Geneva

The République et Canton de Genève (Republic and Canton of Geneva) commands sweeping views of the French Alps and the French Jura from its fortuitous position at the southwestern tip of Lac Léman. The water flows straight through the city center and into the River Rhône en route to Lyon and the Mediterranean, leaving museums, sh
The République et Canton de Genève (Republic and Canton of Geneva) commands sweeping views of the French Alps and the French Jura from its fortuitous position at the southwestern tip of Lac Léman. The water flows straight through the city center and into the River Rhône
The République et Canton de Genève (Republic and Canton of Geneva) commands sweeping views of the French Alps and the Fr

The République et Canton de Genève (Republic and Canton of Geneva) commands sweeping views of the French Alps and the French Jura from its fortuitous position at the southwestern tip of Lac Léman. The water flows straight through the city center and into the River Rhône en route to Lyon and the Mediterranean, leaving museums, shops, restaurants, and parks to jostle for space on its history-laden south shore, known as Rive Gauche. Busy shopping streets underline the hilltop Vieille Ville, the Plaine de Plainpalais lies to its west, and Eaux-Vives stretches along the quays to the east.

The quartier international (International Area), the Gare Cornavin, and sumptuous waterfront hotels dominate the north shore, or Rive Droite. St-Gervais, just north of the Ponts de l'Ile, was once a watchmaking quarter. Les Pâquis, a mix of artists, ethnic communities, and scrappy pleasure seekers, extends north from the Pont du Mont-Blanc. The International Area, on the outer edge of the city, is a short tram ride from Gare Cornavin; all other neighborhoods are easily toured on foot.

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  • 1. Fondation Martin Bodmer

    Museum/Gallery

    The museum that sources this humbling exhibition of original texts—from cuneiform tablets, papyrus scrolls, and parchment to a dizzying array...Read More

  • 2. Jardin Botanique

    International Area | Garden/Arboretum

    These 69 peaceful acres of winding paths and streams bear witness to Geneva's early-19th-century fascination with botany. They also include...Read More

  • 3. Jet d'Eau

    Eaux-Vives | Fountain

    The city's landmark fountain, which shoots 132 gallons of water—the equivalent of four standard bathtubs—459 feet into the air every second...Read More

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  • 4. Monument de la Réformation

    Vieille Ville | Memorial/Monument/Tomb

    Conceived on a grand scale and erected between 1909 and 1917, this solemn 325-by-30-foot swath of granite pays homage to the 16th-century religious...Read More

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  • 5. Musée International de la Croix-Rouge et du Croissant-Rouge

    International Area | Museum/Gallery

    The museum focuses on three major challenges in today's "Humanitarian Adventure": defending human dignity, restoring family links, and reducing...Read More

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  • 6. Musée International de la Réforme

    Vieille Ville | Museum/Gallery

    Period artifacts, carefully preserved documents, and engaging audiovisuals explain the logic behind the Protestant Reformation. This sophisticated...Read More

  • 7. Site Archéologique Cathédrale St-Pierre

    Vieille Ville | Archaeological Site/Ruins

    Archaeologists found multiple layers of history underneath the Cathédrale St-Pierre when its foundations began to falter in 1976. Excavations...Read More

  • 8. Ancien Arsenal

    Vieille Ville | Building/Architectural Site

    Designed as a granary on the site of a Roman marketplace and converted to a gunpowder depot after l'Escalade, this municipal storage space has...Read More

  • 9. Auditoire Calvin

    Vieille Ville | Religious Building/Site/Shrine

    Reformed services in English, Italian, and Dutch made this simple Gothic structure, built in the 15th century on the site of two prior churches...Read More

  • 10. Bâtiment des Forces Motrices

    Plainpalais | Industrial Site/Mill/Factory

    A fine example of 19th-century industrial architecture moored in the middle of the river, Geneva's second opera house was built in 1886 by engineer...Read More

  • 11. Beau-Rivage

    Les Pâquis | Hotel–Sight

    Jean-Jacques Mayer's descendants still own and operate the hotel he built in 1865. It has discreetly witnessed the birth of a nation (Czechoslovakia...Read More

  • 12. Cathédrale St-Pierre

    Vieille Ville | Religious Building/Site/Shrine

    A stylistic hybrid scarred by centuries of religious upheaval and political turmoil, this imposing cathedral somehow survived the ages with...Read More

  • 13. Centre d'Art Contemporain

    Plainpalais | Museum/Gallery

    Andy Warhol, Cindy Sherman, Nan Goldin, Pipilotti Rist, Thomas Scheibitz, and Shirana Shahbazi are some of the pioneering Swiss and international...Read More

  • 14. Cimetiere des Rois

    Plainpalais | Cemetery

    Originally part of a 15th-century hospital complex built outside the city to isolate victims of the plague, these verdant 7 acres hold the mortal...Read More

  • 15. Eglise Saint-Germain

    Vieille Ville | Religious Building/Site/Shrine

    This pristine 15th-century sanctuary served as a Protestant temple, a butcher's warehouse, a foundry, and a government meeting hall before Napoléon...Read More

  • 16. Fondation Baur

    Vieille Ville | Museum/Gallery

    Alfred Baur's lovingly preserved collection of Far Eastern art packs more than 10 centuries of Chinese ceramics and jade, Japanese smoking...Read More

  • 17. Horloge Fleurie

    Centre Ville Rive Gauche | Garden/Arboretum

    The city first planted this gigantic, and accurate, floral timepiece in 1955 to highlight Geneva's seminal role in the Swiss watchmaking industry...Read More

  • 18. Hôtel de Ville

    Vieille Ville | Government Building

    Representatives from 14 of 16 countries present signed the first Geneva Convention in the ground-floor Alabama Hall on August 22, 1864, enforcing...Read More

  • 19. Ile Rousseau

    Centre Ville Rive Gauche | Public Art (Mural/Sculpture/Statue)

    Jean-Jacques Rousseau, born in Geneva and the son of a Genevois watchmaker, is known to history as a liberal philosopher in part because the...Read More

  • 20. La Neptune

    Eaux-Vives | Nautical Site/Lighthouse

    Old photos of Geneva show scores of black masts and graceful, cream-colored sails crowding the lake. Now La Neptune is one of only four authentic...Read More

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