The town of La Roche-sur-Foron is located in the Haute-Savoie in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region. With a population of 11,175, it is part of the cross-border conurbation of Greater Geneva. This commune is at the crossroads of the Arve Valley, Annecy at 20 km and Geneva at 20 km. Its altitude is 545 metres.
History and heritage
The site of La Roche-sur-Foron has been home to fortified settlements since prehistoric times. Later the Burgundians occupied the place. During the 11th and 13th centuries, La Roche was the capital of the County of Geneva. Schools run by monks welcomed renowned pupils such as Guillaume Fichet, who was the originator of printing in France, and also Saint Pierre Favre and Saint François de Sales, bishop of Geneva. The name La Roche comes from the family of lords Louis and Anselme de La Roche.
You can admire the pretty Boniface de la Grange house which has a bulbous bell tower with a listed organ. A visit to the centre of the town shows the 16th century houses with their colourful facades. The town hall and the Grenette, which date from the 19th century, are in the neoclassical style. La Bénite Fontaine, located 1 km away, is a place of pilgrimage with a neo-Gothic chapel and a stream nearby.
The highlight of the visit is the Tour des Contes de Genève, the last remnant of the fortress. The tower is set against a boulder from a glacier. You have to climb 137 steps to discover a panoramic view from the Swiss Jura to the French Alps. The tower is open to visitors from May to September (price: €2 and €1 for children aged 6 to 16). The medieval town of La Roche-sur-Foron is a popular tourist destination.
In 1885, the city was the first to havepublic lighting before Paris, London and Berlin. Renowned craftsmen are present in the town: the luthiers of the Quatuor de l’atelier Martinier, the violin and bow makers of the Saumagne workshop and a pottery in Éteaux.
The best rated hotels
Depending on your budget, we have selected three hotels in La Roche-sur-Foron that offer excellent value for money and have very good customer reviews:
This 3-star hotel is located in the heart of the medieval town and is within easy reach of most of the tours we suggest on this page. The rooms are spacious and well equipped. Breakfast is served in the form of a buffet.From € 89 per night.
Hotel le Foron
The hotel is located near the city centre and opposite the exhibition centre where the RocheExpo fair is held every year. You can enjoy the swimming pool and the garden. There is a partner restaurant very close by where you can enjoy your meals.
Prices start at € 76 per night.
Residence Le Panoramic
This establishment offers a flat located on the heights of the city. It has 2 bedrooms, a fully equipped kitchen with dishwasher, microwave, washing machine, fridge and oven. A good starting point to discover the medieval city.From 90 € per night.
The town of La Roche-sur-Foron has many public cultural facilities.
The Château de l’Echelle
This historic building belongs to the town and is used for cultural exhibitions with painters, visual artists and musicians presenting their creations.Address: 100 rue du Collège du Plain Château.
Le Parc cinema
This cinema, classified as an Art et Essai cinema, is managed by the MJC and run by a team of volunteers who offer 150 films a year and debates on cinema. Several festivals are organised: Vertical Vertige dedicated to mountain films, Jeunes Z’O Parc for children and Récré O Ciné for the youngest.
The media library
It is located at 4 rue du Collège and allows you to borrow numerous books, CDs and DVDs. It regularly organises events.
- The music school: located at 70 rue de l’Égalité, it offers instruction in 13 disciplines. Public concerts are frequently organised.
- The Maison des Jeunes et de la Culture: this is the social centre of the Pays Rochois located at 287 avenue Jean Jaurès. It is the venue for many activities aimed at young people.
The commune offers a number of quality sports facilities for the practice of sport:
The Foron aquatic centre
With 5 open-air pools, one of which is covered, it includes: a 25 m pool, a children’s pool, a semi-open pool, a paddling pool, a water slide, a lawn, a playground, a volleyball court and a bar.
- The Bruine sports complex: it consists of a gymnasium, four rooms specialising in judo, boxing, table tennis and climbing. A dozen sports associations offer training sessions and competitions.
- The Pays Rochois gymnasium: located in rue des Marmontaines, it is used by schools and sports clubs.
- The Jean Moënne sports park: used for athletics, handball and basketball.
- The Jean Moënne football pitch: grass for local clubs.
- Various sports facilities: The Rochais tennis club with 5 courts open to tourists in summer, the city-stades of La Balme and Les Capucins and a 348 m² bowling green for playing pétanque.
There aretwo multi-care centres for children aged 2 months to 3 years: Pom-Canaille and Rock-Coeur. The aim is to awaken and develop the child.
The town has 3 nursery schools, 4 elementary schools, 2 secondary schools and two high schools, one of which is agricultural.
Children aged between 12 and 17 can benefit froma leisure centre all year round. Various activities, trips and outings are organised. The youth centre located at 200 rue Perrine is open to young people on Wednesday afternoons.
For the younger children aged 3 to 12, the Pays Rochois leisure centre is open on Wednesdays and during the school holidays.
Ideas for activities
For tourists who come to visit this authentic town, we suggest some ideas for activities during your holidays:
- Guided tour: Discover 1000 years of history, accompanied by a heritage guide to visit the monuments and understand the history of the city. Registration at the tourist office.
- Told and animated visits at night: With two fairies and the ancient fencing company l’Épée de Savoie. Dates: 22 July, 12 August and 2 September. RDV in front of the tourist office.
- The tre asure hunt: “In search of the lost signs” Accompanied by a heritage guide, you have to find the signs of craftsmen and shopkeepers in the town and discover a treasure at the top of the tower of the Geneva tales. With loan of costume and souvenir gift. Every Wednesday in July and August, departure and registration in front of the tourist office.
- The Pays Rochois signposted paths: You can buy a topogude at the tourist office for 2 €. It will allow you to walk the 9 footpaths of the canton which last from 1 to 4 hours.
- La grimpée du Pays Rochois: On the last Sunday in September, this race for walkers and runners offers a 900 metre difference in altitude over a 10 km length.
- The Moulin du Châtelet in Cornier: It is located 6 km from La Roche-sur-Foron in the commune of Cornier, at a place called Le Châtelet. Every spring, the miller continues to turn his wheel to produce an excellent walnut oil. It was built between the 17th and 18th centuries. A visit to the outside of the mill reveals the two waterwheels, which are driven by water from a small pond. Originally the mill produced flour and was also used as a sawmill.
The Haute-Savoie Mont-Blanc International Fair
This annual fair has been held since 1925 between the end of April and the beginning of May over a period of ten days. Nearly 100,000 visitors have access to more than 500 exhibitors, making it the 8th largest fair in France. The Rochexpo site has hosted this event since 1970. Each year, the Haute-Savoie Mont-Blanc International Fair chooses a guest of honour, often a country.
Market in La-Roche-sur-Foron
The Thursday morning market is held all year round from 7.30 am to 12.30 pm in the town centre. It brings together more than 150 itinerant traders who offer local food products and manufactured goods. This traditional market has existed for several centuries.Address: Place d’Andrevetan.
Address: 1 place de l’Hôtel de Ville, 74 800 La Roche-sur-Foron Tel: 04 50 25 90 00 Opening hours: Monday to Friday, 8.30am to 12pm and 2pm to 5pm (closes at 4pm on Friday).
Tourist OfficeAddress: 1 place d’Andrevetan, 74800 La Roche-sur-Foron Tel: 04 50 03 36 68 Official website: larochesurforon.com