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The Essentials of Geneva

Clean, safe and orderly, this is how we like to qualify Geneva. On the shores of Lake Geneva, it is true that the "Grande Dame" enjoys a privileged setting between lake and mountain, which offers a peaceful atmosphere at all times of the year. Linked geographically and culturally to France, Geneva is also a renowned international city, seat of large institutions in the image of the Red Cross and the United Nations. Petit Smart offers you its best for a successful visit! 

The Palace of Nations, a Breath of Peace

Built between 1929 and 1936 in the Ariana Park, the Palais des Nations has since the Second World War welcomed the European site of the United Nations. The second largest center after that of New York, with its 2,000 offices and 34 conference rooms, the Palais des Nations is, more than a museum, a real living place. The place of nations and its large marble blocks that represent the countries joining the United Nations are impressive. There is also the famous broken flesh that sits on three feet, a terrible image of the fate of the victims of anti-personnel mines… 

The English garden, in time and on time

It is one of the most popular gardens in the city, a stone's throw from the water jet you can admire one of the most beautiful views of Lake Geneva. Its 4 m diameter flowered clock is redesigned every year. Composed of more than 6,000 different flowers, it's a real palette of colours! Built in 1854, this garden is the first to follow the English model in Geneva. In summer, its huge bronze fountain refreshes walkers who come to attend free concerts. A bucolic stopover if ever there was one!

The wall of the reformers, a piece of history

Built in 1909 to mark the 400th anniversary of Calvin's birth, the Reformers' Wall is built against the city's old walls in the Bastions Park. There are four monumental statues representing the four great figures of the Reformation: Guillaume Farel, Jean Calvin, Théodore de Bèze and John Knox. Six other small statues also pay tribute to other personalities associated with this historical period. Behind them, we can admire the motto of the Reformation and Geneva: Post Tenebras Lux (After the darkness, the light).

The majestic Saint-Pierre Cathedral

Built from 1160 in a Romanesque-Gothic style, Saint-Pierre Cathedral dominates the city. The interior is quite sober since it lost most of its furniture when the cathedral became a Protestant place of worship during the Reform. Armez of courage and climb the 157 steps leading to the top of the north tower to admire the bell and the splendid panorama… If you prefer to stay on earth, the archeological visit will make you discover the history and richness of this monument. 

The old town and its jewels

Geneva is the largest historical city in Switzerland. Strolling through its charming historic centre allows you to discover unsuspected beauties such as the very typical Place du Bourg de Four where the Middle Ages fairs were organised. The Place de Neuve, on the other hand, gives pride of place to culture with three large 19th century buildings: the Rath Museum, the Grand Theatre and the Conservatoire de Musique. In the centre is the statue of General Dufour, co-founder of the Red Cross. But the best way to discover Geneva is to get lost in its small streets, to the rhythm of Lake Geneva..

The Botanical Garden, a Green Garden

On the shores of Lake Geneva, the botanical garden is a real institution in Geneva. It enjoys a world-renowned reputation for its impressive collections of ancient herbeers. During a very pleasant walk, visitors admire more than 50,000 bulbous plants, secular trees, and temperate and tropical greenhouses. The garden of scents and touch, designed for the blind, is a very beautiful initiative. This is the ideal place to discover our vegetable heritage!

International Museum of Red Cross and Red Crescent

The Red Cross was born in Geneva, so it is natural to find a museum dedicated to its actions and projects. The permanent exhibition called «the humanitarian adventure» focuses on many humanitarian issues, including through poignant testimonies of victims of wars or natural disasters in the room «defending human dignity». A visit to live with family…

Carouge, la dolce vita suisse

Under its cold air, Geneva hides many secrets... A stone's throw from its city centre is Carouge, a small town full of charm. Its Italian origins are revealed in its atmosphere and architecture, the city was indeed built in the 18th century, under the orders of the King of Sardinia, to compete with Geneva. Often referred to as the "Greenwich Village" in Geneva, Carouge attracts artists and bohemian lovers who come to enjoy the craftsmen, antique dealers and other trendy bars at nightfall

Take some height at Mont Salève

A few bus stops from the centre and after five minutes by cable car, the walkers find themselves at an altitude of 1,100 m, at the top of Mount Salève. The view is impressive: Geneva, the Jura, the Alps and Mont-Blanc as well as Lake Annecy can be admired. Sportsmen will not regret the walk since many activities await them: hiking, paragliding, cross-country skiing or mountain biking, all you have to do is choose!

The water jet, the emblem of the city

This is the most famous image of Geneva: its impressive 140 m water jet that sits in the centre of the Rade! Did you know that it delivers 500 litres of water per second at a speed of 200 km/h? Don't get too close if you want to stay dry! In 1886, it was only a safety valve used to create additional flow for companies and craftsmen. Today it is the main tourist attraction of the city!

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