Geneva City Guide

Geneva, Switzerland

Geneva is a wealthy working city that is sharply focused on its role in international diplomacy and big business. The most recognizable landmark is seen on the Rive gauche, the 140-meter high plume of the trademark Jet d’Eau. Nearby is the main thoroughfare of the old town – the cobblestoned, steeply ascending Grande Rue. Here, among the secondhand bookshops and galleries you will find a beautiful 17th century hotel, the Hotel de Ville, where in back you can enjoy the quietest garden in the city that boasts the longest wooden bench in the world. A block away is the huge late-Romanesqe Cathedrale St-Pierre, and behind that the excellent Musee Internationale de la Reforme, which documents Geneva’s contribution to the Reformation. Around the corner is the hub of old town, the Place du Bourge-de-Four, a picturesque split-level square on a hillside surrounded by cafes. If you take a short stroll east of old town you will come to the enormous Musee d’Art et d’Histoire, which houses a fine art collection with pieces by Renoir, Rodin, and Modigliani. The nearby Collecctions Baur houses the country’s best collection of East Asian art. The MAMCO is a high quality museum for modern and contemporary art, and the Musee International de la Croiz-Rouge documents the origins and achievement of the Red Cross, which is headquartered in Geneva. Across the street is the imposing complex housing the other major international organization centered in Geneva, the United Nations. Tours are available of the Palais des Nations which was the original home of the League of Nations. A twenty minute car ride from the old town brings you to the district of Carouge, which is known for its artisans’ shops and picturesque Italian architecture.