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By admin | May 4 2007
With more than a thousand years of history, Geneva is bursting with cultural attractions that will delight any visitor to the city.
The architecture in the Old Town is breathtaking and consists of centuries-old buildings and narrow streets, while art lovers will enjoy an abundance of museums, galleries and theaters. Dominated by Lake Geneva, Mont Blanc and the Alps, Geneva is a haven for outdoor sports enthusiasts who can take part in year-round activities – from skiing to sailing.
The Patek Philippe Museum displays watches, musical automata and portrait miniatures from the 16th to the 19th century, in addition to a library dedicated entirely to horology and its related subjects.
Privately guided tours give visitors an insight into the genius behind Patek Philippe’s legacy. Learn about the beginnings of Antoni Patek’s pocket watches in 1839 to the collaborative efforts of ‘Patek Philippe’ wristwatches in 1868, and the gradual introduction of features such as the chronograph and perpetual calendar. Worn by celebrities and royals alike, Patek Philippe’s timepieces have consistently achieved record-breaking prices at auction, making them the most expensive wristwatches in history.
+41 22 807 09 10
7 Rue des Vieux-Grenadiers, 1205 Geneva
St. Peter’s Cathedral is located in Geneva’s Old Town and belongs to the Swiss Reformed Church.
Construction first began in the 12th century, and this imposing Romanesque-Gothic structure with neoclassical external features was completed over 150 years, including the replacement of the Gothic façade in 1750. Today, the original parts of the cathedral that survived Calvinist attacks and sacking during the mid-1600s are the kaleidoscopic stained glass windows and the Romanesque capitals in the nave. The interior of the cathedral is as eclectic as it is grand, with noteworthy 15th century choir stalls, the Rohan chapel, the 14th century Gothic Chapel of the Maccabees and breathtaking views over Geneva from the cathedral’s north tower.
+41 22 319 71 90
Paroisse de Saint-Pierre, 24 Place du Bourg de Four, 1204 Geneva
Manège d’Onex is an equestrian school and training center just two miles from the center of Geneva.
Perfect for the beginner equestrian (from age seven upwards) and those seeking to improve their horseriding skills, the center has an indoor venue, sandy riding surface and a jumping paddock. Special events and courses are regularly organized throughout the year and preparation for professional qualifications is also provided. The stable has 24 private stalls to accommodate horses and ponies.
Life in Geneva began in its Old Town, or Vieille Ville.
Comprising several prominent tourist attractions such as the St. Pierre Cathedral, Maison Tavel and the Barbier-Mueller Museum, this area underwent a religious conversion in the 16th century – heavily influenced by John Calvin, a Protestant of French origin. The International Museum of Reformation is dedicated to his life and work. Unwind at one of the many terraces this old quarter has to offer. The Old Town boasts all the charms of a historical city right down to its town square and the animated Place du Bourg-de-Four, while its cobweb of winding streets has many antique shops and cafes worth exploring.
Starting life as a simple safety valve for the city’s hydraulic power network, Geneva’s impressive water fountain has become the most recognizable and most important landmark in the ‘city of peace’ and is the world’s tallest fountain.
The Jet d’Eau has been a tourist attraction for 120 years and pumps 130 gallons of water a second to a height of 460 feet. This spectacular display of moving water stays active year round, with exception to maintenance in November and during extreme weather conditions. At night, the fountain is beautifully illuminated providing a stunning sight from the many hotels surrounding the lake.
Quai du Général-Guisan
The castle is located on the ‘Swiss Riviera’ next to Montreux, famous for its yearly summer jazz festival.
Immortalized by the poet Lord Byron, the great halls of the Château de Chillon are ideal for hosting major celebrations. The castle is open daily for guided tours but is also available for private hire. A tiny hidden beach is available exclusively for private use in the summer from 9.30pm till midnight; perfect for an intimate late night barbeque with friends against the stunning backdrop of Lake Geneva and the Alps.
+41 21 966 89 10
Château de Chillon, 21 Avenue de Chillon, 1820 Veytaux
Linguist, musician, investor, nobleman, horseman… Charles d’Este-Guelph, Duke of Brunswick made a fortune during his lifetime and left much of that to the city of Geneva – the city where he spent the final three years of his life.
Upon his death in 1873 he decreed Geneva could have his wealth, upon condition that a mausoleum was built – no expense spared – at an eminent and worthy location. Following the duke’s instruction, the Brunswick Monument is a fine 14th century replica of the Scaligeri family tomb in Verona, Italy, facing Lake Geneva – on the left bank of the lake – and with uninterrupted views of the surrounding mountains.
Quai du Mont-Blanc, Square des Alpes, 1211 Geneva
Geneva Plage is situated on the western shore of Lake Geneva at the far end of the lake’s Gustave Ador Quay and boasts a diving board, paddling pools, volleyball courts and a host of water sports.
On the eastern bank is a water park (Aquaparc) with an Olympic-sized pool, waterslide, water ski launch, wading pool and rafts leading to the lake. There are also basketball, volleyball and beach volleyball courts for those who prefer land-based activities. More relaxed leisure seekers will enjoy Geneva Plage’s facilities for table tennis and ‘pétanque’, a traditional French outdoor ball sport comparable to British lawn bowling. The beach and open patch of lawn attract both locals and tourists who appreciate an afternoon of sunbathing, picnics and fun physical activity.
+41 22 736 24 82 (Geneva Plage)
+ 41 24 482 00 00 (Aquaparc)
Port-Noir, 1223 Cologny, Geneva
The peaceful suburban town of Carouge is well known for its artisans who sell their wares at the Place du Marché and in the adjoining side streets.
Carouge has been a settlement since the Middle Ages, however the current town only sprang into existence in 1786. Separated by the river Arve from Geneva City, this little patch of town brings a young crowd to its curb, attracted by the laidback atmosphere and the private retreats of hidden courtyard gardens. Though the nightlife cannot compete with Geneva, Carouge’s subtle mix of Turin and Mediterranean-influenced architecture, old cafes, artists’ workshops and warm welcome means it is a great day out.
Built between 1903 and 1910, Geneva’s Art & History Museum presents the origins of western culture right up to the present day, via a series of collections.
Including artifacts from the worlds of archaeology, fine arts and applied arts disciplines, this institution has over 7,000 objects permanently housed within its walls, with nearly a million scheduled for temporary exhibitions throughout the year. Highlights of the museum are the 15th century altarpiece by Konrad Witz and the stained glass windows that were previously in St Peter’s Cathedral.
Adventure Rafting Center offers multiple tours including three daily rafting trips (three hours’ duration) down the Arve River.
This is an unforgettable professionally guided trip along a five mile stretch of descending waters, passing through six waterfalls and rapids. An ideal day out for firsttime rafters and families, kayaking and canoeing adventures can also be organized. Another exciting way to course down the river is by riverboarding. Minimum age requirements apply. Tandem flight paragliding is also available for those who prefer the air to the water.
Less than two hours from Geneva lies the exquisite resort of Verbier St- Bernard.
A world-renowned winter hotspot, it boasts eight different trails – some for thrill-seekesrs, others for families. This winter wonderland consists of four new tourist areas: Verbier, Val de Bagnes, Pays du St-Bernard and La Tzoumaz. The Verbier resort is perfect for those enjoying lively nights out and festivals, and it plays host to many celebrities who regularly return to the Four Valleys region. Val de Bagnes is a ski paradise in winter and a hiking haven in summer. For a more cultural experience, Pays du St-Bernard will surprise you with its history since it’s the pilgrimage crossing point into Italy. And nestled on the left bank of the River Rhône is the sporty and family oriented La Tzoumaz resort with the longest sled run six miles in western Switzerland.
Verbier also entices visitors to its one Michelin-starred gourmet cuisine at the Table d’Adrien, specializing in dishes with a distinct Mediterranean influence. The Kings Restaurant and its chef Magnus Israelsson offer fusion cuisine with flavors from around the world. Meanwhile Thierry Corthay at La Grange offers equally high quality in his creations, which have been awarded 13 points in the famous Gault Millau restaurant guide.
Living the dream (intermediate and above) for the Elite: Le Petit Combin, le Massif du Trient, Le Mont Rose, La Rosablanche… A truly unforgettable experience, Verbier St-Bernard is delighted to offer flights to a number of stunning mountain peaks. Accompanied by private guides, descents of over 10,000 feet through some of the most majestic glacial and mountain terrain in the Alps are on offer. Sports enthusiasts may also consider guided ice climbing or a trek with St. Bernard dogs out to Champex-Lac.
If you wish to improve your skiing technique, or take a refresher course private ski lessons are invaluable. A professional instructor will coach you around the Four Valley area, always at your own pace. Choose from programs for skiers, snowboarders or telemarkers. Lessons can be videoed and reviewed that evening. If luck strikes, your ski instructor could well be former ski champion, William Besse. Art lovers will also enjoy browsing the many galleries in Verbier and Le Châble.
Office du Tourisme de Verbier St-Bernard
With its subtle, traditional charm, Gstaad attracts a sophisticated crowd looking for glitz and glamour – with the utmost discretion.
Many A-list celebrities spend their holidays in this quiet, well-appointed town. International jetsetters often gather at the exclusive Eagle Ski Club, a private members’ club and restaurant, with an average waiting list of three years. The club is perched on top of Wasserngrat, the club’s very own mountain, and is only accessible via its private ski lift.
Gstaad offers visitors a 155 mile ski area, and provides some of the most exciting pistes in Switzerland. Considered to be one of the safest slope networks in Switzerland, the terrain is spread between 3,000 and 10,000 feet above sea level. There are snow parks and touring areas in abundance for the winter leisure seeker. Its very own Glacier 3000, Bernese Oberland’s only glacier ski area, is a futuristic mountain station with 360° panoramic view of 24 Alpine peaks, including the Matterhorn and Mont Blanc. This winter wonderland also boasts 110 miles of traditional and skating trails, ideal for cross-county skiing and snow-shoe tours. The more romantic snow lovers will enjoy the experience of a horse-drawn sleigh through the Lauener Rohr. Five heli-skiing airstrips provide helicopter rides for a unique view of the Alps.
Gstaad Saanenland Tourism
Perched in the Jura sector of the Lake Geneva region, St-Cergue, the Givrine and the Dôle are the epicenter of the region’s winter activities, offering downhill and cross-country skiing, snow shoeing and dog sledging.
It is also a favorite destination for night hikers. St-Cergue (3,400 ft), the Givrine (4,000 ft)and the Dôle (5,500 ft), located in the canton of Vaud, are popular destinations for locals and visitors. The network of cross-country ski runs and snowshoe paths run deep into the Vaudois Jurassic Park, an area of wild pastureland on the Franco- Swiss border. A few ski lifts at the villages of St-Cergue and the Givrine allow for downhill skiing. The mountains of La Dôle, which link up with the ski runs of Les Rousses, offer ideal runs for beginners and families. The Givrine regularly holds dog sledge races, giving the Jura an air of Canada’s Great Northwest. And the action doesn’t stop at dusk – why not join the nighttime skiers who meet on the illuminated slopes at St-Cergue or don your snowshoes for a magical walk along the moonlit forest paths. There is nothing like taking a break from the action and savoring a delicious fondue in one of the cozy mountain restaurants. St-Cergue is only 25 miles from Geneva airport and can easily be reached by car, taxi or train. Winter is a wonderful time to enjoy dog sledging, and it’s an activity that can also be enjoyed during the spring or summer using special go-karts.
Office du Tourisme de St-Cergue