Fun things to do in Geneva

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Most Viewed Things to Do in Geneva

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    Gare Cornavin

    by mindcrime Written Jul 21, 2013

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    The central train station was the first building I visited in Geneva, its funny because although I never really took any train here I visited it daily as it is next to bus and tram main hub (I took tram to/from Cern many times) but also had breakfast, and used some of its facilities (pharmacy, market, cash machine, numerous cafes/food stands etc). With about 230 trains come and go daily its no surprise it looks busy through out the day.

    As there’s nothing really to keep you busy here I visited the streets around, took pictures of some statues, visited basilique Notre Dame and then walked through the underground passage that connects the station with the pedestrian city that leads down to the lake. Plenty of outdoor café/restaurants on this street but also many stores.

    Most visitors walk there anyway (on their way to the lake) to pass by Rue du Mont-Blanc 18 where the Tourist Information is. Friendly staff with good English will give you all the information you need but also leaflets, free city maps etc
    It’s open Mondays 10-18.00 Tuesday to Saturday 9-18.00 Sunday 10-16.00

    Gare Cornavin
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    Holy Trinity Anglican church

    by mindcrime Written Jul 21, 2013

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    This Anglican church was built in 1853 on a spot where the old city wall of Geneva was. It looks like a typical british church. Geneva house many International Organisations (U.N., Cern, International Red Cross etc) so it’s no surprise the church serves many members from different countries who want to worship in English.

    The front door of the church was locked so I just took some pictures of the exterior.

    Holy Trinity Anglican church
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    Natural History Museum

    by mindcrime Written Jul 21, 2013

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    I wouldn’t visit the Natural History Museum(Muséum d'histoire naturelle de la Ville de Genève) but I was passing by and I decided to walk around a bit taking advantage of the free entrance.

    It’s a great museum to take your children and provide them an excellent educational trip, no surprise most visitors were small children that got excited with life size models of several wild animals (tigers, bears, alligators etc). But older visitors may get a bid bored here, at least I did because I have seen much better museum of this kind in London, Washington DC etc

    Of course the museum isn’t so mediocre in general, there are many interactive displays and if you are interested on something specific you wont get disappointed. Another positive thing is that most exhibits are fresh-looking. There’s a huge collection of every mineral/plant in Switzerland, I had a feeling the museum focus more on local environment.

    The museum is open Tuesday to Sunday 9.30-17.00
    I also visited the restaurant of the museum where I had a salad for 5,5chf

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    St. Joseph Church

    by mindcrime Written Jul 21, 2013

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    I was walking back to lakefront when I saw this church.
    It’s Eglise Saint Joseph, a catholic church that looks nice from outside but I couldn’t make it to check the interior too because the front door was locked.

    St. Joseph Church
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    Parks along Geneva Lake

    by mindcrime Written Jul 21, 2013

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    If you visit Palais des Nations don’t take the tram back to the center, try to walk down to the lake and follow the lakeside. You will pass by some tidy and beautiful gardens and parks. First of all Palais des Nations is located on a park itself with great views over the lake, it’s parc de l’Ariana and has some great spots itself.

    I must have walked about 3,5km in total but enjoyed the route. The first park was Jardin Botanique where I spent lot of time checking lots of different plants.

    Then I walked into Parc Moynier where I visited the Musee d’Histoire des Sciences, a small museum that was packed with students.

    Finally I passed by Parc Mon Repos and Parc du Chateau Banquet where I took pictures of some nice mansions and several sculptures and statues along the way. Geneva city center was less than kilometer away from here.

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    History of Science Museum

    by mindcrime Written Jul 21, 2013

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    History of Science Museum (Musee d’Histoire des Sciences) was probably the only museum open on Monday so it was a good choice as I was walking along the lakeside that morning. It’s located on a beautiful spot, at Parc de la Perle du Luc facing Geneva lake. The beautiful neo classical building is Villa Bartholoni that was built in 1828.

    It’s a tiny museum but that morning 2 group of school students were there so it was packed(see most of them waiting outside until some other groups get out first at pic 1) so I had to be flexible and stay for some time in other rooms until they finish their tour. I guess on a quiet day you will feel like walking inside an expensive mansion, the wall paintings on the wall are nice too.

    It has some interesting exhibits, focusing on scientific evolution during 18th and 19th century, with numerous barometers, microscopes, early batteries etc. Very educative if you bring your children with you, but most info boards were in French only, a mistake if you are interested to have international visitors too but they have some kind of English brochure at the reception. Teenagers will love the room with the puzzle and casino games(!).

    It’s open Wednesday to Monday 10.00-17.00
    There no entrance fee but you have to pay 110chf for a guided group tour (up to 20people)

    History of Science Museum History of Science Museum
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    Broken Chair

    by mindcrime Written Jul 21, 2013

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    I walked to United Nations building when I saw this weird giant chair with a broken leg on the other side of the avenue! This 12 meters high chair is called Broken Chair, and was created by swiss sculptor Daniel Berset with 5.5 tons of wood!

    The info board under the chair gave me the details:
    Sculpture commissioned by Handicap International and installed on 18 august 1997 to urge all countries to sign the Mine Ban Treaty and to honour their commitments to help mine victims and to clear mined areas. After the completion of works on the Place des Nations, “Broken Chair” was reinstalled on 26 February 2007 to invite countries to participate in the process of banning cluster munitions, initiated in Oslo on 23 February 2007.

    With about 20,000 people getting seriously injured or even dead annually we realize how serious the problem is. 161 countries have already signed the treat but unfortunately 36 countries still haven’t, including some major players in the world like USA etc

    Broken Chair

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    Grottes

    by mindcrime Written Jul 21, 2013

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    If you are near the train station don’t hit directly south to the lake because just north of the station is Grottes, a lovely colorful district full of young people, lots of cafes and bars of course including the one we went twice (Couleurs et Saveurs), artists, secondhand stores, a nice store for bicycles etc

    The area was very poor in the 30s when the authorities bought it but it was the 60s when local squatters renovated it themselves with one simple target, having the human in the center (shared balconies over a common courtyard etc), a nice social and architectural experiment that make the authorities uncomfortable (I guess they still want to raise some extra huge office buildings here)

    Although the area looks a bit bizarre don’t hesitate to walk around because it’s very picturesque due to some old buildings (renovated or not) and the general bohemian feeling. What will attract your attention is the part of some modern buildings (or renovated old factories) with weird shape, non-straight lines, buildings that look like giant smurf houses :) I came into many small courtyards, small alleys, there’s even a park (Parc des Cropettes)

    Grottes colors at Grottes architecture in Grottes
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    Temple de la Fusterie

    by Odiseya Updated Dec 15, 2012

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    Temple de la Fusterie is first Protestant or Calvinist church build in Geneve. It is design in Neoclassical style by Jean Vennes. It was officially open in 1715. First name of this church was Temple-Neuf (New Temple). Later is named after square where it is located. It remain me on some catholic churches that I saw in Warsaw.
    Thank to his great acoustics the church is hosts for numerous musical events. It could held 750 people at once.
    It located several minutes from financial and shopping district in city.
    I visit market placed in front of church. It was visit all years long. Especially was popular place as 'Geneva International Christmas Market' in winter.

    Temple de la Fusterie
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    Temple de la Madeleine

    by Odiseya Written Dec 15, 2012

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    Place de la Madeleine or well known as Temple de la Madeleine is important church in Swiss reformation church. Like other churches on this places and this one was build on previous buildings where the oldest dating back to the 5th century
    It was build in Gothic style in 1430 and restored after devastating fire in 17th century. It has Romanesque bell tower, part of previous temple (only thing that survive fire). The church was complete reconstruction in 20th century.

    Temple de la Madeleine
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    Quai de la Poste, 2

    by MM212 Updated Sep 26, 2012

    This curious neo-Byzantine building is nowadays a branch of the banking institution Crédit Agricole. The ground floor of the building was built in 1835 by the architect Samuel Vaucher (who also designed Musée Rath) as le marché couvert, on the site of the former Bastion de Hollande. Its use as a covered market was short lived for, in 1842, the architect Jacques-Louis Brocher added the two upper floors that gave the building the Byzantine influence, and turned it into the city's post office, hence the name of the street. In 1966, the building was saved from destruction and was eventually turned into offices.

    Quai de la Poste, September 2012
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    Orangerie summer theater

    by Nemorino Updated Sep 3, 2012

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    Photos:
    1. Signs at the entrance to the Orangerie Summer Theater in La Grange Park
    2. Younger and older spectators outside the Orangerie
    3. Entrance to the Orangerie in the summer twilight
    4. Seating in the Orangerie, in the kind of plastic garden chairs you can buy at your local garden supply store, or in Switzerland I suppose at the Migros "Do it+Garden" stores.

    The Orangerie in the Parc de la Grange is a small neo-Greek building dating from the year 1856.

    It was intended right from the start to house a small theater as well as for growing oranges. After 152 years it is in dire need of repairs, which probably will not be finished in time for the 2009 summer season.

    So far no one is letting on what sort of venue, if any, might be available for Frédéric Polier and his troupe of actors in 2009.

    The Orangerie is a nice enough little building, but the air inside is stuffy, so they lend each spectator an ornate hand-fan on the way in, and ask you to give it back on the way out.

    Update 2012: It took a bit longer than originally planned, but in 2011 the Orangerie was thoroughly renovated and rearranged. They seem to have had a very full and varied summer season in 2012.

    1. Signs at the entrance to the Orangerie 2. Younger and older spectators 3. Entrance to the Orangerie 4. Seating in the Orangerie
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    Migros ticket office

    by Nemorino Updated Sep 3, 2012

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    As a non-Swiss person I have never been quite sure what to make of the Migros organization.

    Migros is a cooperative, basically, and some two million Swiss people are members. That's roughly 28 % of the population.

    Migros is Switzerland's largest supermarket chain and I believe the country's largest employer. It also runs chains of gas stations, furniture stores, fitness centers, bookshops, language schools and the Migros Club Schools, which easily outshine and outperform the more traditional adult education centers, the Volkshochschulen or VHS.

    And in major cities Migros also maintains downtown ticket offices like this one, the Service Culturel Migros Genève on Rue du Prince in Geneva. Here you can get tickets for theaters, concerts and events of all sorts.

    The location is convenient, the service is friendly and competent, the prices are reasonable. They are open Monday through Friday from 10 am to 6 pm for eleven months of the year. The only exception to that is from June 15 to August 14, when they close for an hour for lunch, between 1 and 2 pm.

    Migros ticket office
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    Voltaire Institute and Museum

    by Nemorino Updated Sep 3, 2012

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    Photos:
    1. Voltaire library.
    2. Statue of Voltaire in the house.
    3. Folio edition of three of Voltaire's satirical tales.

    Voltaire himself would have loved this museum, with its detailed documentation of formal garden design in the 18th century. But for those of us who have trouble working up much interest in that sort of thing, the museum is rather a bore.

    I personally would have preferred to learn more about Voltaire's life and writings, as in the Espace Rousseau I had seen earlier the same day, but that isn't what this Voltaire museum is about.

    As a consolation prize I went out and spent three Swiss Francs, the equivalent of two Euros, on a Folio edition of three of Voltaire's satirical tales, so I at least had something of his to read on the train.

    1. Voltaire library 2. Statue of Voltaire in the house 3. Folio edition of Voltaire's satirical tales
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    Le songe d'une nuit d'été

    by Nemorino Updated Sep 3, 2012

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    Photos:
    1. This French text in the two-Euro Librio Edition (three Swiss Francs in Switzerland) is not the modern Desprats translation, but an older one by François-Victor Hugo (1828-1873), the fourth son of the great French author Victor Hugo (1802-1885).
    2. Stage set for Le songe d'une nuit d'été in the Orangerie. Among other things, the ropes might represent blades of grass towering above the tiny elves and fairies of the forest.
    3. Entrance to the Orangerie at night.
    4. Newspaper clipping about Frédéric Polier and the Orangerie Summer Theater, from the Tribune de Genève of June 27, 2008.

    Jean-Michel Desprats, the Nanterre University professor who has translated A Midsummer Night's Dream and twenty-three other Shakespeare plays into modern French for the stage, has been quoted as saying:

    "In general, the problem with Shakespeare is that if you translate to be read, it's unclear on the stage; and if you translate to be performed, it's unclear on the page. You have to look for the theatrical momentum in the language, to maintain the dramatic energy, identify the moments of acting. Plus the fact that Shakespeare invents, reshapes, creates a language all of his own, and that the French dramatic tradition is so different from the physical theatre of the British." (quoted from The Observer, July 11, 1999)

    1. French text in the two-Euro Librio Edition 2. Stage set for Le songe d'une nuit d'��t�� 3. Entrance to the Orangerie at night 4. Newspaper clipping
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