||This article may be expanded with text translated from the corresponding article in the French Wikipedia. (December 2008)|
Foothills of the Jura
|Intercommunality||Pays de Gex|
|• Mayor (2001–2008)||Étienne Blanc|
|• Land1||33.88 km2 (13.08 sq mi)|
|• Population2 density||230/km2 (600/sq mi)|
|INSEE/Postal code||01143 / 01220|
|Elevation||464–1,447 m (1,522–4,747 ft)
(avg. 509 m or 1,670 ft)
1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km² (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.2 Population without double counting: residents of multiple communes (e.g., students and military personnel) only counted once.
It is a popular spa town.
Divonne lies on the border with French-speaking Switzerland, between the foot of the Jura mountains and Lake Geneva. Geneva itself is 20 minutes away on the Swiss autoroute to the south-west. Nyon, a Swiss market town, is the nearest main town travelling east along Lake Geneva towards Lausanne. On the French side the nearest town is Gex, which lies at the foot of the Col de la Faucille pass by which the main N5 road crosses the Jura in the direction of Dijon.
Divonne became popular as a spa in the 19th century. The golf course was built in the 1930s. However many of its present-day amenities - casino, hippodrome, open air swimming pool and artificial lake (Lac de Divonne) - were built after 1945. A cultural centre by the lake was completed in 2005. Divonne used to host a small chamber music festival every summer centred on its tiny theatre and the Domaine de Divonne. The Chateau de Divonne, now a hotel, was the site of Divonne's medieval castle.
A short way above the town there are several natural springs. These were already known to the Romans, who built an aqueduct from Divonne to Nyon to supply water to their garrison.
The town is home to some 8000 people, which now includes people from all over the world, for whom Divonne is a pleasant place to live for a few years while they are posted in the Geneva area with multinational companies or international organizations such as the United Nations.
There is a lively market on Sundays and a succession of cultural and sporting events throughout the year.
Divonne used to have a railway, linking it to Gex and Bellegarde on the French side and to Nyon and Geneva on the Swiss side. The old railway station can still be seen in the town centre. However though trains no longer run in and out of this station, the SNCF administrative offices can still be used to purchase tickets from any SNCF departure point.
Diamonds were mined in Divonne in the past, and the present-day thermal spa is built on the site of a diamond-cutting works, powered by a water wheel on the Divonne river which still turns today.
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