Newly Swissed Online Magazine

Gliss’en Ville – Street Slip-Sliding in Geneva

Gliss en Ville - Geneva

Who says you have to go to the Alps to go tobogganing?

Gliss en Ville - Geneva

Saturday afternoon in Geneva, there was slippery, wet, downhill fun at the first ever Gliss'en Ville ("Sliding in the City"). Thousands of sliders turned out in bathing suits, purple wigs, pink tutus and at least one chameleon costume. People brought inner tubes and inflated sharks to glide down 200 meters of Rue Voltaire on a cushion of wet plastic.

Gliss en Ville - Geneva
Gliss en Ville - Geneva

One of the first to go down was the city’s mayor, Esther Alder. "I loved it!" said the mayor in French. But like a loyal Green Party leader, she said she would have liked faster progress sliding down the hill. (Others agreed.) Mayor Alder said the city was a strong supporter of the event because "it's an exciting way to bring people together."

Gliss en Ville - Geneva


Gliss'en Ville - Rinse and repeat, please!

Gliss’en Ville was created by local newspaper Nouvelles. Chief organizer Angélique Freytag was first inspired to create something like this in Geneva when she saw a similar street waterslide in Salt Lake City in the United States.

Tickets were 10 francs for one hour, 20 francs for families and 40 francs for the entire afternoon. The line moved fairly quickly, but a wait of 30 minutes or more was typical by mid-afternoon — well worth it, according to most sliders.

Gliss en Ville - Geneva
Gliss en Ville - Geneva
Gliss en Ville - Geneva

Of course, we, your intrepid Newly Swissed correspondents, had to test the waters. Zooming down a city street on our bellies was surreal, frictionless fun, though, like the mayor we had a need for more speed. Meanwhile, Rue Voltaire was a street party, the cafés filled with people in bathing suits and crazy costumes. We’re ready to get in line for next year!

Gliss en Ville - Geneva(Story and photos by Bill Harby and Marie-France Roberts)

Bill Harby and Marie-France Robert

Bill Harby is an award-winning magazine and online writer, editor, photographer and editorial consultant. His wife and reporting/translating partner Marie-France Robert and he have homes in Neuchâtel and Geneva, and in Volcano village on Hawai‘i island.

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Bill Harby and Marie-France Robert

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