Yvoire: all the practical information

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This page is a FAQ which gathers the most frequently asked questions about Yvoire. You will find the answers to prepare your visit to the medieval village of Yvoire in Haute-Savoie.

Here is all you need to know before coming to Yvoire..

Summary

  1. Where is Yvoire located?
  2. How to get to Yvoire?
  3. Where to park in Yvoire ?
  4. Where is the Yvoire Tourist Office located?
  5. Yvoire: what are the places not to be missed?
  6. What are the most beautiful viewpoints to take pictures in Yvoire?
  7. When to come to Yvoire? When to visit to enjoy Yvoire away from the crowds? What to do in Yvoire in the rain?
  8. Shopping in Yvoire: what are the opening hours of the shops?
  9. Where to swim in Yvoire?
  10. Where to have a picnic in Yvoire?
  11. Public toilets: where to go to the toilet in Yvoire?
  12. What is the best time to visit Yvoire?
  13. Are dogs allowed in Yvoire and the Jardin des Cinq Sens?

1. Where is Yvoire located?

Yvoire is a tourist village located on the French shore of Lake Geneva in Haute-Savoie (74).

Nicknamed the Pearl of the Lake, the medieval town of Yvoire is a jewel surrounded by water as it is located on a point of the Bas-Chablais peninsula.

Yvoire is situated between the villages of Nernier, Messery, Excenevex and near larger towns such as Sciez or Douvaine and especially Thonon-les-Bains (15 km), Evian-les-Bains (25 km) and Geneva (25 km).

On the Swiss coast, just opposite Yvoire, is the town of Nyon, and a boat link with the CGN (Compagnie Générale de Navigation) is active all year round for cross-border workers and the service is reinforced in summer for tourism on Lake Geneva.

2. How to get to Yvoire?

It is possible to get to Yvoire by most means of transport: by car, motorbike, bicycle, bus, on foot or by boat. You can also come to Yvoire by train or by plane by going to the nearest train stations and airports.

How to get to Yvoire by road (by car or motorbike)

  • Paris-Yvoire : A6 motorway then A40 (6h – 550 km)
    Lyon-Yvoire : A42 or A43 motorway then A40 (2h – 180 km)
    Annecy-Yvoire : A41 motorway (1h – 70 km)
    Grenoble-Yvoire: a41 motorway (2h – 170 km)
    Take Exit n°14 Annemasse or Exit n°15 Thonon-Evian
    Follow the direction of Thonon-Evian until Douvaine
    In Douvaine, turn right at the traffic lights
    After 150m left to D60 (follow the direction “Les bords du lac”)
    In Messery, follow D25, direction Yvoire during 3 km.
  • Geneva-Yvoire:
    From the Mont-Blanc bridge, follow Quai Gustave-Ador, Quai de Cologny
    Then the Route de Thonon (D1005)
    In Douvaine, turn left 150m after the traffic lights towards D60 (follow the direction “Les bords du lac”)
    In Messery, follow D25, direction Yvoire for 3 km.
  • Evian-Yvoire: follow Thonon and take the Thonon bypass (D1005) then follow
    Thonon-Yvoire: follow direction Sciez, Douvaine, Geneva.
    At Sciez, at the roundabout, take the first exit, follow D25 direction Excenevex, Yvoire for 7 km.

More information about parking in Yvoire.

Cycling to Yvoire

Yvoire is located on the ViaRhôna, whose route is improving every month. Between Thonon and Geneva, the ViaRhôna follows a succession of small roads and cycle paths which are equipped and safe.

It is a very beautiful route offering you numerous viewpoints on Lake Geneva, the Alps and the Jura. You will pass through Excenevex (with its fine sandy beach) and the pretty village of Nernier.

For more practical information, you can consult the ViaRhôna website.

If you take the ViaRhôna on the Swiss side of Lake Geneva, you can of course stop in Nyon and take a tourist boat to cross to Yvoire in 20 minutes.
It is possible to take your bike on CGN boats, check the conditions here.

ViaRhôna Thonon Yvoire Geneva
Cycling to Yvoire on the ViaRhôna between Thonon-les-Bains and Geneva

Going to Yvoire by boat

Yvoire is one of the largest freshwater ports in France in terms of traffic.

Indeed, many cross-border workers embark all year round to cross from Yvoire to Nyon.

In summer, generally between June and September, the CGN – Compagnie Générale de Navigation – organises numerous tourist boat trips on the whole of Lake Geneva.

Taking a cruise on the lake is one of the region’s top attractions.

You can check the timetable and prices on the CGN website.

It is possible to buy your tickets either directly on the boat (but you lose some time on the cruise) or at the ticket office located at the port near the pier.

You can pay in EUR, CHF and by credit card at most ticket offices.

Coming to Yvoire by boat will delight the whole family, young and old, and you will enjoy a magnificent view as far as Mont Blanc when the weather is fine.
Ideally, prefer the Belle Epoque style boats. Their charm is undeniable, and they sail majestically while allowing you to discover the machinery that makes the paddles work. It is magical!

CGN boat Lake Geneva
Yvoire by boat with the CGN Belle Epoque boats

Going to Yvoire by bus

To get to Yvoire by bus, there is a regular bus service which serves the whole of the Chablais and the Presqu’île du Bas-Chablais. To find out about the routes and timetables, you can consult the SAT website or call them on 04.50.71.00.88.

Yvoire is located on the regular line 152: Thonon – Sciez – Yvoire – Messery – Douvaine.

The journey time from Thonon to Yvoire is approximately 30 minutes.

Getting to Yvoire by plane

There is no airport in Yvoire.

The nearest airport is Geneva Cornavin (GVA).

Once you have landed in Geneva, you can :

  • Rent a car
  • Take the train(Swiss transport SBB) to Nyon, walk 10 minutes and then take the boat across to Yvoire. This journey from Geneva airport to Yvoire takes about 1h30 depending on connections and timetables.

It is also possible to land at Annecy airport or Lyon Saint-Exupéry airport and then drive to Yvoire.

Getting to Yvoire by train

There is no train station in Yvoire.

The nearest main stations are Thonon-les-Bains (France) and Geneva (Switzerland).

Once you arrive in Thonon, you can rent a car or take the bus.

Once in Geneva, you can rent a car or take the boat or take the train to Nyon and then the boat.

3. Parking: where to park in Yvoire?

If you come to Yvoire by car, you are probably wondering: Where are the car parks in Yvoire to park? And how much does it cost to park in Yvoire?

The medieval village of Yvoire is a pedestrian village in which motor vehicles are not allowed outside certain hours and a few exceptions for the inhabitants of the village.

If you come by car, you will have to park in one of the 5 car parks in Yvoire.

Yvoire’s car parks are chargeable all year round, except for a few weeks in winter.

The revenue from the car parks is one of the main financial resources of the municipality and this makes it possible to invest in improving public management and tourist flows. Yvoire receives around 1 million visitors each year and this leads to large maintenance expenses.

There are 4 municipal car parks and one private car park:

  • Yvoire – municipal car park : Medieval city
    • 240 spaces, 4 spaces for reduced mobility
    • Automatic cashier, credit card
    • Open every day, 24 hours a day
    • Paying from 9am to 10pm (3h > 5€)
  • Yvoire – municipal car park : Les Jardins
    • 90 spaces, 2 spaces for reduced mobility
    • Automatic pay station, credit card
    • Open every day, 24 hours a day
    • Paying from 9am to 10pm (3h > 5€)
  • Yvoire – municipal car park : Le Pré-Ponce
    • 570 spaces, 7 spaces for reduced mobility, electric terminals
    • Possibility of parking for vehicles over 2m (adapted rate)
    • Automatic cashier, credit card
    • Open every day, 24 hours a day
    • Paying from 9am to 10pm (3h > 5€)
  • Yvoire – municipal car park : Les Mollards
    • 60 spaces, 2 spaces for reduced mobility
    • Payment by parking meter, credit card
    • Open every day, 24 hours a day
    • Paying from 9am to 10pm (4h > 5€)
  • Yvoire – private car park: Les Remparts
    • 200 spaces
    • Payment at the entrance, single rate 2€50
    • Attention, often full!

If you go to the Domaine de Rovorée, a small car park is also available (but we advise you to go there on foot or by solar boat).

Bicycle and motorbike parking available along the ramparts (see map)

4. Where is the Yvoire Tourist Office located?

The Destination Léman Tourist Office covers the tourist sites of the Chablais region, on the shores of Lake Geneva, from Thonon to Yvoire, via Douvaine and Sciez-sur-Léman.

Its main office is located at 3 Place de Mairie, 74140 Yvoire.

A branch office is open in summer at the port of Yvoire.

Opening hours Yvoire Tourist Office :
Open all year round, opening hours adapted according to the season

Contact: +33 (0)4 50 72 80 21
Yvoire Tourist Office website: Destination Léman

5. Yvoire: what are the places not to be missed?

Here are the 8 must-do activities for your visit to Yvoire:

> Awaken your senses by visiting Le Jardin des Cinq Sens

The Garden of the Five Senses is located at 12 Rue du Lac, in the heart of the village, at the foot of the castle. It is a real jewel of greenery, a small paradise of nature classified as a Remarkable Garden by the Ministry of Culture. In this garden, your 5 senses will be delighted throughout your visit. Don’t miss it!

> Admire the fortifications: Yvoire castle, ramparts and medieval towers

The fortifications of Yvoire date from the beginning of the 14th century. The ramparts, the fortified watchtowers and the castle of Yvoire are worth seeing to understand the history of the village. Real witnesses of the Middle Ages still standing today.

> Stroll through the narrow streets of the village between flowers and old stones

Yvoire is a medieval village in bloom, classified as one of the Most Beautiful Villages in France for the charm of its narrow streets that open onto Lake Geneva and its old stones that invite you to dive into history.
Enjoy its narrow streets and pretty shops.

> Contemplate Lake Geneva

In Yvoire, Lake Geneva is at the end of every perspective. Go to the marina, the fishermen’s port or Rovorée to enjoy the lake, its freshness and its beauty which varies according to the time of day and the seasons.

> Take to the sea and discover Yvoire from the lake

On the Belle Epoque boats of the CGN – Compagnie Générale de Navigation – or on the solar boat for a discovery cruise; enjoying the view of Yvoire from Lake Geneva is a must!

> Recollect yourself in the church of Saint Pancrace

Classified as a historical monument, the church of Yvoire has a bulbous bell tower covered in shiny stainless steel that sparkles in the sun. Inside, enjoy a moment of meditation in a cool and quiet place.

> Enjoy the local culinary specialities

A former fishing village, Yvoire – in terms of cuisine – invites you to taste the fish of Lake Geneva in its restaurants, in particular the delicious perch fillets or Arctic char. A real treat!

> Walk to La Châtaignière – Domaine de Rovorée

The Domaine de Rovorée, La Châtaignière is a wooded park with a splendid view of Lake Geneva and the Alps. Exhibition on site in summer. You can get there on foot or by bike via the greenway, or by solar boat from the port of Yvoire.

6. What are the best viewpoints for taking photos in Yvoire?

In Yvoire, between the lake, the flowers and the old stones, each viewpoint is a source of wonder and beauty. The perspectives of the streets of Yvoire which open towards Lake Geneva, or the facades of the houses, everything attracts the eye. And depending on the time of day, the season and therefore the weather, the light, the pictures change.

Here are the best places from which you can observe and photograph the village and in particular the castle of Yvoire:

  1. At the crossing of the Rue du lac and the Rue de la liberté
  2. At the top of the Jardin des Cinq Sens
  3. From the marina pier
  4. From the pier of the fishermen’s port
  5. From the old boat landing stage
  6. At the top of the Rue des jardins
  7. By boat from Lake Geneva
  8. In front of the Nernier gate
  9. In front of the Porte de Rovorée
  10. On the village square, in front of the church

7. When to come to Yvoire? When to visit to enjoy Yvoire away from the crowds?

Yvoire is a well-known tourist village in Haute-Savoie.
About a million visitors come every year, most of them between mid-July and mid-August.

Most of the village’s shops are open from about April to October, for the tourist season.

But you can visit the village all year round!

Between June and September, Yvoire welcomes many visitors, so it is advisable to come in the morning, as most of the shops open around 10am.

Early in the morning, you will enjoy the village with the divine impression of having it all to yourself 🙂

You can also come at the end of the afternoon, around 5pm, as there are fewer tourist boats in the early evening.

In spring or autumn, apart from the big sunny weekends, the village is also much quieter.

In winter, with fewer flowers, the village obviously looks less cheerful than in summer, but this very quiet season is a good opportunity to discover the village in a different way..

What to do in Yvoire in the rain?

If it rains, take a good umbrella or a raincoat and come anyway! You will be able to enjoy the village with much less people, or visit the Garden of the Five Senses in search of snails 😉

8. Shopping in Yvoire: what are the opening hours of the shops?

Most of the shops in the village are open from April to October from 10am to 7pm.

The Jardin des Cinq Sens is open from mid-April to early/mid-October.

Some shops, such as La Cristallerie, stay open almost all year round, except for the winter break in January, when the village is very, very quiet.

Yvoire’s hotels and restaurants are also open between March/April and October/November for the majority. The restaurants are of course open in the evenings throughout the summer season and you can enjoy them at your leisure.

9. Where to swim in Yvoire?

Obviously, in summer, when visiting Yvoire and walking along the shores of Lake Geneva, the urge to swim to cool off is more than tempting.

There is no supervised municipal swimming area in Yvoire.

For that, it is better to go 3km to Excenevex on THE fine sandy beach of Lake Geneva but it is often crowded (prefer the morning).
You can also swim in Nernier, Messery or Sciez-sur-Léman. The municipal beaches are more extensive and well maintained in the latter two places.

However, if you wish to swim and bathe in Yvoire, it is best to do so from the shore just past the fishermen’s port. ThePlage de la Garritte is an intimate and fairly quiet place.
The area is relatively quiet and there are none of the dangers associated with CGN boats like near the harbour.

In these areas:

  • Please be careful not to disturb the wildlife, especially the swans which can be a bit aggressive and bite, especially if there are small babies.
  • Please do not leave any rubbish! Bins are always available a few dozen metres away…
Excenevex sand beach on Lake Geneva
To swim in Yvoire, there are some secret but unsupervised spots. The easiest way is to go to the sandy beach at Excenevex, 3 km away.

10. Where to have a picnic in Yvoire?

There are plenty of restaurants and cafes in Yvoire to eat in, but if you prefer a picnic, that is also possible.

You can of course sit down for your picnic and eat in any street in Yvoire, on a low wall or on a bench.

However, to enjoy the view in good conditions, you can go to :

  • At the mainmarina: there are some benches along the shore. There is a lawn and a playground for children aged 3 to 8 years. Ideal in the evening to enjoy the sunset and the boat show.
  • At the fishermen’s port: you can sit on the benches under the church, on the pier or just behind the church, there are picnic tables in the grass, and you are close to the beach for swimming at Yvoire as well as the beginning of the Voie Verte which links Yvoire to the Domaine de Rovorée.
  • In Rovorée, a large public park on the shores of Lake Geneva.
  • There are also benches in the village, in the alleys or on the square in front of the church, but the lakefront is much more pleasant.

Whatever your choice, please leave your picnic site at least as clean as you found it.
Rubbish bins are available throughout the village.
The other visitors, the locals, and above all nature and the lake thank you 🙂

11. Public toilets: where to go to the toilet in Yvoire?

There are several free public toilets in the village.

So, it is quite possible to find a toilet within 100m when you are in the village.
In Yvoire, the public toilets are located :

  • At the marina, on the Place du Port
  • At the marina, under the Mollards car park, next to the children’s playground
  • At the entrance to the village, on the Place de la Mairie
  • At the fishermen’s port, at the bottom of the Rue de l’église

You can find them on the map:

In addition to the public toilets, there are of course private toilets in all the restaurants in the village and in the Jardin des Cinq Sens, but they are reserved for the customer of these places.

12. What is the ideal time to visit Yvoire?

This will obviously depend on what you want to do in the village:

  • You can rush around in less than 20 minutes, but you’ll probably miss the best of it.
  • If you just want to walk around the streets and stroll around a bit, you can stay between 1 and 3 hours.
  • If you are visiting the Jardin des Cinq Sens (recommended!), allow 1h to 1h30 for a visit to the Garden to fully enjoy it in addition to your walk through Yvoire.
  • You can also book a solar boat cruise (45 minutes) or walk to Rovorée (40 minutes round trip, not including time on site).
  • If you want to go to the restaurant in Yvoire, you will of course have to calculate more.

As you can see, visiting Yvoire really depends on what you want to do, you can easily spend the day in Yvoire taking time to walk around, to see the Jardin des Cinq Sens and the church, to stroll in the shops and art galleries, to take a boat trip!

ideal visit Yvoire Lake Geneva
The ideal length of visit to the village of Yvoire depends on your wishes: a quick tour or taking time to see the must-sees (Jardin des Cinq Sens, fortifications, …) and above all strolling around looking at the beauty of Lake Geneva.

13. Are dogs allowed in Yvoire and the Jardin des Cinq Sens?

In Yvoire

Pets including dogs are welcome in the streets of Yvoire.

They must be kept on a lead during your visit.

If you go to the restaurant in Yvoire, please call the restaurant beforehand.

At the Jardin des Cinq Sens

Dogs and other pets are unfortunately not allowed in the Jardin des 5 Sens (including on a leash, in the arms or even in a bag).

Only guide dogs may enter the Garden to accompany their master.

Thank you for your understanding.

Yvoire with dogs or pets
Dogs are welcome in Yvoire if they are kept on a lead. Only guide dogs are allowed in the Jardin des Cinq Sens.

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