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ART SEEN - Plouf! The history of splashing around in Lake Geneva

ART SEEN // Events// Art & Culture // June 19, 2017

WHAT:                       "PLOUF" -  an exhibition about the history of swimming and 
                                  bathing in Lake Geneva
WHERE:                    Musée du Léman
                                  Quai Louis-Bonnard 8, Nyon
WHEN:                      until September 20, 2018
OPEN:                       Tuesdays - Fridays and bank holidays
                                  April - October: 10:00 - 17:00
                                  November  - Mars: 14:00 - 17:00
TARIFS:                     Adults: CHF 8
                                  Students and Seniors: CHF 6
                                  Children until the age of 16: free
                                  Free entry every first Sunday of the month
BONUS:                    The purchased ticket is also valid for an entry to the Roman Museum and the castle of Nyon

SPLASH! (Plouf! in French) Get immersed in Lake Geneva without getting wet!

That's what you can get up to in Nyon, at the Musée du Léman, just steps from the lake. Up to you naturally, to decide whether a real dip in the lake would be the cherry on the cake after your visit. Nyon beach is just a short stroll away. To reach it, just take the footpath along the lake in Geneva direction.

You start your visit with the permanent exhibition of interesting artefacts and exhibits about the lake and its history, presented in entertaining ways: from life as a fisherman (of which there are still around 150 around the lake in our days), to submarines having explored the depths of the lake (which is up to 310m deep) in the past. Did you know for example, that you once (between 1964 and 1965) had the possibility to book a tourist ride on a submarine designed by Auguste and built by Jaques Piccard, father and brother of Bertrand Piccard who in our days amazes the world with his Solar plane? The submarine could take up to 40 passengers at a time, had 4 crew members, carried out 1100 dives and took 11000 passengers to discover the world under the surface of Lake Geneva.

  • Tourists could take a trip on the lake by submarine in 1964-1965, built by Jaques Piccard
  • Uli Van Neyghem enjoying the PLOUF! exhibition at the Musée du Leman


Young and old will also enjoy the aquariums showing you the fish you will find in the lake, as well as specimens of all the fauna (from swans to beavers or turtles) living on its shores.

The temporary exhibition PLOUF! gives visitors a glimpse into the history of bathing and swimming in the lake, from a time when bathing in the lake was prohibited in order to help prevent the spread of the Plague, to times when people did not swim in the lake due to superstition (fearing they might encounter ghosts of drowned persons, monsters or devils), or because it was considered unhealthy. From the 17th century onwards, doctors discovered the health benefits of nature and exercise and started to prescribe sojourning at the seaside or lakes as a cure for many ailments (hence the appearance of thermal baths like Evian-les-Bains). Later, during Industrialisation, bathing in Lake Geneva really became a health hazard, due to pollution.

Discover how fashion of bathing garments evolved over time, browse through the posters luring tourists to the resorts around the lake, and how beaches you know now have looked very different many years ago. You are bound to find out details about Lake Geneva you have not known before: that you might have encountered an escaped small alligator in the waters in 1950, a horde of wild boars, crossing the lake to escape French hunters in 2015 or on a more enjoyable scale, BB Brigitte Bardot bathing in the lake for a scene of her film "A very private affair".

One of the highlights of the exhibition is the short animation film AUBADE (which would translate into something like morning serenade), a beautiful poetic homage to a concert given at the Bains de Paquis by composer and cellist Mich Gerber. The film deservedly earned numerous nominations and prizes at international film festivals.

  • Uli Van Neyghem


In short: The Musée du Léman and PLOUF! are an entertaining possibility to learn more about the beautiful region we live in.


Hot tips:

In connection with the exhibition, the museum offers different activities and workshops for children of different age groups from the age of 6 against a small fee (consult the website for dates and details).

If you are hungry before or after the visit: Restaurant La Nautique is just steps away in the harbour on the other side of the lake road.




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