A toute vapeur


Anchors aweigh!



Living heritage sails on Lake Geneva




The fleet

The Belle Époque fleet of the CGN

les bateaux_sommaire


The Association Friends of the Steamboats on Lake Geneva (ABVL)



Cruises and discoveries


Irwin Gafner

“I like the family spirit of the CGN”


CGN’s Shipyard

Setting a course for the future


Lake tour

Islands of Lake Geneva


Lake Geneva and the climate

10 points to remember


Fête des Vignerons 2019

A once in-a-generation event


For brainy buccaneers

Maxi fun!


Evénements et croisières à thème




The Board of the ABVL, in 2019 (from left to right): Luc-Antoine Baehni (CGN’s CEO, Member), Jean-François Kung (Member), Christine Biolley (Secretary), Thomas Beck (Treasurer), Yves de Siebenthal (Vice-President), Evelyne Chevallaz-Belotti (General coordinator), François Bosshard (Secretary), Antoine Jacquenoud (Member), Yves de Gunten (Member), Carole Hosp (Member), Sébastien Buet (Member), Maurice Decoppet (President) and Jean-Jacques Schwaab (Member).



The ABVL has become an essential actor in the conservation of the CGN’s Belle Epoque fleet.


Created in June 2002 by two passionate individuals deeply concerned with the survival of a fleet suddenly in danger for financial reasons, it can today count on some 20,000 donors and more than 4,000 active members.

Its objective is defined in Art. 1 of its statutes: The ABVL has as its objective the search for funds destined for the conservation and the maintenance in regular service of the eight Belle Epoque boats: Montreux, Vevey, Italie, La Suisse, Savoie, Simplon, Helvétie and Rhône.

Thanks to the donations collected by the ABVL, eight Belle Epoque boats belonging to the company operating the boats on Lake Geneva (the CGN) have been partially or completely renovated. To date, the association has collected over CHF 35 millions. The money provided by the ABVL since it’s creation in 2002 represents approximately 35% of the total amount invested in the renovation of this fleet.





S/S Simplon (1920)*

Two partial overhauls between 2003 and 2005 and between 2010 and 2011 consisting of sandblasting the hull, completely overhauling the original steam engine, restoring the 1st and 2nd class lounges on the main deck, improving the upper deck and installing bow thrusters. During the winter of 2016/2017 retubing of the two boilers dating from 1966.


S/S La Suisse (1910)*

Complete renovation between 2007 and 2009.


S/S Montreux (1904)*

Financing the fine-tuning of the new prototype steam engine over a number of years. Partial renovation of the 1st class lounge during the winter 2014/2015. In addition, in 2016, the ABVL financed the replacement of the superheater, an important part of the boiler.


S/S Rhône (1927)*

In 2011, financing the improvement of the first class salon. Replacing the steel hoods of the steam engine, which hindered the view but were needed for the automatic lubrication system, with ones made of transparent Plexiglas.


M/S Helvétie (1926)**

Financing a first partial renovation 2011/2012: careening for conservation purposes, sandblasting of the hull and the paddle wheels, as well as a limited renovation of the superstructure.


S/S Savoie (1914)*

2011-2012, financing of the complete overhaul of the original steam engine.


M/S Vevey (1907)**

During the complete overhaul 2012-2013, financing of the Belle Epoque lighting fixtures.


M/S Italie (1908)**

The ABVL collected over CHF 10.6 millions for the complete renovation, budgeted at CHF 13.6 millions. The work was undertaken between May 2015 and October 2016.


S/S Rhône (1927)*

Participation by the ABVL totalling CHF 3 millions within a total budget of CHF 15,843,000.– (all taxes included), primarily covered by the three cantons around the lake – Vaud, Geneva and Valais – within the framework of a partnership between public and private funds.




The ABVL has also created a Geneva-based foundation in 2006 called “Pro Vapore”, with identical statutory objectives as the association, to which it has entrusted management of the funds collected. The foundation, controlled by a supervisory government agency, guarantees the good management of the funds povided by the association. Both the association and the foundation are listed on the Trade Register.



Informations: www.abvl.ch or  info@abvl.ch

Contact: ABVL • Avenue de Rhodanie 17

Case postale 60 • 1001 Lausanne

Phone +41 (0)21 614 62 88 • Fax +41 (0)21 614 62 89




*S/S = Steam Ship

**M/S = Motor Ship

The ABVL needs your help!


Since 2002, the Association Friends of the Steamboats on the Lake of Geneva (ABVL) has been committed to making the dream come true: that one day the eight boats of the Belle Epoque fleet can once again cruise together on Lake Geneva…


Even though the fleet is classified as a “historical monument of national importance”, which will protect it from demolition, maintaining it in the best possible state of conservation requires considerable financial investment, of which a large proportion must come from the private sector.

The last side-wheel paddle steamer built in Switzerland in 1927, the Rhône, is currently being fully renovated in a process that will take about fifteen months. Even though the majority of the necessary funds is provided by the principal shareholders of the CGN, i.e. the cantons of Vaud, Geneva and Valais, the ABVL has been asked to contribute CHF 3 million to allow the work to go forwards.

In 2023-2025, it will be the turn of the Simplon to enjoy a final and even bigger partial renovation.

One last boat remains decommissioned, the Helvétie (1926). We have not forgotten that it will be celebrating its centenary in 2026!

Every donation counts! Without the unfailing commitment of the ABVL to the Belle Epoque fleet of the CGN over the past 16 years, there would most likely only exist one or two side-wheel paddle boats, such as La Suisse and the Savoie, to continue navigating on Lake Geneva.



Avenue de Rhodanie 17 • Case postale 60• CH-1001 Lausanne

Phone +41 (0)21 614 62 88 • Fax +41 (0)21 614 62 89

info@abvl.ch www.abvl.ch


Join us as a donor through a contribution



La Poste Suisse – CCP 17-197675-0

IBAN: CH61 0900 0000 1719 7675 0



• In Swiss francs: UBS “ABVL” Account

IBAN: CH62 0024 3243 4589 5701 H

• In Euros: UBS “ABVL” Account

IBAN: CH 68 0024 3243 4589 5761 K



La Lyonnaise de Banque (Account in Euros)

Account: 00032572501

IBAN: FR76 1009 6182 2900 0325 7250 178 • BIC CMCIFRPP


For all information concerning a possible legacy, you can contact us on +41 (0)21 614 62 88 or through info@abvl.ch



In coming on board as a member of the ABVL, you will become a key player in the conservation of a fleet of boats unique in the world!


Member advantages

• Welcome gift

• Special offers

• Exclusive events

• Participation in the annual general meeting

• Newsletter


Annual fees

Individual: CHF 30.– / 25 Euros

Couple: CHF 50.– / 40 Euros

Junior (age 6-18): CHF 20.– / 15 Euros

Institutions or organizations: CHF 100.– / 80 Euros

Life member: contact the ABVL


Online registration: www.abvl.ch or by means of the ABVL folder to be found on all the CGN boats.