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Geneva tourist attractions, activities, sightseeing, travel guide.

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Palais des Nations

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
Geneva’s, maybe most important museum, exhibitions feature prehistoric relics, twelfth century armour, Greek vases, medieval stained glass, various Swiss timepieces, Flemish and Italian paintings, and the biggest collection of Egyptian art in the country. The Etruscan pottery and medieval furniture are both of special interest and very impressive. An altarpiece from 1444 by Konrad Witz represents the “miraculous” draft of fishes. Many galleries also display works by many artists, including Picasso, Renoir, Monet, Hodler, Rodin, Vallotton, Chagall, Corot, Pissarro and Le Corbusier.

 

The Baur Collections
This is the Swiss largest collection of Far Eastern art and works. The collections, kept in a nineteenth century mansion with a beautiful garden, constitute a private display of art from China (from between tenth and nineteenth century) and Japan (17th - 20th century). On display are various ceramics, ivories, jade, lacquer, and delicate sword fittings.

 

Patek Philippe Museum

Patek Philippe Museum watch Patek Philippe Museum


Watch-interested swarm here from around the world to see one of the greatest collections of timepieces. There are 2 collections that have permanently exhibition in this museum - the Antiques Collection and the Patek Philippe Collection. Established in 1839, the Patek Philippe Company naturally is one of the most regarded watchmakers world-wide. The Antiques Collection includes a large array of Genevese, Swiss, and various European watches from between sixteenth and nineteenth centuries. Not a small portion of the pieces here are historically significant to the history of horology. An audio-visual, multilingual presentation accompanies the Antiques Collection. The Patek Philippe display showcases the more than one hundred and sixty years that the company has been in that business.

 

Musée International de la Croix-Rouge et du Croissant-Rouge (International Red Cross and Red Crescent Museum)

Geneve Red Cross 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.

Geneva International Red Cross Red Crescent Museum

 

Musée Barbier-Mueller

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.

Musée Ariana

Musee Ariana Museum

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.

 

Maison Tavel

Maison Tavel Geneva

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.

Maison Tavel Geneve

 

MAMCO (Musée d'Art et Contemporain)
Geneva’s first modern art museum opened in ‘94 in a former factory structure. This prestigious showcase exhibits a large collection of European and American art covering the last four decades. Out of about one thousand works of art owned by the museum, only three hundred are permanently exhibited. Here one will find big names such as Stela, Segal, Frankenthaler, etc. About 150 square meters of space is set aside for the displays that change 3 times a year.

 

Fondation Martin Bodmer

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.

 

Side Trips
There are numerous attractions and in the region surrounding Geneva. Refer to the Lake Geneva section for highlight attractions around the beautiful lake itself.

Mont Salève

Geneve Mont Saleve

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.

House mountain Geneva

 

Carouge

Carouge

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.
The Swiss now considers Carouge as a national landmark, mainly because of its architecture. It can be reached from Geneva by tram #11 from the city center. Start your stroll from the Market Square, with its old fountain, markets and plane trees. As walking around, one will pass the court of the count of Veyrier’s palace, which dates back to1783, place du Temple, with a fountain dating from 1857, and a Louis XVI carved door at 18, rue St-Victor.

 

Cologny

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.
The right time to go to Cologny is in the afternoon (Tuesday - Sunday 2 – 6 pm), when one can visit the Bodmeriana Library, (located at 19-21, rte. du Guignard), a foundation initiated by a Zurich millionaire named Martin Bodmer. Get off at the Cologny-Temple stop (bus A) or the Croisée de Cologny stop (bus $33) and see the private collection, which contains first editions, very rare manuscripts, like the most ancient St. John’s Gospel, various sculptures, paintings and other kinds of art.

 

Coppet

Coppet

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.
One can reach it from Geneva’s main railway station, by taking the train on the Lancy Pont-Rouge-Genève-Coppet line for the twenty minutes ride to the Château de Coppet in Coppet; or if you are with car, head north from Geneva along Route 2.

chateau Coppet

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.

Mont Blanc

Mont Blanc

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.
Other ascents that are included in this tour are Vallée Blanche by télécabin, an extension of the Aiguille du Midi climb, from April to October; Mer de Glâce via electric rack railway to the edge of the glacier, from which one may descend to the ice grotto; and Le Brevent, an ascent by cable car to a rocky belvedere at 2370 meters facing the Mont Blanc range.

Mont Blanc Geneva

     
 
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