Lake Geneva

lake in Switzerland and France

Lake Geneva (French: Lac Léman, German: Genfersee, or Genfer See) is the second largest lake in Central Europe. The lake forms the border between France and Switzerland. About three fifths are in Switzerland. In total, it is about 580 km3 in size. At its deepest point it is 310 m deep, which makes it France's deepest lake. The biggest contributing river is the Rhone, other important tributaries are the Dranse, the Venoge and the Aubonne. The Rhone traverses the lake, and exits at Geneva. On average, its waters take 11.4 years to traverse the lake. Other than Geneva, important Swiss cities at the lakeshore are Lausanne, Montreux and Vevey. The biggest French city at the lakeshore is Thonon-les-Bains, the best known is Évian-les-Bains.

Lake Geneva
Satellite image
LocationSwitzerland, France
Coordinates46°26′N 6°33′E / 46.433°N 6.550°E / 46.433; 6.550
Primary inflowsRhone, La Venoge, Dranse, Aubonne
Primary outflowsRhone
Catchment area7,975 km² (3,079 mi²)
Basin countriesSwitzerland, France
Max. length73 km (45 mi)
Max. width14 km (8.7 mi)
Surface area580.03 km² (223.95 mi²)
Average depth154.4 m
Max. depth310 m
Water volume89 km³
Residence time11.4 years
Surface elevation372 m
IslandsÎle de Peilz, Château de Chillon, Île de Salagnon, Île de la Harpe, Île Rousseau, Île de Choisi
SettlementsGeneva (CH), Lausanne (CH), Evian (F), Montreux (CH), Thonon (F), Vevey (CH)

There are six small islands in the lake:

  1. Île de la Harpe (near Rolle) (2368 m²)
  2. Île de Salagnon (Île aux Mouettes, near Clarens) (1450 m²)
  3. Île de Peilz (near Villeneuve VD) (40 m²)
  4. Île de Choisi (near Bursinel) (120 m², at 46.4387608 N 6.3180184 E)
  5. Île Rousseau (in Geneva, Exit point of the river Rhone, 3390 m²)
  6. The island with Chillon castle (5070 m²)

The Pierres du Niton are two erratic stones in the lake in Geneva. They were deposited there during the last ice age.