The beach of the Bains des Pâquis is situated in the middle of the lake of Geneva, next to the Grand Hotel Kempinski. In fact, it’s not just a beach, it’s an institution. Just every one living in Geneva has been there and has a story or a joke to remember.
During the summer, people come and go all day long, for breakfast, a swim, a fondue or even a massage. It’s genuine, friendly and a must place to visit. It exists since 1872 and becomes public in 1890. Back then, men and women are separated. In 1932, the wooden huts are replaced by reinforced concrete and at the same time the place is significantly enlarged, offering equal space for both men and women.
At the beginning of the ’80s, a rumour spreads: the City of Geneva wants to transform the architecture, that is, to demolish and reconstruct. By taking such a decision, the City fails to take into consideration, the emotional attachment between the place and the people. Opposing renovation vs destruction, a fight against the city begins.
Nevertheless, in 1987 the city votes “yes” to the destruction. The people mobilise their efforts and make use of the popular initiative right by placing a request to amend the voted article.
They manage to prove that the renovation is less costly than the destruction and on the referendum of September 1988, 70% of the voters say NO to the disappearance of the Bains. The Bains des Pâquis stands today intact and these are a few shots taken during different periods of the year.