Fun things to do in Geneva

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Most Viewed Things to Do in Geneva

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    Centre d'Art Contemporain

    by Lilasel Written Aug 24, 2005

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    Founded in 1974, the Centre for Contemporary Art has been located since 1989 in the former factory which also houses the MAMCO.

    Through its temporary exhibitions its purpose is to encourage the production of new works, although not in the aim of acquiring them.

    The Centre has been the first institution in Geneva, and often also in Switzerland, to welcome artists who would later be acclaimed on an international level (recently these include Pipilotti Rist, Kiki Smith and Tony Oursler). One exhibition area is devoted to the presentation of young artists from Geneva and other parts of Switzerland.

    The Centre aims to present only the latest ideas and themes in the sphere of contemporary art, while promoting a humanist vision of artistic creativity by presenting works that - through different modes of expression - question our civilisation.

    Open daily except monday: 11am - 6pm

    Entrance: 4 CHF

    We had a lot of fun with my friend Laura in the Centre taking pictures. You can see some of them in my travelogue "Contemporary Art"

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    Green Heaven around Geneva (right bank)

    by Tripack Updated Jul 19, 2006

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    You will find loads of nice parks (310 hectares which represents 20% of the urban territory!) in Geneva which offer unlimited stroll around the city and besides the Geneva Lake shores. Here are some of my favourites on the right bank of the Rhône:


    ***Ile Rousseau: when crossing the Rhone via the Bergues footbridge make a pause on this tiny and relaxing island named after the great Genevan philosopher, Jean- Jacques Rousseau. A pleasant teracce is waiting for you. Do not forget to take old bread for the greedy swans if you have children ;-)

    Location: Pont des Bergues, Bus 6-8-9-10-26


    ***Quai du Mont-Blanc and Quai Wilson: Many luxurious 5 stars hotels and elegant old residences are located along the lakeside quays offering the best view on the Jet d’Eau, the left bank skyline, Mont Salève, the Alps and the Mont Blanc! Make a stop at the Brunswick Monument which contains the tomb of Charles II, Duke of Brunswick. Charles left his fortune to the city of Geneva, with the condition that the city place him in a replica of Verona’s Scaligeri Mausoleum. Further along the quay is the Pâquis Jetty with its lighthouse and the famous public baths (see my specific tip)


    ***Perle du Lac: during crossing this park you will be reward by a splendid view of the lake. After passing in front of a huge fountain, an extensive lawn gently leads you down to the lake and the small port protected by a stone pier where the "Mouettes genevoises" boats anchor.

    Location : Sécheron area, 128 rue de Lausanne. Bus 4-44 or Mouettes genevoises (ferry M4)


    ***Botanical Gardens: since 1904, these 28 hectares located on the edge of Geneva offer an ideal setting for either a simple stroll or for learning. The Botanical Gardens displays a collection of 16,000 plant species from all over the world. An open-air cafeteria and a botanic shop contribute to a pleasant visit.

    Location: avenue de la Paix, place Albert Thomas, chemin de l'Impératrice. Bus 4-44

    Ile Rousseau view from Les Bergues footbridge Ile Rousseau Great view from la Perle du Lac Jet d'eau view from Wilson Quay Botanical Gardens
    Related to:
    • Theme Park Trips
    • Eco-Tourism
    • Adventure Travel

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    Green Heaven around Geneva (left bank)

    by Tripack Written Oct 15, 2005

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    You will find loads of nice parks (310 hectares) in Geneva which offer unlimited stroll around the city and besides the Geneva Lake shores. Here are some of my favourites on the left bank of the Rhône:

    ***Parc des Bastions: a pleasant and popular place just located down of the ancient defensive wall of the Old Town.. It was my HQ to relax after/between my University courses (a quick sleep on an grass matress;-), to have a drink at the pavilion-restaurant or play a lifesized chess game. You will also find the famous Reformation Wall, erected in 1909 to honour the founders of Protestantism, the Palais Eynard, built in the 19th century for a banker’s private residence and now housing the City of Geneva’s Town Hall and the University of Geneva, an imposing building which grew from the academy founded by Jean Calvin in the 16th century.

    Location: Place Neuve, Tram 12 or Bus 1-3-5-17-21-23-32


    ***Parc de la Grange: the thousands roses graden (40'000 rose bushes) with over 200 varieties exhibited in an exceptional architectural harmony: terraced flowerbeds between stone steps, decorated with pools and pergolas.

    Location: Eaux-Vives Quai Gustave-Ador, Bus 2-7-9-A-B-E-G


    Jardin Anglais: Before crossing the Mont-Blanc bridge to the right bank stop to the small but beautiful English Garden and admire the famous flower clock , a reflection of Geneva’s preoccupation with watchmaking!

    Location: Quai du Général-Guisan, Bus 2-6-7-8-9-20-22-29

    Parc de la Grange Parc des Bastions The famous flower clock in English Garden Green locals Reformation Wall in Parc des Bastions
    Related to:
    • National/State Park
    • Adventure Travel
    • Theme Park Trips

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    Day trips into France

    by Dabs Updated Aug 30, 2007

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    Geneva is right on the Swiss-French border and there are a couple of places that can be easily done as day trips from Geneva. Be sure to bring your passport!!!

    Annecy-about 35 km from Geneva, this was one of the best places we visited on this trip. A medieval city set on a lovely lake, you could easily spend a full day here

    Yvoire-about 30 km from Geneva, a medieval pedestrian only village, a crowded, yet pleasant place to spend the afternoon

    Evian-you can combine Evian with Yvoire if you get an early start on the day, I don't know that I would make it a point to visit Evian on it's own, but it's close enough to Yvoire if you're heading that way

    Mont Blanc-you can take a daytrip from Geneva to Mont Blanc, Frommers lists Key Tours as an operator of a day tour to Mont Blanc

    Yvoire Evian

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    Promenade de la Treille

    by Lilasel Written Aug 24, 2005

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    This romantic promenade dates back to the 16th century.

    At first an observation and artillery post for the defence of the city, it became green and peaceful in the beginning of the 18th century.

    Two rows of chestnut trees shade the walk and shelter what is said to be the world’s longest wooden bench (120 meters).

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    MUSEUM D'HISTOIRE NATURELLE

    by Hosell Written Jan 12, 2005

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    This is one of best Natural History Museum I seen in Europe.It has a huge birds and fossils sections,and also is one of best museums that you can see in Geneva.It is located in the old town not far from the Flower Clock.
    All museums in Switzerland are free and you don't have to pay,but you can take an informative panphlet at the entrance.
    Opening Hours: 9,30 a.m to 5 p.m Tue-Sun.

    Another very nice museum to visit in the city is:
    Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art,opened in 1.994,but I didn't had the time to see it.

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    THE MINI TRAIN

    by Hosell Updated Mar 5, 2007

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    If you are walking by the lakeside promenade right now,another good idea on this area must be take a ride in this small and tourist train.It'll take you for a short trip,about 15-20 minutes to some of best places to see along the lakefront,including a visit to the Jardin Anglais and other nice places around.

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    La Perle-du-Lac

    by Lilasel Written Oct 19, 2005

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    Already in ancient times, the site of the Perle-du-Lac was a prized location: richly ornamented thermal baths belonging to a Roman villa were discovered here in 1926.

    Formerly named "Bartholoni Park", after the founder of the Conservatory of Music who, in 1828 constructed the beautiful building now housing the History of Science Museum, the park is an extension of the Mon Repos and Moynier Parks with a splendid view of the lake.

    Uncountable species of trees, bushes and pines were planted there and banks of flowers delight the eye from spring to fall.

    After passing in front of a huge fountain, an extensive lawn gently leads you down to the lake and the small port protected by a stone pier where the "Mouettes genevoises" boats anchor.

    The view of the lake from the Perle-du-Lac

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    GARE DE CORNAVIN (Train Station)

    by Hosell Written Jan 12, 2005

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    This is a picture taken at the train station of GARE DE CORNAVIN,I placed it here in must see activities because is a nice and very tourist area of the city.Apart of the trains,here you'll find lot of shops and restaurants on a passage inside the train station,I had here my first dinner during my trip.
    Also there is a very important bus stop in here,mostly of the buses that runs in the city has a stop here because it is located near the old town and lakefront.Around the train station you'll find lots of nice shops and restaurants.

    Very close of that train station,if you had the chace take a look to the beautiful church of EGLISE DE NOTRE DAME.

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    SHOPPING CENTERS

    by Hosell Updated Jan 14, 2005

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    This is a nice and small Shopping Center,it is located just underground Gare de Cornavin.This area of the city is a very tourist place and here you'll find lots of nices shops and a few small restaurants.In Geneva you can pay in all places in Euros,(Shops,restaurants,hotels,excursions etc.) you don't need to change your money or Euros for Swiss Francs.In other cities of Switzerland is the same,but I found some places that just take Swiss Francs,so is better before to ask if you can use Euros.Also I would like to tell you,that Switzerland is a very expensive country,all prices are very high,well is true also that people in Switzerland have some of highest salaries in world! :-)

    There are a few things very good to buy here: Watches,Jewelry ,Electronics,Chocolates,
    Swiss knives,Cheese and of course Cuckoo's Clocks,they are everywhere specially on souvenirs shops,you can buy them for a reasonable price!.

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    Cow Parade in Geneva

    by Lilasel Written Oct 19, 2005

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    This summer you could find those funny cows everywhere in Geneva. They were decorated by various artists. The concept of "cow parade" was created in Zurich in 1998.
    There were even such "hunters" for these cows, trying to take pictures with all of them :-)

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    Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778)

    by Nemorino Updated May 24, 2014

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    I remember as a student sometimes feeling intimidated by Rousseau, because his influence seemed to be everywhere. No matter what other authors I was reading, they all seemed to have been shaped by Rousseau in one way or another, and that was what examiners were interested in particularly. Sometimes I thought I should just drop everything else and read all of Rousseau's books, which I never did, but in Geneva half a century later I did the next best thing by checking out the audio guide at the Espace Rousseau and getting a lucid 25-minute introduction to Rousseau's life and work.

    The audio guides are available in seven languages, French, English, German, Italian, Spanish, Japanese and Chinese. I took the French one, since I hadn't come all the way to Geneva just to be yapped at in English or German.

    The Espace is open every day except Mondays, from 11 am to 5:30 pm (last visit at 5 pm). The entrance fee is five Swiss Francs for adults, but only three for children, students, pensioners and groups of four or more people.

    Photos:
    1. Plaque on the house where Rousseau was born, on the Grand’Rue in the Old Town of Geneva.
    2. In the Espace Rousseau, part of the display on Rousseau's life. Madame de Warens (1699-1762) was Rousseau's benefactor when he was in his teens, and his mistress and educator when he was in his twenties.
    3. Rousseau's book Émile, ou De l’éducation was first published in 1762.
    4. A compendium of what other famous authors (Goethe, Byron, Tolstoy, . . .) had to say about Rousseau, in their original languages.

    Related page:
    Rousseau and Grétry in Montmorency, France.

    1. Plaque on the house where Rousseau was born 2. Madame de Warens (1699-1762) 3. His book ��mile . . . 4. What other famous authors said about Rousseau
    Related to:
    • Arts and Culture
    • Historical Travel
    • Museum Visits

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    Les Délices de Voltaire

    by Nemorino Updated Sep 3, 2012

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    Photos:
    1. Voltaire's house in Geneva.
    2. His house from through the trees.
    3. Museum in Voltaire's house.
    4. Picture in the museum.
    5. Entrance inscription with exaggerated dates

    Unlike his younger colleague Rousseau, whom he couldn't stand, the great French writer and philosopher François Marie Arouet (1694-1778), better known by his pen name Voltaire, was not born in Geneva. He was born in Paris but lived much of his life in exile because of various controversial books he had written.

    For five years of his exile (not ten years as claimed in the fifth photo) he lived in this house in Geneva, where he wrote numerous books and also pursued his hobby of designing formal gardens.

    Update: Thanks to VT member JLBG (Jean-Louis) for pointing out that Voltaire actually lived at Les Délices in Geneva for only three years, from March 1755 to June 1758. "He then bought the castle of Ferney, now named Ferney-Voltaire, where he lived until his death in 1778. This is only a few km from Geneva, in the Pays de Gex, but it is on the other side of the border, which makes a big difference!"

    Jean-Louis also pointed out that Voltaire had been exiled from Paris but not from France. Living on the border at Ferney had the advantage for him to be in France but to be able, if that had been necessary, to take refuge in Switzerland.

    1. Voltaire's house in Geneva 2. His house from through the trees 3. Museum in Voltaire's house 4. Picture in the museum 5. Entrance inscription with exaggerated dates
    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Museum Visits
    • Architecture

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    Malbuisson Clock

    by sue_stone Written Aug 10, 2008

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    Located in a small arcade that runs between two streets in the shopping precinct of Geneva, you will come across an amusing 'dancing clock'. This clock in Passage Malbuisson was created in 1962 by a local watchmaker, and it still chimes on the hour every hour.

    When the hour strikes, there are 16 chiming bells to accompany the 13 chariots and 42 bronze figures that parade for your viewing pleasure.

    It's not worth travelling across town for, but if you find yourself in the vicinity it is worth a look. The chimes are loud though, not sure how the locals who work in the arcade can handle hearing it hour after hour!

    Malbuisson Clock Malbuisson Clock
    Related to:
    • Family Travel
    • Arts and Culture

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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
    Related to:
    • Theater Travel

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