Geneva tourist attractions, activities, sightseeing, travel guide.
Palais des Nations
The initial home of the ex League of Nations is the today’s headquarters of the United Nations in Europe, situated on less than two kilometers north of Mont Blanc Bridge. After Versailles this complex of structures is the 2nd largest in Europe. Tours in English language last about one hour. These start from the visitors’ entrance, which is located opposite the Red Cross edifice, and to join the tour, one need only to show his passport. This monumental compound was built between ‘29 and ‘36. The highlight attractions of the tour feature the Assembly Hall, with a balcony made entirely of marble and lofty bays looking out over the Court of Honour. On this tour you’ll be shown also the Council Chamber, the home of the Conference on Disarmament with its murals by José Maria Sert. A Philatelic Museum displays collections of stamps relating to the League of Nations, as well as a large selection of philatelic publications from all over the world, and the League of Nations Museum documents the history of the predecessor to the United Nations.
Musée d'Art et d'Histoire
The Baur Collections
Patek Philippe Museum
Musée International de la Croix-Rouge et du Croissant-Rouge (International Red Cross and Red Crescent Museum)
Here one can experience the legendary past of the Red Cross in the city where it started, located across from the visitors' entrance to the European headquarters of the United Nations. The dramatic story from starting from 1863 to the nowadays is revealed through exhibitions of rare documents, films, photographs, multi-screen slideshows, and cycloramas. One is taken from the battlefields of the Old Continent to the plains of Africa to see the Red Cross in action. When Henry Dunant established the Red Cross in Geneva in 1863, he needed a recognizable symbol to suggest neutrality - the Swiss flag (a white cross on a red field), with the colours changed with each other ended up providing the excellent symbol for one of the world’s greatest humanitarian movements.
No one would expect a middle-class orphan, raised by a governess, to be one of the best art collectors of all time - exactly what Josef Mueller (1887-1977) actually did. By the age of thirty-one, Mueller had 7 works by Cézanne, 5 by Matisse, 5 by Renoir, and an assortment of Picassos and Braques, all of which are on display. However, the real heart of Mueller’s collection are the primitive pieces from tribal Asia, the East Indies, Oceania, Africa, the early Americas and the prehistoric phases of Italy, Greece and Japan. Mueller’s daughter Monique, married another art collector - Jean Paul Barbier, who added his discoveries to that of his father-in-law and together the pair created the current Musée Barbier-Mueller Collection.
Situated to the west of the Palais des Nations, this Italian Renaissance edifice was erected by Gustave Revilliod, the nineteenth century Genevese patron who initiated the collection. Now it is one of the greatest porcelain, glass, and pottery museums on the Old Continent. In Musée Ariana one will see Meissen porcelain, Sèvres, Delft faïence, as well as pieces from Japan and China. The museum is also housing the headquarters of the International Academy of Ceramics.
Built in 1303 and later reconstructed after a fire in 1334, this is the oldest house in Geneva. The edifice has seen several transformations over the centuries before opening as a museum in ‘86. The front wall is typical seventeenth century, with gray paint, white joints, and stone sculpted heads. The house contains a courtyard with a staircase, a thirteenth century cellar, and a beautiful back garden. The museum displays historical collections from Geneva dating from the Middle Ages to the middle nineteenth century. The Magnin relief in the attic is exceptional, just as is the copper-and-zinc model of Geneva in 1850, which is accompanied by a light-and-tape commentary. Various objects of daily use are exhibited in the old living quarters and different postcards, books, slides, and guidebooks are available at the bookstand.
MAMCO (Musée d'Art et Contemporain)
Fondation Martin Bodmer
Martin Bodmer's library had long been a place for reflection and research, as well as his inspiration and consultation room where he would study the work of great people. Upon his death in ‘71, Bodmer left behind a great collection of over 160000 books, autographs, manuscripts, and artworks representing 3000 years of world’s culture. Including in the exhibit are early handwritten texts of Homer, a manuscript of Grimm's Fairy Tales, illuminated manuscripts of the Bible and a fifteenth century version of the Nibelungenlied. The display also features the first printed versions of Newton’s “Principa Mathematica”, Chaucer’s “Canterbury Tales”, Cervantes’ “Don Quixote”, James Joyce’s” Ulysses”, Goethe’s “Faustz”, as well as various works from Dante Alighieri and William Shakespeare.
The limestone ridge of Mont Salève (House Mountain) is on only about six kilometers south of Geneva, on France territory. Its peak is at 1200 meters elevation, but one will need a passport to get near it. If here with car, one can take a road that goes up the mountain, which is popular among the rock climbers. Bus #8 will take one to Veyrier-Douane, on the French border, where’s a passport and Customs control. A six minutes cable-car ride will take you to a height of 1125 meters above the sea on Mont Salève. From there, you can enjoy a panoramic view of the Valley of the Arve, with Geneva and Mont Blanc in the background.
Carouge - a suburb of Geneva, dating back to the eighteenth century is a historic European town, erected by the king of Sardinia to rival Geneva. Architects from Turin supplied the Piedmontese charm. At the Congress of Vienna, in 1815, Carouge was joined to the canton of Geneva.
Byron and Shelley have both lived in Cologny, where they met at the Villa Diodati in 1816. About 14 km northeast of Geneva, the suburb is reached by both bus A and bus #33 from the city. The sweep of the lake and the city is particularly impressive from the “Byron Stone” on chemin de Ruth (Ruth's Path) leading to the Byron fields.
Situated fifteen kilometers north of Geneva in the canton of Vaud, this small town on the western shore of Lake Geneva is one of the most interesting destinations for relax in the area.
Château de Coppet attracted some of the greatest minds of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Château de Coppet, located on a hill along the lake, between Lausanne and Geneva, was purchased in 1784 by Jacques Necker - the finance minister of Louis XVI, and is still owned by Necker’s descendants. Its museum houses mementos of Madame de Staël. From April through October, the château is open daily from 2 to 6 pm and from July - August also daily 10 am – noon, but it is closed from November to March.
If have enough time, we recommend you consider a trip to Mont Blanc, which is an all-day trip to Chamonix by bus and a cable-car ride to the top of the Aiguille du Midi at 3783 meters. The tour departs from Geneva’s bus station Gare Routière at 8:30 am and returns around six pm daily; must bring your passport with you.