to Switzerland yet… in the spring I hope!
    Jennifer Miller recently posted..What you don’t know could kill me: A requiem for Anita

  8. Terry at Overnight New York August 29, 2013 at 12:02 am #

    Love the history (and the rainbow). It’s amazing how much great stuff is created by accident!
    Terry at Overnight New York recently posted..Ace Hotel: Music to Help Kids Get Better

  9. Melissa August 29, 2013 at 1:38 pm #

    I’ve visited Switzerland a couple of times (family in Geneva), but never knew the history behind the jet!!
    Melissa recently posted..Introducing… Advice to My Thirteen-Year-Old Self

  10. Mary @ Green Global Travel
    Twitter: GreenGlobalTrvl
    August 29, 2013 at 8:08 pm #

    Wow, I didn’t realize this famous tourist attraction was created on accident. Thanks for sharing!
    Mary @ Green Global Travel recently posted..INTERVIEW: Lek Chailert, the Elephant Whisperer of Elephant Nature Park

  11. Cat of Sunshine and Siestas
    Twitter: sunshinesiestas
    August 30, 2013 at 8:39 am #

    I never made it to Geneva (minus nine hours in the airport when my flight was delayed), though I did see Lucerne. I guess you can see the fountain from there, but we got grey skies and the flu instead! Looks lovely.
    Cat of Sunshine and Siestas recently posted..Preguntas Ardientes: Should I open a bank account in my home country?

  12. Dale
    Twitter: ai_followus
    August 30, 2013 at 2:22 pm #

    I love the really cheeky rainbow peeping through under the fountain!

    Just can’t fathom how much water and just how high that fountain is. Incredible.

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