Geneva: Visitor Guide and Pictures


Geneva, a worldwide financial and diplomatic centre, is the second most populous city in Switzerland. Home to the international headquarters of many companies like Merck Serono, JT International, SITA, Caterpillar and DuPont, it is both one of the most expensive cities to live in, and offers one of the highest qualities of life, in the world. Located at the south-western corner of Lake Geneva, where the Rhone River exits the lake, and with mountains nearby too, Geneva boasts a pleasant climate. Geneva is well worth a visit, as you can see from the photographs below.

Along the Quai du Mont Blanc (pictured), from where you can take either boats or the Pont du Mont Blanc across the lake to Eaux-Vives and the Jardin Anglais, where you can see the famous Flower Clock, you can take a stroll, admiring the views of the lake, as well as the five-star hotels (like the Hotel Paix, pictured) and the expensive cars usually parked in front of them. Also found here is the impressive Brunswick Monument (pictured), which was constructed in 1873 as a Mausoleum for the Duke of Brunswick.

Geneva is not a city without drama. The magnificent Hotel Beau-Rivage (pictured), one of the pearls of the lakeside in the city, is also famous for the tragic assassination of the Austrian Empress Elisabeth (1837-1898), a hugely famous and loved historical figure. ‘Sissi’, as she is affectionately known, was assassinated by an Italian anarchist as she strolled along the quay one afternoon. In 1998, a statue which sculptor Philip Harrison was commissioned to make was unveiled to commemorate the Empress (pictured).

Being situated on a lake, you will of course see many boats as you stroll along the quayside. A great place to observe the boats is along the jetty that runs from Quai Wilson (pictured), which was named after US President Woodrow Wilson. From here you can also see the Jet d’Eau (pictured), a large fountain which is one of the city’s most famous landmarks, as well as one of the largest fountains in the world, shooting water into the air to an impressive height of 140 m (459 ft). Originally it was a safety valve for a hydraulic power network, but in 1891 it became more aesthetic than functional.

The Palais Wilson (pictured) is the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Right’s current headquarters. Originally it was the League of Nations’ headquarters, and was also named after President Wilson, who was instrumental in the founding of the League.

In the city’s Science Museum (pictured), housed in the stunning Villa Bartholoni, a 19th century neoclassical building, you can go on a journey through Geneva’s scientific past, learning of all the breakthroughs and ideas that happened here.

Geneva is not only famous for scientific discoveries: there are many people Geneva is known for. One of them, the philosopher Jean-Jacque Rousseau (1712-1778), whose birth house can be found in the Old Town, has a small island named after him – Ile Rousseau (pictured). You can reach this by the Bergues Bridge (pictured).

Geneva is a city full of impressive architecture from different periods. Hotel Longemalle in the heart of town (pictured) is just one of many – this stunning Belle Epoque building’s fanciness is a sharp contrast to the simple lines of the Palais de Justice (also pictured). In the heart of the Old Town, Maison Tavel (pictured) is Geneva’s history museum. It is the oldest private dwelling in Geneva – rebuilt after it was destroyed by fire in 1334 – and is a testimony to medieval civil architecture.

At the Cour St Pierre you can find the cathedral (pictured). If you climb the towers you will be rewarded with sweeping views of the city. Nearby is the Old Arsenal (pictured), whose large cannons hark back to a time when the city needed to defend itself.

The University of Geneva was founded in 1559 by John Calvin. In the grounds of the University of Geneva is the Reformation Wall, or more formally, the International Monument to the Reformation (pictured), inaugurated in 1909 to commemorate the main individuals, events and documents of the Protestant Reformation.

The Musée Rath (pictured), with its looming columns, was inspired by and built in the style of Greek Temples. It is an art museum where the exhibitions are temporary and show Swiss and international art and archaeology. The Geneva Grand Theatre (pictured), both a venue and an institution, is the opera house in Geneva.

Place Molard was once a port open to the lake. The imposing Molard Tower (pictured) was part of this port, built so that the military could keep watch over the lake and the city in order to keep it safe from invasion. The current tower is the reconstruction of the original – but still dates from 1591. Today it is a symbol for protection of the city and the old harbour.

In front of the Palais des Nations is the Broken Chair (pictured), which was planned, designed and constructed by Paul Vermeulen, Daniel Berset and Louis Genève, respectively, to serve as a reminder to politicians in the build-up to the signing of the Ottawa Treaty in 1997 that landmines and cluster bombs should be opposed. It has remained in place since.

Overall you will find Geneva a place overflowing with history, art, politics, activism and business. You will be surprised and awed, and will feel the rich history and the strong sense of culture, as well as learn about the powerful advances made here over the centuries in the fields of both science and religion.

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Hotel de la Paix, Geneva Quai du Mont Blanc, Geneva Geneva, Monument Brunswick Monument Brunswick
Geneva, Switzerland  Hotel Beau Rivage  Quai du Mont Blanc  Statue Elizabeht
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Four Seasons Hotel des Bergues, Geneva  Ile Rousseau, Rhone  Cafe du Temps, Rhone  Pont Mont Blanc, Ile Rousseau
 Pont des Bergues, Ile Rousseau  Jean Jacques Rousseau, monument  Mont Blanc Bridge  Geneva, Switzerland
Pont du Mont Blanc Monument, Peuple
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 Fountain, Jardin Anglais, Geneva
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 Palais de Justice  Place Bourg de Four Geneva, Switzerland  Maison Tavel, Geneva
St. Peter's Cathedral, Geneva  St. Peter's Cathedral, Geneva  Geneva Cathedral  Geneva, Cathedral st. Pierre
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Opera Geneva   Rath Museum Parc des Bastions   Reformation Wall
 Reformation Wall, Geneva  Reformation Wall, Geneva  Place Bel-Air  Molard Tower
 World Meteorological Organisation  UN Geneva  Broken Chair, Geneva Red Cross Museum