Hi everyone. Here we are, today we officially begin our adventure in Switzerland and we will formalize this beginning in Geneva. We are can’t wait, but first let’s introduce it.
Geneva is a Swiss municipality and is the capital of the canton. It is the second most populated city and the second largest financial center in Switzerland after Zurich. Geneva is located right where Lake Geneva flows into the Rhone River. The city has a cultural life of great wealth through its many museums and libraries, but what has greatly contributed to its notoriety is the Grand Théâtre and the Orchester de la Suisse Romande (which we will have the opportunity to admire later). There is also a lot on a cultural level, Geneva is the seat of the Université de Genève. In addition, its Faculty of Translation and Interpreting is one of the first formation and research institutes in the world. It is not over, there is also the École Internationale de Genève, the oldest international school in the world. On a historical level it has a lot to tell, on an economic level as well (Geneva is home to several Swiss and international companies). We conclude the presentation by adding that Geneva has been ranked among the ten most liveable cities in the world.
To know more (what to eat, where to eat, where to have fun, things to visit…) continue to read.
Now we get at the heart. Ready? Let’s go!
PLACES TO VISIT (MUSEUMS/THEATERS…)
Cathedrale de St-Pierre
- Cathedrale de St-Pierre: it is the largest Protestant church in Geneva, with a great value, as it was involved in historical events when the Protestant reforms came about.
The area below the cathedral has been the subject of archaeological excavations which have revealed a historical site dating back to the time of the Roman Empire that can now be visited in the basement of the cathedral. This also has several bells (hosted in the towers) and two of the largest ones are the Clemence and the Bellerive. You can access the bell towers to enjoy a wonderful panoramic view over the whole of Geneva. In addition, the church is also the seat of the assemblies of the Council of State, the cantonal assembly and is part of a large spiritual and cultural space called the Éspace Saint-Pierre, which includes the International Museum of the Reformation (the museum presents the history of the Reformation Protestant and was awarded for the quality of his publications on the history of the Reformation and for the appropriate use of a symbolic place) and Calvino’s Auditorium.
- Palais des Nations: is a complex of buildings that houses the headquarters of the United Nations Office. The marble building overlooks Lake Geneva and is located within the Ariana Park. The entrance is adorned with an expanse of greenery, a statue and flags on the side, plus the building houses a time capsule (a container specially prepared to store objects or information destined to be found in a future era) which contains a document listing all the names of the member states of the League of Nations and the coins of all the countries present at the tenth Assembly of the League of Nations.
- Musée d’art et d’histoire: it is one of the three major museums in Switzerland as it has a wide variety of collections: in particular archeology (finds from prehistoric times, ancient Egypt, the East, Greece, of the Roman era), fine arts and applied arts (finds of Byzantine art, Medieval and Renaissance weapons). The museum is located in the city center. The building has a square base and has four floors. The facade is decorated with sculptures representing an allegory of arts such as painting, sculpture and architecture. History and art, such a beautiful combo!
- Maison Tavel: is the oldest private residence in the city and is the seat of the Musée du Vieux Genève (dedicated to city life from the fourteenth to the nineteenth century). The building has a Gothic stone facade and inside you can admire rooms and halls that offer a glimpse of life in Geneva in the 17th century, and in the following centuries, through a model wonderfully constructed.
- Patek Philippe: the museum is housed in a very beautiful and elegant structure built at the beginning of the twentieth century and exhibits a collection of watches (which we know to be symbolic objects of Switzerland) made in the period from the sixteenth to the twentieth century. The museum also includes a library with more than eight thousand books whose main theme is clocks.
- Musée Ariana: is a museum dedicated to ceramic and glass works of art. This tells the story, the method, the technology as glass and ceramics have been produced over the last 1,200 years. A unique and unmissable collection. The museum is in Neoclassical and Neo-Baroque style and is located on Avenue de la Paix. The structure is very beautiful with a dome on the top. It is surrounded by lots of greenery and there is a fountain at the entrance. A curiosity about the history of this palace is that it was initially built to house the private collection of the Swiss art collector and patron Gustave Revilliod, who named it after his mother Ariane de la Rive, and later bequeathed it to the city of Geneva.
- Musee d’ethnographie de Geneve: it is an ethnographic museum and whose collection houses art objects from all continents. There are often very interesting temporary exhibitions (besides the permanent ones of course). On the ground floor there is the shop and a bar. Let us mention its value, in 2017 it won the European Museum of the Year award, and has a really modern and very particular architecture!
- CERN: European organization for nuclear research, is the largest particle physics laboratory in the world, so don’t miss this great opportunity to get to know it. There are so many rooms with soft lighting due to various recreations, the interactive room, the microcosm and so on. The structure is just in the shape of a globe. It’s super charming (even for non-physics lovers) and there’s so much to see. Just be aware that some rooms are free, others you need to pay a and plus you need the reservation.
- Monument international de la Réformation: the wall of the Reformers is a monument located inside the Parc des Bastions which honors the main characters, events and documents of the Protestant Reformation represented in statues. Along the wall, on both sides of the central statues is engraved the motto of both the Protestant Reformation and the city of Geneva: “post tenebras lux” = “after darkness the light”. The monument is located at the University of Geneva.
- Red Cross and Red Crescent Museum: a very famous museum, dealing with the humanitarian adventure. A very significant place to learn from, an example of its value is the giant foot trampling on dignity.
- You can’t miss a visit to the Favarger Chocolate Factory, a chocolate factory. The guide will accompany you to the machinery, the materials, the various processes and will tell you all its history. Obviously this is also included as a gastronomic tour, as at the end of the visit it is possible to taste some chocolates or a drink. In addition, you can buy something in the shop located there.
As for the theaters, here are some: Grand Théâtre de Genève, Théâtre du Galpon, Comédie de Genève, Théâtre du Grütli, Bâtiment des Forces motrices.
Palais des Nations
Geneva is full of things to do, so let the fun begin!
- Jet d’eau: this is a large and particular fountain as it is located at the point where Lake Geneva is about to flow into the Rhone river. This is one of the most famous and suggestive tourist attractions of the city, so much so that it has become a symbol of it. Think that its spray of water reaches a certain height to make it visible throughout the city and also from very high. You can’t miss this wonder also because it is possible to reach the pump where the jet starts via a walkway and in addition you can take advantage of the beauty of the lakefront and take a healthy walk.
- Parc Des Bastions: it is the park of the Bastions (it is so called because the inhabitants of Geneva used to walk here along the ancient city ramparts before the place became a park). It is located right in the center of Geneva, close to St. Peter’s Cathedral and the Maison Tavel. Inside the park there are more than 150 different species of plants but not only that, it is very rich in activities. It also offers a particular bar and games of giant chess and checkers! In addition, the park is very well kept, to appreciate is the mix between nature and history, as the previously seen Mur de la Réformation is located here.
- Parc La Grange: it is a very beautiful, vast and pleasant park for a walk, perfect even just to relax in the shade of a tree, all with the lake view. Wonderful!
- Le Jardin Anglais: is a large garden located near the lake, so with a view. Among the points of interest of the Jardin Anglais, there is the Monument National with the aim of commemorating Geneva’s accession to the Swiss Confederation. Two other points of interest are represented by the fountain of the Four Seasons (with four statues depicting the god of the sea Poseidon, the Nereid Amphitrite, Aci and the nymph Galatea) and the Flowery Clock made with 6500 plants and flowers, a tribute to the symbol of the city. Furthermore, if you look closely at the lake from a point in the garden, you will notice a very particular thing, namely the Pierres de Niton, two stones dating back to the Ice Age left by the Rhone glacier.
- Brunswick Monument: is a marble mausoleum located at the Jardin des Alpes in Quai du Mont-Blanc, near the lake. It is dedicated to the Duke of Brunswick who donated all of his possessions to the city. The statue of the duke is flanked by two stone lions and is truly impressive. A curiosity about this place is that it is located a few meters from the exact spot where Luigi Lucheni stabbed Princess Sissi to death.
- Île Rousseau: is an island located in the middle of the Rhone. Here you can see a statue of the philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau from the island takes its name. The island can be reached easily via the Mont Blanc Bridge, which is very suggestive to cross.
Another bridge absolutely to visit is the Pointe de la Jonction, here, right here, the conjunction (absolutely visible) between the two rivers Rhone and the Arve takes place. Don’t miss this fantastic view of the two rivers.
- Promenade de la Treille: a wonderful walk right in the historic center of Geneva. Just identical to a promenade but instead of the water you are surrounded by nature, what a charm! This wonderful avenue is lined with trees and a long bench (long till the end of the avenue, the longest you have ever seen). A meeting place for all ages.
- Around the city we can still visit many things, let’s see some: Place du Bourg-de-Four is a small square in the historic center of Geneva, also composed of narrow streets overlooking the lake. It is a shopping mall with fountains, restaurants, bars and high-end shops. The square is very close to the St. Pierre cathedral. It is impossible not to meet the Broken Chair, the giant three-legged chair located in front of the Palace of Nations, during the journey. It is a monumental wooden sculpture and the absence of a chair leg symbolizes the amputation of a limb due to war victims. Its position also has a symbolic value, being placed in the vicinity of an international organism. Rue du Rhône is always a very lively street, full of watch shops, full of everything. It is certainly one of the most elegant and exclusive streets, also perfect for luxury shopping. Beautiful and evocative even at night. Not to be missed is the walk in the modern Quartier des Bains. Place du Molard is a small but very suggestive square, full of nice clubs and a characteristic tower with the clock symbol of Switzerland. Beautiful in the evening when the road is illuminated by the LEDs on the ground.
- And it continues with: Bains des Paquis a truly excellent seaside resort for hot and sunny summer days. The space has sports equipment and also a refreshment area. Genève-Plage another seaside resort but with different services: lake, swimming pool with slides and diving boards, changing rooms, green areas and shaded areas under the trees, there is the possibility to practice water sports and in addition a refreshment area. Escape Game Geneva and Secret Chamber Escape Game are escape games to spend your leisure time full of fun or you can opt for the Casino du Lac de Genève. Do not miss the ride on the “mouttes” of small boats with a characteristic shape and yellow color that make urban connections between the two shores of Lake Geneva, an experience not to be missed.
In this regard, do not forget to request the Geneva Transport Card at the tourist centers, that is a free pass for public transport in Geneva or the simple Geneva Pass for museums, excursions and so on.
Promenade de la Treille
Geneva’s nightlife is very versatile, lively but also quieter. The area with the most events and trendy clubs is concentrated in the old city area and in various districts along the river. An example is place di Bourg-de-Four, one of the most lively and trendy districts of the city, here in this area you can find everything, luxury bars and clubs for the elite of the jet set, private parties and much more.
Among the places to have fun in Geneva we find:
- Nightclub Mazazique: night club
- Velvet club: disco
- Silencio Club: night club
- Audio Club: night club
- Java Club: disco
- The Leopard Room Bar & Lounge
Oh yes, it’s time for typical dishes. Let’s taste them together!
- Rosti: it is one of the most famous dishes of Swiss cuisine, it is a savoury pie with a crispy crust. Each city has its own variant. In the past it was served for breakfast to the farmers of German-speaking Switzerland, today it is offered as a side dish. The goodness of simplicity!
- Swiss cheese fondue: the king of Swiss recipes, Swiss cheese is the one who made the culinary fortune of the country. So for the preparation of the fondue a hard cheese melted inside a special pot called “caquelon” is used which is brought to the hot table where everyone dips its piece of bread with a fork designed for this use.
- Raclette: a hard cheese based dish. The latter is cut in half and heated over the fire. When the top warms up enough to melt, it sits on the plate. Tradition has it that it is served with potatoes (also baked in foil) and pickles.
- Swiss chocolate: you can’t go to Geneva and not taste Swiss chocolate, the most famous in the world. You can buy it in chocolate shops, directly in chocolate factories or choose one of the many sweets in the pastry shop, wherever you want to buy it the important thing is to do it.
- Zuger Kirschtorte: this dessert is prepared by soaking the sponge cake in kirsch (cherry liqueur) which will then be placed on two very crumbly discs with the cream. Around it is adorned with hazelnuts and on the surface with icing sugar. Superb!
WHERE TO EAT (RESTAURANTS/CAFE’…)
Which are some places where you can taste typical dishes? We’ll take care of it, let’s see them.
- Restaurant du Vieux-Port: French, Swiss, European cuisine.
- Cafe du Soleil: French, Swiss, European cuisine.
- Restaurant Les Armures: Swiss, European, vegetarian cuisine.
- Le Thermometre: French, Swiss, European cuisine.
- Les Tilleuls: Italian, Mediterranean, European cuisine.
- Odeon: French, Swiss, European cuisine.
- La Limite: Swiss, European cuisine.
- Le Radar de Poche: Italian, international, European cuisine.
We conclude like this our tour in the first Swiss stop. We are only at the beginning, so keep traveling with us to set off on the adventure of a new destination to discover.
Let us know your opinions about this place. If you liked it or not, if you’ve been there or you’re going to go there? What you liked the most or least? We’re curious to read your opinions.
A big kiss to everyone.