|Elevation||1,379 m (4,524 ft)|
|Location||Haut-Savoie, Rhône-Alpes, France|
|Age of rock||Jurassic to Cretaceous|
Below the Salève northwards is located the Geneva urban area where more than 700,000 people live.
The Salève consists of the Pitons, the Grand and the Petit Salève and culminates at 1379 meters at the Grand Piton. Accessible by a cable car since 1932 (rebuilt in 1983), the Salève stretches between Étrembières in the north and the suspension bridge de la Caille in the south. Between 1892 and 1935, the Salève was served by the first electric rack railway in the world.
The eastern side of the Salève dives under the molasse of the Plateau des Bornes, while the abrupt mountain slope facing Geneva is subject to erosion. The vegetation - or its absence - enhances the limestone's layers. This side of the mountain is slit by several narrow and deep gorges, among which the Grande Varappe, which at the end of the 19th century gave its name to the activity of rock climbing in French. This discipline developed intensely there, at a time when it was only beginning.
The Monnetier valley, separating the Petit and the Grand Salève, is due to glaciary erosion. Modern geologists now think that this valley was dug by the subglaciary currents in a fissured region between the Petit and the Grand Salève, and not by the Arve as was assumed earlier.
From prehistory to green tourism
Between 12,000 and 10,000 BC, the Salève hosted a magdalenian site. Since 1833, the physician from Geneva François Isaac Mayor, then the minister Taillefer and the dentist Thoily explored the mountain's past. The cliff near Veyrier turned out to be a prehistoric shelter. Bones (partridge, reindeer, horse, marmot...), flint and engraved wood was found in a dozen places, caves, shelters or settlements. There was a dolmen at Aiguebelle.
The Salève offers a magnificent panorama over the Geneva agglomeration, Lake Geneva, the south of the Jura mountains, the Prealps, Lake Annecy and the Mont Blanc. It is used for leisure time activities by the inhabitants of Geneva due to its proximity to the city (for this reason it is often called the "mountain of the Genevans"). One can practice rock climbing, hiking, mountain biking, paragliding, hang gliding, model aircraft, speleology as well as skiing at the Col de la Croisette. It can be accessed from the center of Geneva by public bus (No. 8, 34, 41) to Veyrier-Ecole or Veyrier-Douane. While the Salève is open to everybody for free, it also hosts agriculture - the cows of the Salève supply Geneva with milk - and forestry.
"Le syndicat mixte du Salève" and the "Maison du Salève"
The "Syndicat mixte du Salève" was created in 1994 and regroups the twenty communes on whose ground the Salève is located. Its objective is to appreciate and protect the mountain which is a "preserved island" in the middle of a French-Suisse territory that is highly urbanized with more than 700.000 inhabitants.
The syndicat opened the "Maison du Salève" in September 2007 in an ancient Mikerne farm house dating from 1733. This documentation center presents all aspects of the mountain: its history, patrimony, nature, sports and leisure. In the same year, it developed a charter for sustainable development of the Salève trying to reconcile the conservation of the massif with its increasing frequentation with a vision on 30 years. The "Maison du Salève" hosts a permanent exposition, temporary exhibitions as well as guided tours, excursions and conferences about the local patrimony and the environment.
The syndicat involves in its three work groups - agriculture, tourism and leisure, access and transportation - all users of the Salève, i.e., communes, sport clubs, environment protection associations, restorations, farmers, hunters, tourism offices etc.
The Salève in literature
|“||It was echoed from Saleve, the Juras, and the Alps of Savoy; vivid flashes of lightning dazzled my eyes, illuminating the lake, making it appear like a vast sheet of fire; then for an instant everything seemed of a pitchy darkness, until the eye recovered itself from the preceding flash.||”|
|“||I thought of pursuing the devil; but it would have been in vain, for another flash discovered him to me hanging among the rocks of the nearly perpendicular ascent of Mont. Saleve, a hill that bounds Plainpalais on the south.||”|
|“||Who could arrest a creature capable of scaling the overhanging sides of Mont Saleve?||”|
- The Dedicace to the Last song of Harold's Pilgrimage, proposed by Lamartine in 1825 as the conclusion of his friend Lord Byron's uncompleted poem, is located on the Salève. Byron died in 1824. (See the french page for the complete "Dedicace").
Te souviens-tu du jour où gravissant la cime
- "Le Ruisseau" is a poem by Théophile Gautier located on the foot of the Salève (1869). (See the french page for the complete poem).
Du creux de la roche moussue
The Salève in paintings
The Salève occurs on one of the first European paintings depicting a realistic landscape, La Pêche Miraculeuse by Konrad Witz created in 1444.
The Salève (left) and the agglomeration of Annemasse
The Salève seen from Annecy
The Mont Blanc from the summit of the Salève
Night view on St-Julien from the Salève
- Its upper station is 1100 meters high, and is a work of the swiss architect Maurice Braillard.
- Chemin de Fer du Salève
- Histoire des communes savoyardes, tome III, Le Genevois et Lac d'Annecy, de Jean-Yves Mariotte, Henri Baud, Jean-Bernard Challamel et Alain Guerrier, éditions Horvath, 1978.
-  GrandBivouac.com (in French)